Monday, June 22, 2015

Fantastic Negrito

March 09, 2015 by BOB BOILEN • It says a lot that, with almost 7,000 entries to choose from, we selected Fantastic Negrito as the winner of our Tiny Desk Concert Contest. For his winning submission, he performed "Lost In A Crowd" in a freight elevator in Oakland. It was his passion, his voice and his backing band that landed him an invitation to perform behind my desk. We're proud of our choice.

As we learned after choosing him as our winner, Fantastic Negrito — a.k.a. Xavier Dphrepaulezz, pronounced dee-FREP-ah-lez — has a remarkable backstory. One of 15 children, he grew up in a strict home, and later signed a contract with Interscope Records in the '90s. That deal fell apart, though, and soured him on music-making. Then, a near-fatal car crash put him in a coma, and eventually left him without the proper use of his hands; he struggled with physical therapy for years to get some movement from what he now calls "The Claw."

These days, bolstered by a new outlook on life and music, he's reawakened and reemerged under the name Fantastic Negrito. You'll see that newly rediscovered purpose in his eyes and hear it in his voice, as he performs this Tiny Desk Concert with his fantastic band.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Chicago and Midwest Convention

Tullaia leading 300, taken by Martha Beverly

Here is Tullaia leading 300.
She is a quiet powerhouse when she leads and i always wish i had recorded it to show papa.  
But i get caught in the singing.  Imagine.
I am thankful Clarissa recorded part of it for me.  

Leading 564, taken by Martha Beverly

I love to see singing pictures.  They aren't necessarily flattering, but do demonstrate the intensity of what we do.  

I am the first leader in this section.  Thank-you to Bob Borcherding for all his hard work video-recording.  John Seaton follows me.  He was our gracious host for the weekend.  We were quite comfortable in his cozy bungalow despite the bone-chilling rain.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Jose Gonzalez.

We discovered him when Tullaia was little, so hearing him reminds me of bedtime attempts.  I tried all sorts of crazy attempts to get her to sleep.  Including Jose Gonzalez

Life lost

Several months ago, we saw some eggs in a puddle.  They were in a gelatinous line instead of a clump, so we knew they were toads.  And we wanted a toad!
We took some.
We raised them up from small and legless to small and 4 legged.
Have you ever seen this up close?  It is one of the best things.
They ate boiled lettuce, flakes of egg yolk and chicken feed.  We used water from the gutter for their pond.  We split pieces of rotten wood filled with ants to feed them for days.  They hunted the ants down with joy.

And on Thursday, I noticed they were out of ants.  So i took them outside to locate some more.

I set them on the log and peeled bark.  What an abundance of ants!  I watched them hunting in the stonecrop.  And then a friend called.

That night it stormed so hard that our basketball hoop fell over.  So did the corn that was waist high. A blue bucket previously out by the chicken coop ended up on our porch.

I got up in the early morning to shut windows and things were ruined with water.  Ruined!
It rained so hard.

I didn't think of the toads.

I went to an outpatient surgery early that morning.  All went well and i came home and slept for 20 hours straight.
When i got up, i felt pretty good.  The kids made breakfast which we all enjoyed.

At some point i noticed the toads weren't there and it all came back to me.  I had left them outside.  

Perhaps it was the narcotics, maybe hormones or pain.  But i sobbed and couldn't stop.  I just needed a private moment to mourn.
I felt bad for the toads and the kids, but i also felt the pain of loss in general.

How MUCH more so for my friend who recently gave birth to her daughter, Annalisia.  She died 10 minutes later and my friend will continue to grieve her loss.
For everything, seen and unseen.
For putting all her best into Annalisia and never getting to see that to fruition.

I am not equating the loss of our 3 toads' lives to a human baby.  Not at all...

But all life is precious.  And the loss of it should smart.

Tiny Desk Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear

Love!  And then find out they are a mother/son duo.  Love more!!