When first arriving in Portugal, where I was able to live and work for 6 months, it was absolutely magical. But when we arrived in the port town of Sagres on the corner of Europe I felt like I had landed home. It is one of the most stunning places on earth and the 6 months I spent there, including the people I met, will stay with me for the rest of my life. While in Sagres my good friend Vaco and his son Armen came to visit and wound up staying 2 weeks. Armen is a professional photographer and was shooting video of their trip not only to Portugal, but Spain, France and Morocco as well.
When I came back to the states he had all of this footage from his trip that he didn’t have time to look through. I had been working on the music for Mystic Dancer on and off since 2008 and I had a grand vision of turning the song into a Mini-Movie-Story with an untraditional song structure. His footage seemed like a perfect match to create that story so I embarked upon the mission of weeding through his shots to create a video. From there I wrote lyrics to match the visuals while still expressing the intention of the music. I wanted it to be like a dream, a dance with the spirit of the Old World, and Angelina became the ‘Mystic Dancer’ in the video representing that spirit.
The guitar solo also caught an interesting moment. Before Portugal I gigged in Germany for 2 years. Very often after late night gigs I had trouble falling asleep and would continue playing by recording into the wee hours of the morning. This solo was done after one such gig with one take. It was meant to just be a practice go. The result was so raw and emotive that I had to keep it in the final track. I especially like how it matches up with the snake charmer….So sit down with headphones or good speakers for this one, watch the mini-movie and fall into the dream!
A 10 year Odyssey
Mystic Dancer started an Avant-Garde concept piece I put together years ago by layering multiple sustaining guitars. Using an ebow, which is a device meant to emulate a violin bow on a guitar string electronically, I recorded each note of a chord on a separate track one by one. It quickly became something more as I played around with bending the notes and adding lead lines on top. That started in LA. Then the electronic beat and strange chords came one day. I recorded the Drums on off day while I was in Germany as well as the guitar solo mentioned above. The Video footage came and I wrote and sang the vocal back in LA. A little here and there over the course of 10 years…
Mystic Dancer appears on the Album Shadows. Check it out below:
Stream “Mystic Dancer”
Thanks for Going on a Journey through the Old World with me! Feel free to let me know your impressions of the experience below…