10 Reasons Why Being a Pirate is Badass!

Steampunk-SharonHey there folks! Winter and I are gearing up to play “Toast of Tortuga” up in Oregon, so I thought it would be fun to celebrate our inner pirates! After all, being a pirate is fun! Rife with lust-filled adventure, larger than life swagger, and the quest for all life can give us!

Are you a pirate? I bet you are! Or easily can be, with just a wee sleight of perception.

A note: I like to think it goes without saying that we are speaking of the pirate archetype, here, not actual pirates, with more blood on their hands than showers on their skin, and a desperate hunger that drives them to desperate deeds. Au contraire, we invoke the pirate archetype to fight back against the forces of desperation, among other things. This is just a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, which may also, for the discerning reader, reveal a pearl or two of genuine wisdom along the way.

Without further ado, 10 reasons why being a pirate is badass!

1) Pirates are always up for an adventure.
When have you ever heard about a pirate who just sits around in his shorts? Never, that’s when! Pirates are always ready for a swashbuckling good time. With few possessions, and a hearty thirst for adventure, a pirate is ready at a moment’s notice for the most outlandish of shenannegins. As a pirate, you will have no shortage of epic voyages to undertake, and tall tales to tell, which virtually ensures you get invited to all the best parties. If you are going to live at all, live to the utmost, we pirates say!

2)Pirates take risks to live their dreams.
Never ones to fear the unknown, pirates will leave no stone unturned in their quest for a well-lived life. So far as we know, we get one crack at this thing called life. This insight is never far from a pirate’s mind, and she means to drink up every drop while she can! A pirate knows he is only as good as the legends he lives, and so live them he does!

3)Pirates push back against “The Man.
A pirate lives by a code, and that code does not include exploiting one’s fellow man, destroying the very earth (or ocean) that gives us sustenance, or stealing from one’s own. At the core of my enduring admiration for pirate lore is the struggle against encroaching empire. Work that is still very relevant today!

4)Rum.
Really, I think this one speaks for itself.

5)Pirates always know where the treasure is buried.
Masters of finding hidden jewels, a pirate can delve deep into the blackest heart of the matter and find the pearls. Be that in the scary basement at Aunt Millie’s, or within the inner sanctum of her own psyche, this willingness to explore the hidden places at the edges of reason gives the pirate an unearthly charisma, which she can then wield to her advantage in all sorts of precarious situations.

6)Pirates know how to tie – and untie – a corset.
This is damn useful for all sorts of activities, folks.

7)Pirates always have an abundance of seafood
I don’t know about you, but this one here is a high priority for me. Fresh oysters, lobster, Dungeness crab, prawns! I could go on and on. Any life worth living has an ongoing stream of Fruitti di Mare, as far as I’m concerned. Although I am part mermaid, so I may be biased.

8)Rum.
See #4.

9)The Pirate’s code is a pirate’s bond.
We all know that the code is really more “guidelines” than rules, but therein lies its power. A pirate develops his own moral compass, and while this can be, shall we say, relative, it can also be flexible. And flexible means the ability to make decisions on one’s feet! Decisions that can save lives in the heat of battle. A pirate will risk her own life to save the lives of her fellows more times than not. There is a certain “Robin Hood”  quality about the pirate’s code, a willingness to take from those who have grown fat on the backs of others (The East India Trading Company comes to mind), and to organize democratic societies with the spoils. Each member of a pirate crew is paid in equal shares. Sure, those who take more responsibility or risk may get more shares, but it is more like 7 or 8 more shares, rather than 5,000 more shares. (I’m looking at you, CEOs). Do pirates ever have disagreements about how many shares they ought to get, and disembowel each other? Why, yes. Yes they do. But let us remember! We are not talking about “Pirates That Were”, we are talking about “Pirates That Could Be!” For indeed, we are modern pirates, writing our own adventure! So let’s make it a good one, shall we? We are stronger together!

10)Pirates have an intimate knowledge of the mysteries of the Sea!
Pirates know the sea like a lover. The salt spray in the air, the caress of her winds, when she shall turn tempestuous and when she shall rock you gently to sleep. A pirate is inextricably bound with the soul of the sea, and as such can carry you through her most guarded mysteries and into the great voyage beyond the horizon. The sea is rife with magic, and a pirate knows where to find her secret portals into the realms of the fantastical! So hoist yer sails, and find you a pirate crew forthwith! For the adventure shall sail with or without yeh!

Will we see you in Tortuga? Because there won’t be a better gathering for finding yer pirate crew any time soon!

Check out our full list of upcoming shows on our tour page!

The Green Album is Here!!!!

Green-Album-Here

At long last, the collaborative project Winter and I have been working on for the better part of a year is available to the public!

The Green Album is a collection of 14 songs by 14 Pagan musicians written exclusively for the project, with the theme of love and reverence for the earth, and with 25% of the proceeds going toward the Rainforest Trust.

We chose the Rainforest Trust for their high Charity Navigator rating, as well as for their collaborative spirit, partnering internationally with other groups local to the endangered areas they work for.

Artists featured on the Green Album are:

Ginger Doss
Wendy Rule
SJ Tucker
Bekah Kelso
Tuatha Dea
Damh the Bard
Kellianna
Celia Farran
Mama Gina
Brian Henke
Spiral Dance
Sharon Knight and Winter
Murphy’s Midnight Rounders
Spiral Rhythm

Working with the artist of the Green Album was collaboration at its finest! Every artist involved exemplifies the “co-operation not competition” ethos, which made this project a joy to work on, and has strengthened bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime. Winter and I are truly thrilled to have been part of this, and I hope it will be just the beginning of an ongoing tradition of musicians coming together to put our ideals into concrete practices for making this world a better place.

Would you like to make your own contribution to the Rainforest Trust while treating yourself this fine collection of new songs?

Here’s how you can get a copy:

COMPACT DISC:

CDs are available exclusively through the individual artists. We each have a limited number to sell to our circles. If you buy from Winter and I, we keep the 75% of the sale not designated to the Rainforest Trust. If you are planning to see us along our tour route, you can pick up a copy at a live show. (Our tour dates can be found at http://www.sharonknight.net/tour/)

However, if you will not be seeing us soon, you can also order it via Paypal. Send $20 to sharon@sharonknight.net (Please select “send money to friends and family”, rather than “Paying for goods and services”). Include a note to let me know it’s for the Green Album, and to confirm your address.

We will sign it upon request, and get it out to you promptly!

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD:

Digital downloads are available immediately through CD Baby, and can be gotten right here: http://www.thegreenalbum.net/home.html

We are very excited to share this project with you!

Much love from the road! xoxoxox Sharon and Winter

Portals Featured Artist: Tim Rayborn

Tim Rayborn. Photo: Paul Nordin

Tim Rayborn. Photo: Paul Nordin

Tim Rayborn plays everything, including several instruments you have never heard of. He is a medieval scholar (Leeds University), and has toured extensively through Europe and the United States with several early music ensembles. He has appeared on over 30 recordings to date, including Pandemonaeon’s Dangerous Beauty, and Winter’s and my last album, Neofolk Romantique.

Tim specializes in early music not only from Europe but well into the Middle East. He is also an excellent singer.

We met Tim through the Middle Eastern dance community, and he joined Pandemonaeon for awhile. It was during the time when Caith was also in Pandemonaeon, and those two together were a non-stop humor train.

In addition to his solo work, he co-directs the medieval ensemble Cançonièr with recorder virtuoso Annette Bauer, performs with Celtic harpist Patrick Ball, and regularly works with Shira Kammen.

Tim has a penchant for storytelling, and has created several popular shows based on historic characters and legends throughout history. Project names include “The Black Dragon: Music from the Time of Vlad Dracula” (Cançonièr) and “The Far Famed Ones – Poetry and Music of the Vikings” (Music Sources Concert Series – solo show).

In short, Tim is a great guy, with a dark sense of humor and a flair for musical performance, and we look forward to working with him again!

Check him out shredding on saz here:

And learn more about Tim here:
http://www.timrayborn.com

MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TO PORTALS HERE:
http://www.sharonknightportals.net

Portals Featured Artist: Mark Abbott

Mark Abbott studiously taking notes.

Mark Abbott studiously taking notes.

You may recognise Mark Abbott as Pandemonaeon’s illustrious drummer. Mark is funny, smart, and doesn’t shy away from an odd time signature. He’s done us boatloads of favors over the years and we really want to make sure he gets both recognition and pay for being the backbone of Portals.

Drummers are too often the unsung heroes in bands, with guitarists and lead vocalists getting the lion’s share of the attention. The Portals album is going to be dripping with talented guest musicians, all of whom have made a name for themselves in the indie music world, and they deserve a rhythm man who can provide the groove that will inspire their mojo.

Mark Abbott is that man. And he deserves every bit the sparkle that some of our more recognizable names get.

As the drummer in indie rock band Box Set, Mark has bona fide rock star cred, traveling the world and living what for many is the ultimate dream. All due to his rocking chops! He keeps the backbeat for us not only on Portals, but in Pandemonaeon, and in a variety of sessions in EMB Studios. If you liked Pandemonaeon’s Dangerous Beauty album, that was Mark on drums.

The easiest – and most relevant to Portals – way to showcase his talents is to post our Pandemonaeon montage video. Check out his chops, and then please join me in ensuring we can give the lad a decent honorarium for giving Portals its groove!

MAKE YOUR PLEDGE TO PORTALS TODAY! :+)
WWW.SHARONKNIGHTPORTALS.NET

Featured Portals Artist: Wendy Rule

Wendy2

Wendy Rule

If you are remotely interested in the realms of magic, you almost certainly have heard of Wendy Rule. She is pure witchcraft. Born on Halloween, her voice is perfectly suited to pagan music.

Her voice sounds like Edith Piaf and opium and the dark caves of Hecate. To listen to her is pure intoxication.

She also has a real glamour about her. She walks into a room and fills the space with a commanding and mysterious presence. She’s got a star quality, such that you’d expect her to be quite the diva. Yet when you get to know her, she is completely down to earth. Fun loving, witty, and well traveled, Wendy is a person who truly relishes life, and I am honored to call her friend.

Wendy is the only Portals artist that I don’t already have a song for. I am going to write one special, because I so very much want to sing with her. Her voice is pure magic, and singing with her will inspire me to my most evocative.

Extra tidbits: Wendy was a jazz singer for many years! Winter and I spent a week with her and her husband Timothy in New Orleans and got to hear her sing a jazz standard with a New Orleans band. That was a great time!

Wendy and Tim also teach a year long online class on magic called Living a Life of Magic.

Here is a gorgeous video of Wendy:

You can learn more about Wendy on her website:
http://www.wendyrule.com

And you can make your pledge to Portals right here:

http://www.sharonknightportals.net

Portals Featured Artist: Alexander James Adams

Alec

Alexander James Adams

Alexander James Adams is the original Faerytale Minstrel. He has been playing faerytale folk music on dozens of instruments long before it was cool. He’s been on the circuit since I can remember, defining the genre almost single handedly. He is the consummate session man, able to jump in at a moment’s notice and learn your songs in real time, as you are playing them on stage. And what he comes up with is devilishly tasty!

He is one third of the wildly popular band of frolicsome fey, Tricky Pixie. Along with Betsy Tinney and SJ Tucker, Alec charms the socks off of audiences all across the US and Europe.

Give a listen, and then get excited for his addition on Portals!

Learn and listen to more of Alec’s work here:

http://faerietaleminstrel.com/inside/

And make your pledge to PORTALS right here:

http://www.sharonknightportals.net

Portals Featured Artist: Betsy Tinney

SONY DSC

Betsy Tinney

Cellist Betsy Tinney is one third of the dynamic trio known as Tricky Pixie. Along with SJ Tucker and Alexander James Adams, Betsy charms audiences in America and Europe with her soulful yet whimsical playing.

Winter and I were fortunate to have her play on Mistress of MacLyr (Neofolk Romantique) and now that we’ve had a taste, we want her on more songs! She also appears with us when we play Faerieworlds.

Betsy writes playful songs about animals, and is the author of an SJ Tucker performance favorite, “Alligator in the House”. If you know SJ Tucker, you know the song I am referring to.

Betsy is highly sought after, playing with the Heather Dale Band, SJ Tucker, Tricky Pixie, Jessica Star, Kellianna, Molly Lewis, and, whenever we can get her, us!

She’s also got a great sense of pixie style! I love her stage outfits and her kind heart and her love of cats. And of course her divine cello playing! She’s got a solo album out called “Release the Cello” which features beautifully layered looping cellos.

This haunting song from “Release the Cello” is one of my favorites:

You can learn more about Betsy Tinney at:

http://betsytinney.com

Reserve your copy of the Portals album plus get lots of specialty perks and help the Portals project realize its full vision here:

http://www.sharonknightportals.net

Portals Featured Artist: Paul Nordin

AugustFalls-PaulNordin5C

Paul Nordin reviewing a take on the set on August Falls

This friendly fellow is Paul Nordin. He may look like a refugee from the set of “Vikings” but as it turns out, Paul is much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. So much so that he was asked to be the cinematographer for August Falls, Fairuza Balk’s most recent movie. (Bonus for Breaking Bad fans: Skinny Pete is her co-star in the movie).

Paul filmed our Song of the Sea music video many years ago, and we have wanted to do another one with him ever since. It was the desire to do a music video that first got us going on the idea of crowd funding.

Paul has been the Director of Photography on numerous award winning films and music videos. He has an eye for dramatic lighting, and best of all, he has the collaborative spirit that is key to the Portals vision. He has been an ardent supporter of Winter’s and my music since we met, and over the years we have grown to become family.

Which is exactly the way we like it. Every Portals artist chosen has become family to us in some way!

During our touring escapades, our song Porcelain Princess has emerged as a favorite among our concert attendees. The story of a porcelain marionette in love with her puppet master, she yearns to be a living, breathing girl. Indeed, she would come to life, with a beating heart and a flush in her cheeks, if only he would see her for what she could become. She laments alone in her dusty attic with the other theater props, living for the moment when the curtains rise and she can dance on the stage with him again.

The song is about feeling invisible, and also about the yearning we all have to feel fully alive. Porcelain Princess is the song we have chosen for the music video, and also the impetus for the theme of the entire Portals project; an old-world theater of mystery, where uncanny things happen between the cracks of the expected.

The Showtime feature “Penny Dreadful” is the perfect look to tell this tale, and Paul Nordin is the perfect cinematographer to capture it. His eye for framing and light, mixed with his penchant for the archetypal and mythic, make him our number one choice. Not to mention, he commands a capable and loyal crew! As any good pirate captain does! (Hey this is a Sharon and Winter production after all. Did you expect there wouldn’t be pirates?)

But enough talk! This part of the project is about pictures, not words. We’ll let Paul’s cinematography speak for itself, and post his reel:

And of court, the Song of the Sea music video, also filmed by Paul Nordin!

You can learn more about Paul’s work at http://www.embstudios.com

And of course we’d be thrilled if you’d make a pledge to the Portals Project right now and help us make all this awesomeness happen! There are great perks in it for you!

Learn more and make your pledge here:

http://www.sharonknightportals.com

Thanks for sharing in our journey!

Featured Portals Artist: The Visual Artists!!

In light of Maxine Miller signing on to the Portals project I thought this would be a good time to introduce our visual artists.

As you know, the music and video are the core of this project. But if we can reach our stretch goals we plan to bring the project into the visual arts, with a gorgeous art book with song lyrics, stories based on the songs, and companion art from these featured artists. I am honored to present them to you!

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus Ravenna

Morpheus is a good friend, and also a big impetus in Portals existing as a crowd funding campaign. Through her own recent (and very successful) crowd funding campaign for her “Book of the Great Queen”, she benefited several members of her community by bringing them into her project. We see Portals as “paying it forward” by carrying on this tradition and including several artists in our project. Thus do we keep our communities thriving!

Also her art is striking and powerful! Celtic, tribal, and mythic, the art of Morpheus Ravenna evokes the ecstasy and mystery of union with the Otherworld. I am thrilled she’ll be contributing art that brings the Portals songs visually to life. In fact, one of our songs, No Long Night, was inspired by her. We’ll have her illustrate that one.

BONUS: She is also a tattoo artist You can have her art on your body!

Here are a few examples:

You can find out more about Morpheus’s art at http://www.bansheearts.com.


 

Maxine-Miller

Maxine Miller

Maxine Miller

I have loved Maxine’s art for years. She is well known, and has many iconic designs out in the Celtic and Pagan worlds. Imagine my glee when she began showing up to our shows in Portland! We have become friends, and I am super excited to have her as part of Portals. Her art is vibrant and incredibly ornate, with a bit of nouveau flair! I am thinking her style would be perfect for our song, Porcelain Princess!

BONUS: She has offered 10 signed 11×17 prints as perks! I’ll be adding this perk as soon as they arrive, so keep your eyes on the campaign!

Here are a few of my favorites:

You can find out more about Maxine’s art at: http://celticjackalope.com


 

Laura Tempest Zakroff

Laura Tempest Zakroff

I first met Tempest, as she is known in dance circles, when a magazine she co-produced, Crescent, featured an article on Pandemonaeon. The magazine was beautifully produced, and really stood out due to Tempest’s art. Over the years I have continued to be wowed by her creations. She has a singular style, which is reflected in her costuming as well as her visual art. She was a natural choice when compiling my favorite artists for the art book.

BONUS: Tempest is also an excellent dancer, specializing in dance that delves into the realms of myth and magic! She is very much an opener of portals!

Here is why I adore her work:

You can find out more about Tempest’s art at: http://www.owlkeyme.com


 

Valerie Herron

Valerie Herron

I met Valerie through Maxine and have gotten to know her better through various mythic communities. Her artwork is sophisticated, emotional and evocative, and delves deep into the realms of myth and symbol. She’s got a spunky spirit with flaming red hair and a pagan-goth vibe that identifies her as “my people”. She combines fierceness and vulnerability in a way I just love!

BONUS: Valerie’s art will be featured extensively in Morpheus’ “Book of the Great Queen”.

Check her out:

You can find out more about Valerie’s art at: http://www.valerieherron.com


 

Shauna Aura Knight

Shauna Aura Knight

I first met Shauna as a mover and shaker in the world of Pagan leadership. Only later did I discover that she is an astonishingly gifted artist. She takes iconic, mythic images, and frames them in Celtic knot work and jewel-like accents, brightly colored and with bas-relief touches. Her style is romantic and beautiful, drawing heavily on Aurthurian and Celtic legends. I have an original hanging on my wall, and I love it!

Shauna’s art would be perfect paired with the song we’ll do with Heather Dale!

BONUS: Shauna also writes novels!

Here is a sampling of her work:

You can find out more about Shauna’s art at: https://shaunaknightarts.wordpress.com


 

WE WANT THIS ART BOOK TO HAPPEN. 

And we need to get well into our stretch goals in order to do it.

I’d love to get one or two larger donors in the next week. It would be a good boost for the campaign, and also a great news item! If you have been thinking you’d like to have Winter and I come to your home for a house concert, I’d be thrilled if you book one through the campaign today.

Also, if you are in a position to help us step up to the next level by taking on a role as Executive Producer, I would love to talk with you. Please contact me privately to discuss a specialty arrangement just for you. Email sharon (at) sharonknight (dot) net.

Of course ALL donations and sharing are helpful, so please keep it up! Together will will make something truly stunning!

PLEDGE TODAY:

http://www.sharonknightportals.net

Portals Featured Artist: Heather Dale

Heather Dale. Photo credit: Barry Gnyp

Heather Dale! The Celtic Myth songbird who’s heart is as pure as her voice! Another remarkably talented singer who is also incredibly kind. (Life is too short to work or play with people who aren’t you know?)

Heather smiles all the time. And it is genuine. She loves what she does, and it shows in her electric performances. Her partner Ben is a droll yet charming compliment to her bubbly joy. And of course they are both outstanding musicians.

Many of their songs are based in Arthurian Legend, and Heather is well-known in SCA circles. She is truly a poster girl for the Bardic Arts!

I was already rather start struck when I first met Heather, because I had heard her song “Mordred’s Lullably” on a compilation Cd called “The Secret Life of Celtic Rock”. When I heard this song, I was floored. I listened to it over and over again. Her voice, the melody, the theme, all really spoke to me.

If you’ve heard Winter and I perform live in the past year or two, you have most likely heard us perform Heather’s song “Joan”, about Joan of Arc. Now you have a face to go with the name! And links to her music!

About 6 months after discovering Heather, SJ Tucker invited Winter and I to play her Strowler events, and we jumped at the chance, largely because we’d be sharing the stage with Heather Dale.

I am thrilled that she’ll be singing with me on Portals, and I already know exactly which song we’ll be featuring her on!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Heather Dale! If you are at all a fan of Celtic music, you’ll be glad to have discovered her!

Here are three of my favorite Heather Dale songs:

And here is a cool video of Heather playing several public pianos that her hometown of Toronto has placed around the city for people to play. Great idea!

Want to learn more about Heather? Here are some links!

To dive right in to the music, I recommend her Bandcamp page! She is very prolific so make a cup of tea and settle in!

https://heatherdale.bandcamp.com/music

And her website (currently being rebuilt):

http://heatherdale.com

And remember, we are able to include – and pay – these wonderful guest musicians specifically through the power of crowd funding!

Pledge Your Support for Portals and Claim your Awesome Perk Today!

http://www.sharonknightportals.net