New Music! Fistful of Stars (Tara Linda/Rafael Herrera)

It has been a fruitful song-writing summer; new lyrics and songs for project~Fistful of Stars. This is a first-time collaboration with long-time drummer/guitarist/song-writer, Rafael Herrera, (who has played drums in all of my bands for the last 12 years!)

TL-Rafa-4_8437 (2)We call our style-vibe; Wild West Border Acoustic. It all reflects our love of early Cali-Mex and Tex-Mex influences, with our favorite contemporary influences; pop cumbias, barbed wire blues, southern bayou ballads and others.

FistfulOfStars-TaraLindaThe new CD, Fistful of Stars features guitar (Rafael), accordion (Taralinda), bi-lingual lyrics, and Rafa’s GORGEOUS voice in the lead for several songs.  And THIS was indeed my favorite part: to share the vocal spotlight with Rafael…Aaaah! The world needs to hear Rafael Herrera’s voice; his soulful, heart-gushing, lead crooning and always perfect harmonies!  So far, folks are saying things like “its about time!”, “very visual…poetic, emotive.”  Which is all nice to hear.

Eclectic as always, our new 8-song CD, Fistful of Stars, is more stripped down in style and presentation than my usual work with full bands. Rafa and I doubled up on instruments, and took it all way down. It feels intimate to me; vulnerable at times, real always. I discovered each step, how simplicity creates intimacy. And if you’ve been following me since Tortilla Western Serenade (2010), you will recognized a few similarities; I put not 1 but 2 teaser songs on this CD for my next Tortilla Western Serenade project ;).

Fistful of Stars was written while moonlighting in our other projects. Rafa and I wrote these songs over six months, and recorded the CD Stars in 3 days in Northern California. We dropped the CD on tour in Germany this Summer. (There is a reason for this that I’ll talk about in my next music post.)

Listen and Download! For a limited time, you can Download Fistful of Stars at any Name-Your-Price amount.  Thank you ALL for supporting me over the years! Your support motivates me to write, and put out MORE music each year.

Music from My Heart to Yours,  XOX,


Heart – Filled


Two moons
and one solstice ago
his words came, woven in an Easterly
driven by frozen rain, unrelenting cold
they pushed West, gale force unyielding, sure
with 8 arms waving, hands cupped and overflowing
with nectar clear, light, soothing, sweet they pushed
head-on shadowed storms, unseen winds, inertia
up and over plains, mountains, heavy with mist,
each syllable, a ray of Sunlit compassion, multiplied hundreds more of itself~ traveled to the farthest coastal
cliffs, beyond bay and sea

Now the rain
Now the jasmine
blooms at night
Taralinda © 2015
Thank you Mikial.


Stellar Birth, Cosmic Wind

Source: NASA, Yellow Balls in W33

“Understanding ourselves as multidimensional beings is expressed through the Wind. The movement of the Wind–up, down, or across– expresses how potential takes form and how our minds are part of a dynamic dance with the atmosphere and the stars above. The internal, external, and even the cosmic Winds that can be perceived as a turning cross at a black hole, are a reminder of an ongoing process from whence even the most minute expression is inseparable. These winds are a spiraling pathway through which life’s potential arises as form.”
Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo, The Seven Winds

NASA Photo “Explanation: Infrared wavelengths of 3.6, 8.0, and 24.0 microns observed by the Spitzer Space Telescope are mapped into visible colors red, green, and blue in this striking image. The cosmic cloud of gas and dust is W33, a massive starforming complex some 13,000 light-years distant, near the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Click on the NASA source to find out what causes the yellow ball bursts.

Happy New Year and Full Wolf Moon Wishes~

I am THRILLED for a New Year, and a Full Wolf Moon to kick it off.

The Farmer’s Almanac says of this moon’s name:

Full Wolf Moon reminds us of the cold and deep snows of midwinter,… wolf packs howled hungrily outside Native villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule.”

Tara Linda 2012 Final 5_15 SmallSource: Accordion Babes Calendar.    2012. Tara Linda copyright.

The new year has filled me with a serious urge to clean, toss, and simplify in my immediate environment now. To make way. This is especially so before beginning my next recording projects, some of which will be tracked in my studio first (yippee!)

But first, I must THANK you ALL for following my blog this year.  I will be stepping it up in 2015 with more poetry (promise), TONS more musica (3 projects in the works!), and an incubating new project dying to bust out.

For 2015, I wish ALL of you MORE of EVERYTHING~  including…

Abundant Muses and Rebellious Creativity;



Travel to Exotic places;


More Magic, Mystery, and Beauty:


Stillness, and Time to savor Life


Abundance and Peace to you My Friends~ Happy 2015!

Solstice Wishes on the Back of a Turtle~ Happy Holidays

Happy Winter Holidays and Solstice to all! I wish everyone at least one day off this holiday through New Years; a day of doing absolutely nothing but restful, creative, artistic things~ in your PJs ;).  I took a day for the first time in 4-ever, yesterday, to make jewelry, and cook~ and feel like a new creatura today for it. ;)  Next post- a recipe for Dungeness crab…
christmasFlr2733While everyone knows about Winter Solstice (last weekend, Dec 21st) as the longest night, and the shortest day. Here is a bit of history on how and when Christians linked Christmas celebrations with pagan Winter Solstice rites in the Northern Hemisphere. Source: Selena Fox

In old Europe, it was known as Yule, from the Norse, Jul, meaning wheel.

Today, many people in Western-based cultures refer to this holiday as “Christmas.” Yet a look into its origins of Christmas reveals its Pagan roots. Emperor Aurelian established December 25 as the birthday of the “Invincible Sun” in the third century as part of the Roman Winter Solstice celebrations. Shortly thereafter, in 273, the Christian church selected this day to represent the birthday of Jesus, and by 336, this Roman solar feast day was Christianized. January 6, celebrated as Epiphany in Christendom and linked with the visit of the Magi (Three Kings Day), was originally an Egyptian date for the Winter Solstice. Most of the customs, lore, symbols, and rituals associated with “Christmas” actually are linked to Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures.”

While we all will recognize some of these Pagan rituals (mistletoe, yule brews, bonfires), less well known perhaps, are the traditionally North American solstice ceremonies. There must have been as many traditional North American rites for Solstice as the various tribes across the continent. One I remember from childhood in Arizona, is a Winter Solstice dance performed by Pueblo dancers. Now, during the entire Christmas week, the Turtle Dance and other solstice celebrations are performed annually for the public throughout the Pueblos of New Mexico.

102-1The Turtle ceremony of the Tiwa traditionally went on for at least 10 days; it was/is said to be a ceremony of 6 Directions, giving thanks, celebrating change, fertility, and abundance to come. Old books tell of the lineage passed down from which tribes and Pueblos, and of the alters, objects and rites among the different Pueblos. Fascinating to me are the sages and herbs offered to begin the ceremony, and the meaning of the chants sung, while turtle rattles and drums sound. Here is an excerpt translated from Tiwa, of the Turtle Dance chant:

Away to the north, holy people are gathering from every direction!
They come, with their corn-growing powers, And still they come!
Until here they have arrived! [loud rattling]
Away to the west, holy people are gathering from every direction!
They come, with their wheat-growing powers,
And still they come!
Until here they have arrived! [loud rattling]
Away to the south, holy people are gathering from every direction!
They come, with their squash-growing powers,
And still they come!
Until here they have arrived! [loud rattling]
Away to the east, holy people are gathering from every direction!
They come, with their power to raise all cultigens,
And still they come! Until here they have arrived! [loud rattling]…

Source: American Anthropologist 1899.  Walter Fewkes


Source of Art Medicine Mountain

I’ve always loved the symbol of the turtle in Native Indian lore: Mother Earth, the very Island of our land mass, the one supporting us all; to the one who gives water, fertility, and good health; to the one who carries our troubles (and thus walks so slowly because of the burden). The turtle is quietly grand and humble. I hope one holiday to make it to a Turtle Dance in the Pueblos. If you’ve been- leave a comment to tell us about it.

Meanwhile- I wish everyone more celebration, rest and rejuvenation, as we make ready for an abundant new year.

Pharrell Williams’ HAPPY Up for Grammy; But Streaming Royalties~Make You Cry

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

As with so many millions of other listeners- I can’t get enough of this song!- “Happy” by Pharrel Williams. It has all of the elements of a perfect pop song: infectious musical hook, mantra-like lyrics that resonate, and rhythm and tempo that takes you OVER- no matter WHAT you are doing, or WHERE you are HA!

Sir Pharrell Williams is up for several Grammy categories, including best video- and I do hope that he bags it righteous clean.

But here is a blue note about it all: As the world moves more and more into streaming, we musicians and songwriters make less and less every year for our song and lyric writing, recording, and distributing. My music yields just a %of pennies each play. But it must be better for a hot musician like Pharrell, yes? Here is what it looks like for a musician who has ‘made it’:

Through the first three months of 2014, “Happy” was streamed 43 million times on Pandora, while “All Of Me” was played 55 million times on the service.
“Happy” brought in just $2,700 in publisher and songwriter royalties in the first quarter of this year, while “All Of Me” yielded just $3,400.

At current rates, Bandier said, one million plays of a song on Pandora typically translates to only approximately $60 in royalties, which then gets shared between the songwriters and publishers.


So, Spotify should, and Pandora will~ “revisit” royalty rates next year. Uh, Yah, you all do that. Meanwhile, some bigtime artists are removing their music from streamlining services. This is just one more reason to make music for ourselves and fans, and distance ourselves farther from the powers that be in the music industry.  Sing your Bliss as one friend says, and “don’t hold back.”

Here come bad news talking this and that
Yeah, give me all you got, don’t hold back
Yeah, well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine
Yeah, no offense to you don’t waste your time
Here’s why
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy

Music: Pharrell Williams
Here is his 24-hr video for HAPPY. Skip around, it’s fun to see so much much bliss on the streets. ;)

Happy Hallows and All Souls! Days of the Dead~Art & Altars

We’ve enjoyed our first day of real rain here, even pouring over San Francisco’s World Series Parade this morning ;).
And I’ve particularly enjoyed the creative rush that first rains bring; new song Muses and a few teasers for more new jewelry (coming this weekend).  I just hope the clouds linger, stay all weekend long. For now, some newly discovered Day of the Dead Art favs…

il_570xN.384265604_92cjSource: Red Hydrant Press

il_570xN.513711285_7gjzSource: Vintage Galleria, skirts, dresses, aprons.
And a little Deviant Moon Tarot imagery for All Hallows. Check out the new deck that Sir Patrick is cooking up ( TRIONFI della LUNA).


And one of my all time favorite Day of the Dead Tarot decks, Tarot of the Dead by Monica Knighton.


And it’s not too late to create your Day of the Dead altar; a warm place to welcome traveling souls who return to visit when the veil between worlds is thinnest.


I usually keep my altar up for a couple of weeks into November, or longer, in case some souls decide to take the scenic route home ;). In Oaxaca, altars are most commonly built on October 30th and October 31st in the homes of the Oaxacan people.  Be sure to have something for visiting souls to eat and drink!

“It is an old belief that the dead, after their long pilgrimage from the other life, arrive on earth tired and thirsty. Because of this belief, a gourd or glass filled with water is placed on the altar for them, as well as the other food offerings. The dead are welcome and expected to bask in the essence of this splendid fervor.”

Check out this  great article on putting your Day of the Dead altar together, with descriptions of the most traditional items, and ways to include family in commemorating loved ones who have passed- by Etsy Artisan Yreina Flores Ortiz.

I hope to visit the community ofrendas/altars that our Oakland Museum sponsors this weekend.  So check back.

Meantime, here are some fun Day of the Dead links to enjoy from other sources:

Celebrating Days of the Dead: Traditions, coloring books, baking bread

Celebrations 2014 in Oaxaco, Mexico

Myths about Day of the Dead : Previously posted to this blog.

DodVivalaMuerte3355San Antonio, TX Gallery: Artist unknown

Royal Feather Jewelry Challenge & Blog Hop

I‘m posting from the road now, in Brooklyn- so apologies that this is late…

It has been awhile since I joined in on one of Jewelry designer Andrew Thornton’s jewelry challenges. Andrew has always been one of my most favorite jewelry designers on the planet, and NO one puts together a sumptuous selection of beads- like Andrew. His palates are always studied and interesting. I love it that he is at it again and putting kits out into the world.

How this jewelry challenge works: Andrew selects a theme, matches beads and findings for it in a kit (see below), offers a limited number of kits, we TRY to get them (they go fast!!), we design jewelry, and the BEST part- we blog hop to ALL the other designers to see what everyone has made. Be sure to hop the blog list at the bottom of this note.

Andrew’s Royal Feather jewelry challenge includes beads of royal blues, greens, purples (like the tail of a peacock feather)- with coppers and silvers- and lots of beads including crystals, wood, glass, sequins- along with Andrew’s own very cool crown stamped mystery component! LOVE it!!!

The kit:


42″ long Lariat: My first photos are not the best- but here is my first piece:


IMG_2231 - Version 2

To the kit I added: a few green pearls, one heavy mystic purple/blue quartz point- added to the center (for balance/weight), and a Green Girl Studios pewter hook clasp to one end. I am again making lariats because they are endlessly variable in how they can be worn- opera long length or  doubled to princess length (17-18″), etc.  I just love them.  I will be posting bracelet and earrings when I get back in town this weekend: those posed the real challenge ;)

Please visit the other challenge participants here:

Kari Asbury
Ann Schroeder
Sarajo Wentling
Christina Porter
Tammy Bowman
Tara Linda

* And also on Andrew Thornton’s blog:
Andrew Thornton
Margriet Schnabel
Keisha Russell
Tara Linda
Alison Herrington
Laurel Ross
Marcia Gilbert
Joanne Goldberg
Crystal Lombardo Farrell
Cheryl Lee Tucker

New Projects~ Feather Fans & Baubles

Here are just a few things I’ve been into since tour:
Feather Fans for Smudging:

FeatherFan-ForestSacredLandSagePheasant, turkey flats. Handles with Heshi shell & turquoise. Amber. Guatemalan fabric.

featherFanOrinoco0952This one is made of naturally molted Macaw from a friend’s bird on the East Coast, and a South American Green Parrot who lives in San Francisco. I cut and sand the handle from Palo Santo holy wood, and wrap with deer tan lace.  One of my favorites. It has already found a home.

And a few new baubles: I’ve been into raw, rough stones lately.

PeridotStuds_0967Peridot posts- raw stones

amberBracelet-O1_1654Rough raw Balkan amber, & Green Girl Studios charm.

silver_1959chrysophase_1965octopus_1985My absolute favorite little Octopus Pendant by Cynthia Thornton! I’ve held onto this for so long. Finally found the right moonstone drop. Lab and aquamarine stones beside it.

And there will be more very soon~ Next week, Oct. 23 is reveal day for Anthony Thornton’s Jewelry challenge and blog hop!  Be sure to check back to see what everyone made with a little box filled with goodies from Andrew. Here is what we all got in the mail-