Carrie Rodriguez is also from Texas. She sings in both Spanish and English, plays guitar and violin and has a wonderful stage presence. Her voice is powerful and confident and her duet partner Chip Taylor is a perfect accompanist for her.
Her first song is called “I Dreamed I Was Lola Beltrán.” Beltrán is one of Mexico’s most highly regarded ranchera singers. In the lyric she sings, “and you were Javier Solis” (he was another highly regarded ranchero singer). The end of the lyric is “and we were baile baile baile while you sang to me.” It’s quite romantic. Rodriguez plays the four string guitar while Taylor plays slide guitar. Given the instrumentation, this song could feel very country, but it doesn’t primarily because of the way she sings–more sultry than country with a dapple of ranchero on top..
She introduces the second song, “Llano Estacado” by saying that her grandmother is from there. It’s up near the panhandle with ghost towns and strange people up there. She says people there pronounce the town Lano es Tacado. Taylor switches to electric guitar and she stays on the four string acoustic. There’s some wonderful Spanish pronunciations there. This feels more like a cowboy song (except for the buzzy electric guitar).
Somebody brings her a beer (or maybe champagne) which she says is perfect as the final song is a drinking song “Noche de Ronda” (a night out on the town). She says that in this song, “She is singing to the moon because her lover isn’t with her because he is out with his friends having a good time.” Taylor laughs and says, “it’s a fictitious song.”
He plays guitar. She sings a beautiful Spanish and hits some lovely notes. After a lengthy introduction, the song turns into more of a Spanish lullaby (with some very fast lyrics). It’s a really beautiful ballad. Then, about four minutes in, Carrie picks up a violin and begins playing a solo. After about a minute of beauteous soloing, she shifts gears and starts playing a wild solo fiddle with scratchy bowing and some really fast playing. It’s fun and intense and the whole solo lasts about 4 minutes.
Rodriguez really showcases all of her talents in this Tiny Desk. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
[READ: February 15, 2016] Broxo
The drawing style of this book reminded me a lot of Bone. Between the setting and the way the human characters looked, it had a very Jeff Smith feel. On closer inspection, there are enough dissimilarities to make Broxo its own. And it’s compelling in a very different (and darker) way.
What is particularly interesting about this story is how elliptical it feels. The story begins with a woman, Princess Zora of the Granitewings, reaching the top of Peryton Peak in search of the Peryton Clan. But we don’t learn all that much about her or all that much about the world she’s in (we get enough to make the story work, but that’s about all).
Peryton Peak looks abandoned, there’s no sign of human life. While exploring, she is set on by little ferret-looking creatures, but she quickly gets rid of them.
As she is getting more nervous about things, she encounters a boy. The boy is a young warrior. He has virtually no memory of his past. He only knows that his name is Broxo. After a few awkward moments–especially at night (she thinks, “I’ve never seen a butt before”)–she and Broxo get along pretty well (tough times make unlikely bedfellows).
The only friend the Broxo has is Migo, a giant white beast who is dangerous but friendly to Broxo (and Zora). Broxo lives okay up here, except for the creepers–zombie like creatures who are out to kill whatever they can. Broxo also tells Zora about Ulith, a witch who lives near by.
We learn a lot about the past of Ulith and Broxo (and his gramma) in sepia-colored flashbacks–I loved the way that was done.
Zora’s quest is a noble one, she and the Granitewings are trying to establish communication and trade with the other tribes. But right now, things are far too dangerous for the Peryton Clan to think about trading.
Ulith the witch proves to be helpful when she cures Zora’s ailments (after a scrape with a creeper), ut there is something else going on with her–she is very sneaky.
There are ample funny moments (especially in Princess Zoras’ take downs, but also when they try to rescue a little creature who doesn’t especially like being rescued. And the joke about the bees.
It is really only with the help of a spirit that they are able to make any progress in their battle. And as the book ends, there’s plenty of setup for future books with not much in the way of resolution. This is a bummer as there doesn’t appear to be any follow up in the works.
There is some humor about the young boy and young girl being together–but it is fairly innocent. Zora assumes the worst but Broxo is always a gentleman (and there’s no nudity or anything) but it is definitely a YA title.