NEWS & ADVENTURES of a philosophical folk songstress mama                            ~ Spring 2014
 
Dear Ones,
 
This is a long letter, but it’s been a while, and there are important things to share!
 
I hope you will read through to the end, for I have something particularly exciting there to share with you. Also, at the end (as always) is a list of upcoming events & such, so please do read on….
 
{and if you just can't wait, please at least go HERE}
 
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Life comes in seasons & cycles.
 
I just returned from some time away at Tassajara – a Buddhist retreat center nestled deep in the Ventana Wilderness, with no computers, cell phones, or electricity. There, the sound of the river sings you to sleep each night and the day’s announcements are made face to face in a circle with the whole community each morning.
 
From the perspective of the stillness and deep presence there, it is easy to look at one’s regular daily life and ask, “What is all this busyness for?”
 
Over the last six years of my music career, I had worked up to an average of 50 gigs a year. Touring and performing have been a huge part of what has defined me as a musician during that time. I have loved the adventure of all that ~ the challenge and thrill of booking the gigs, the creativity required in promoting them, and of course, the experience of sharing my music live and in person, and meeting wonderful people (like you!).
 
In the last two years of becoming pregnant and giving birth to my son, I have continued to cling firmly to my musical work, and I see it has been an important life raft for me, carrying me into the wild open seas of parenthood.
 
But over these last few months an understanding has been growing in me, that something needs to change. I have become lost in deadlines and to-do lists. I am deeply missing the wide open spaces of experience that foster creativity and birth inspiration. My music is not simply about music, it is about Life, and I am not leaving enough room in my life, for Life!
 
So, what does this mean? This means I am stepping back from performing. Not completely, but a lot, for now. (Although, I will be playing my first official UK gig in May!! See EVENTS below... ) But I have some deep work to do at home – repairing and building of foundations that have been neglected. In addition, these newsletters, which I have been writing & sending almost monthly for the past six years (archived from July 2010 onward here: http://ymlp.com/archive/amandawestnews) will become quarterly, unless something particularly unusual or amazing comes up. I am also hoping to focus more on my online presence, which at the moment does not fully reflect who I am as a musician. I am aware that despite my trepidations about our virtual world wide web, it offers the potential to connect with so many more people than I could ever hope to reach through touring.
 
On my journey into parenthood I was terrified of this – stepping away from touring. But with the help of some wonderful friends, colleagues, and my own self reflections, I have come to see that pulling back from performing in no way means I am letting go of my work as an artist. In fact, it is quite the opposite – I am making more room for that. In fear, it is easy to cling to the things which hold us back from our larger journey. The life I seek is one created in trust and openness to the changes Life calls forth for us.
 
And so, here I go!
 
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And now, in honor of Earth Day I am beyond thrilled to share with you a project that Pete & I have been working on in the last few months we have not been performing much, or keeping up with monthly newsletters (ahem!).
 
In fact it is really Pete’s project. I had the wonderful opportunity to take a few steps back and play the role of studio musician, and supporting producer. And Pete has had the wonderful opportunity of taking center stage and raising his own voice in song.
 
This is the kind of song I wish I could write – a call to action, for Earth Day, and every day. Inspired by the Horizon oil spill four years ago (exactly four!), the song is called “Horizon” and I hope you are as moved by it as I am.
 
You can download it here: www.petesolomon.bandcamp.com, and whatever you choose to pay for it, 75% of the proceeds will be donated towards a wonderful organization called Bioneers, which is working hard on many levels to help with our transition into a sustainable world.
 
There is also a music video for the song, created by an incredibly talented film maker in Los Angeles, Tara Kelton
Watch it, share it, spread the good news: http://youtu.be/hW2u93n2WJ4
 
“Fossil fuels have had their time… there’s so much more we can do with the wind and the sunshine!”
 
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In our neighboring town of Santa Cruz, there is a little store with a sign outside that changes each week.  Last I saw it read: “Your life is a message to the world”
 
Let’s make ones that we believe in.
 
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Thank you for journeying with us! 
Onwards in Life with Love & Song,
~ Amanda (& Pete)
 
 
find us on facebook too: AmandaWestMusic
 
 
U P C O M I N G  E V E N T S :


 Saturday April 26th @4pm
Two Day Town
The Ohlone Wilderness | Livermore, CA
A very sweet, family oriented, camping and community event filled with lots of great music! Megan Slankard will also be performing this year, among many others. www.twodaytown.com
 
May 2014
UK/European Tour | Streetcorners & Private Homes
Though we have cast many nets, so far, only one official gig has been confirmed (see below). Never fear, we will have instruemnts in hand, and music in mind, and good things always come when travelling. (And of course we'll be playing for all our friends & family we are visiting along the way!)

Monday May 26th @ 8pm
Norwood Church | HU17 9HN, Beverley, UK
An evening of American Songwriters - with Mean Mary and Edwina Hayes from Nashville. I am feeling super honored to be playing with these ladies! 
 
 
* WOMB SONG ~ Mondays 7-8pm *
at The Pacific Cultural Center | 1307 Seabright Ave, Santa Cruz
www.pacificcultural.org/pccevents


Womb Song is a community based singing circle for pregnant women in Santa Cruz County, led by Amanda West and Megan Jacobsmeyer. Prepare for labor through vocal toning and breathing exercises, strengthen your connection to your baby through sound, and discover a deeper sense of your own voice and power. Learn beautiful, simple songs and lullabies from around the world. No musical experience necessary. Drop-ins welcome. Birth workers always welcome.

Connect with us on facebook to hear the latest Womb Song US
or write to us at: wombsong@gmail.com
 
 
* PRIVATE CLASSES ~ ongoing *
Offering private classes in songwriting, beginning guitar, and voice. Specializing in work with young women and girls, but I love people of all ages.

 
* Summertime Intro to Guitar ~
the week of July 7 - 11th | 9am-12pm each morning *
at The SC Mountains Art Center | 9341 Mill St., Ben Lomond, CA
www.mountainartcenter.org


This welcoming & supportive class is for students new to the Guitar. We will explore fundamental music concepts (rhythm, melody, harmony), and lay the foundation of guitar basics including tuning, strumming, tablature and chords. Come prepared to play games, make friends, and expand your talents in a safe and supportive environment. Students should bring their own guitars or arrange for a renatl. No previous experience is required, and the class will be tailored to meet individual student's needs. Please visit the Santa Cruz Mountain's Art website to register.



 
 
 
{singing with the family for the Homeless Garden Project
April 4th, 2014, during Santa Cruz's First Friday Art Walk
photo by Allison Garcia}

Amanda West Music
Philosophical Folk Songstress

PO Box 7345 | Santa Cruz CA 95061