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Dabuda's Memory

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by halfdan, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. halfdan


    Nov 1, 2007
    Is there a video of this song being played anywhere? Or a transcription?

    I watched the "Red Right Returning" one to figure out the few parts that I was missing, which was very helpful.

    But much of Dabuda's Memory has me stumped completely and it is one of my favourite Manring songs :)
    Michael Manring likes this.
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks so much for your interest, halfdan. Although I'm not really happy with the performance of "Dabuda's Memory" on Soliloquy (it's always hard to get a decent take of a brand new tune!), I'm really quite proud of the composition. I haven't gotten the impression it's something that folks particularly want to hear, so I haven't been performing it, but maybe I should reconsider? It would be lovely to share it now and again. In any case, I'm sorry to report I don't know of any video of it and I haven't had a chance to make a transcription. I can tell you that I use my Glider capo for it and the tuning without the capo is EADE; in performance the tunings are BEAB, ADGA and GCFG. I hope that's helpful!
    Ductapeman and SirMjac28 like this.
  3. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    Great tune has me stumped also but I'm no where near on that level so I couldn't play it with a transcription:) Is it possible to give us some insight into how that tune was composed?
  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I very much appreciate the interest, guys. I hope you won't be sorry you asked! Here's a little blurb I wrote about it from the extended notes of Soliloquy:

    The structure of this composition centers around superimpositions of rhythmic cycles. I love the sound of rhythms moving in and out of phase with each other and playing these kinds of patterns, once you get used to it, is big fun. In this kind of superimposition, the basic unit of pulse -- the quarter note -- remains the same, but the patterns have different lengths. You can get the general idea for this if you ask a friend to count in cycles with you (such as, “one, two, three, four, one two, three, four…) at the same speed. If one of you counts four beats per cycle while the other counts five, you will both arrive together on a “one” every 20 beats (the lowest common multiple of four and five). The overall rhythmic base of this piece is six but at different points I play patterns of four, five, seven and eight against it. Six is an especially fecund rhythmic base for cyclic juxtaposition as it can be sub-divided into either 2’s or 3’s. This gives me the possibility for several layers of poly-rhythm, such as 7:3:6. Other than the pauses (called “fermatas”) that occur at 1:29, 1:38, 2:44, 3:00 and 3:54 you can count in six throughout. Give it a try!

    Because this piece is based on these interweaving rhythmic patterns, I decided to name it after Dabuda, a Washoe Indian woman who was a master of traditional basket making. Also known by her married name, Louise Keyser and by the nickname Datsolalee, her date of birth, like many details of her life is somewhat unclear, but was sometime around 1835; she died in 1925. She must have seen many changes in the way of life of her people during her lifetime and I’m sure she was aware she was living at the end of a great era. It’s said that she wove her memories and dreams into the intricate geometric patterns of her baskets and while it’s hard to know if this is a romanticization or not, it is a beautiful idea. At that time, since American Indians were not believed to be worthy of education, Dabuda, like most of her tribe, was illiterate so it’s certainly plausible to imagine that weaving was her true creative voice. She earned a modest income from her baskets while she was alive, but she’s now considered to be among the most celebrated exponents of her art and some of her works are valued as high as three hundred thousand dollars. One of the most famous is evocatively named “Myriads of Stars Shine Over the Graves of our Ancestors.” I find it very inspiring that she was able to make such beautiful art in such difficult circumstances and I think the hope of keeping the memory of her people alive through her art must have given her a very deep understanding of solitude.

    I used a cool little gadget on this piece called the Glider Capo. A capo is a small metal bar that temporarily attaches across the strings to stop them at a higher pitch than the open position. On the Glider Capo the bar is covered with a rubber cylinder that can roll over the strings, allowing you to move the capo up and down to different frets quickly. It’s a great little invention and I used it in this piece to transpose the tuning up and down in tempo. You can hear this at 1:28 and 2:42. I received the Glider Capo as a gift from a generous guy some years ago at a NAMM convention in LA. Unfortunately I didn’t get his name, but as anyone who has witnessed the chaos that is the NAMM Convention can attest, that’s not unusual! He had seen me play a little demonstration at the Zon Guitars booth and handed me the capo saying, “I think you could have fun with this.” I have and I’m grateful.

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