Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where does our name come from?

No, rest easy, this isn't going to be a trippy discussion about where names come from. You will not be forced to think about your name and its significance, although you can of course do so if you so wish. We have been asked several times over the last few months about why we are called Smoke Feathers. In truth, like all these things, it's all a bit hazy, but much inspiration for the name came from a tale we found a while back in the folklore of the first people of northern America called Raven Steals The Sun. It tells the tale of how the people of the earth came to have light, water and fire. It also explains how the raven's feathers came to be black - hence the name Smoke Feathers. The story has a few variations but here's the one we stumbled across a few years ago:

"Long ago, near the beginning of the world, Gray Eagle was the guardian of the Sun, Moon and Stars, of fresh water, and of fire. Gray Eagle hated people so much that he kept these things hidden. People lived in darkness, without fire and fresh water.
Gray Eagle had a beautiful daughter, and Raven fell in love with her. In the beginning, Raven was a snow-white bird and he pleased Gray Eagle's daughter. She invited him to her father's longhouse.
When Raven saw the Sun, Moon and stars, and fresh water hanging on the sides of Eagle's lodge, he knew what he had to do. He watched for his chance to seize them. He stole all of them, and a brand of fire also, and flew out of the longhouse through the smoke hole. 
As soon as Raven got outside he fastened the Sun up in the sky. It made so much light that he was able to fly far out to an island in the middle of the ocean. When the Sun set, he hung up the Moon and scattered the stars. By their light he flew on, carrying with him the water and the brand of fire.
He flew back over the land and dropped the water. It fell to the ground and became the source of all fresh-water streams and lakes in the world. Then Raven flew on, holding the brand of fire in his bill. The smoke from the fire blew back over his white feathers and made them black. When his bill began to burn, he dropped the firebrand. It struck rocks and hid within them. That is why, if you strike two stones together, sparks of fire fly out.
Raven's feathers never became white again after they were blackened by the smoke from the firebrand. That is why Raven is now a black bird."

Raven Stealing The Sun by Ken Mowatt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Who is going to the Secret Garden Party?

We are dusting off the van and the official Smoke Feathers TM band tent, stocking up on Liberation Theology singles and heading up to the Secret Garden Party next weekend for our second big festival of the summer, hoping to build on the success of a string of barnstorming shows at Glastonbury. We'll be playing on the Living Room stage on Saturday 23rd July around 9.30pm so please come down and support us if you are going. We are also hearing that Bear and friends from the Vibes and Pressure crew will be there, playing on the Friday, so get in touch on Facebook or Twitter if you are coming and let's get together for some true V+P positive vibrations.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Natty's Vibes and Pressure is building

It was a true blessing to be part of Friday night's Vibes and Pressure event at Passing Clouds. Crawling in at 4.30am, after navigating London's buses and drunks from Dalston to south east London, I couldn't stop smiling and, with the sun already burning up the sky, I struggled to get to sleep. It wasn't just being able to play on the night - getting a late call to do some acoustic songs upstairs to plug the Liberation Theology single - and then to find myself with Natty and Bear leaping on djembes to give it some heavy groove. It wasn't just jumping in on the transcendental drum workshop with Ras Lawi at the start of the evening. And it wasn't just seeing a fiery, conscious and powerful Aruba Red live for the first time, or being part of a heaving crowd singing along mesmerised as Natty tore up an acoustic wig-out of the awesome Gunman. Not even reggae legend Dawn Penn on stage at 2am or Ayanna Witter-Johnson blowing it up with a cello and her incredible voice. All these things on their own would have made for a great night out for anyone who loves music. But Vibes and Pressure is something more than a guaranteed great night out. Natty has been organising these events and carefully nurturing this community for years, building a movement of like-minded souls who believe in the power of music and of coming together to learn from, and support, each other. It takes its roots from Rasta culture but has a place for everyone of peaceful persuasion and open mind. It has blossomed into something special. A place where you can watch Bob Marley's guitarist play but also where you can take part in free debate with Cord the Seeker. A place where strangers are soon friends. The V+P nights are shows where the people in the crowd (of all ages and from all walks of life) are not just fans but part of the crew. Long may it continue to grow and long may it attract new faces and inspire others. See you at the next one, people, with love in my heart. Treasure this, support these events and together let's make this movement stronger. One Love.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Free 93 Feet East gig to celebrate single

We are headlining a free Musicborn night at 93 Feet East on Monday July 11 to celebrate the successful launch of our debut single Liberation Theology. We are on stage from 10pm, bringing an end to a month-long residency at one of London's best-known venues. We have made many new fans and discover lots of great new artists during our stay on Brick Lane and plan to go out in style, so let's make this a big one. We will be playing songs from our forthcoming Liberation LP, due out later this year, and a few newer tracks that we hope will form the backbone of the next album. The night is really to say a big thank you to everyone who has bought the single and recommended it to their friends. It's been unbelievable to get so much support for a first release. We are planning some exciting new projects for the summer and beyond, so stay tuned and spread the word.