Nothing Events are Scheduled Until the Outdoor Season of 2016
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Some of the clearest memories of my early childhood are from Storytelling & Reading Time. I am
convinced that it was during these precious times that my inspirations and driving-forces originate.
At Jeff Mann Drums we hope to share moments like these through our drumming and storytelling.
So that all our young people can be reached early enough to actually Make a Difference !!

I can still recall many evenings when our Father would tuck us in at night and reading us stories about
Peter Rabbit, or Gulliver
& Sinbad's travels. When there wasn't a good book handy, he would make
something up that was as good as many originals. We always looked forward to our summers and
the long camping trips we took into the northern parts of New York State. There were friends
and other families to share these adventures with... especially the campfires at night.

I will always remember the taste of those roasted marshmallows and the sweet smell of the white
birch wood burning. Sitting around the flickering firelight, listening to stories, and singing songs
was the best part of 'every' day. I still recall an old song our Mother once taught us about an
Iroquois hunting party's canoe drifting past on calm evening waters of Great Lake Ontario.

"Dip, dip and swing them back
flashing like silver.
Swift as the wild goose flight
dip, dip and swing."
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Two Stories Told at Our Camp Fires

Tansen, the Court Musician of Akbar

There is an old story of Tansen, the great musician at the court of Akbar. The Emperor once asked
him, "Tell me, O great musician, who was your teacher?" He replied, "Your Majesty, my teacher
is a very great musician, but more than that; I cannot call him
Musician, I must call him Music."
The Emperor asked, "Can I hear him sing?" Tansen answered, "Perhaps, I may try. But you
can not think of calling him here to the court." The Emperor said, "Can I go where he is?"
The musician said, "His pride may revolt even there, thinking he is to sing before a king."

Akbar said, "Shall I go as your servent?" Tansen answered, "Yes, there is hope then." So
both of them went up into the Himalayas, into the high mountains, where the sage
had his temple of music in a cave, living with nature, in tune with the infinite.

When they arrived, the musician was on horseback, and Akbar walking. The sage saw
that the Emperor had humbled himself to come and hear his music, and he was willing
to sing for him; and when he felt in the mood for singing, he sang. And his singing
was great; it was a psychic phenomenon like nothing else. It seemed as if all the
trees and plants of the forest were vibrating; it was the song of the universe.

The deep impression made upon both Akbar and Tansen was more than they could stand;
they went into a state of trance, of rest, and of peace. And while they were in that state,
the master left the cave. When they opened their eyes he was not there. The Emperor
said, "O, what strange phenomenon! But where has the Master gone?" Tansen said,
"You will never see him in this cave again, for once a man has got a taste of this, he
will pursue it, even if it costs him his life. It is greater than anything in life."

When they went home again the Emperor asked the musician one day, "Tell me what
raga, what mode did your master sing?" Tansen told him the name of the raga, and
then sang it for him, but the Emperor was not content, saying, "Yes, it is the same
music, but it is not the same spirit. Why is this?" The musician replied, "The
reason is this, that while I sing before you, the Emperor of my country,
my Master sang before God . . . and that is the difference."
The First Story Ever Told

The First Story Ever Told was told to me by the light of a fire. It is always best
to tell stories by a camp fire's light. You remember this story. Don't you?
Of course you do. Remember? It began when the Sun shed a tear...

Time was young when the Sun shed a tear that fell upon the Earth. The Earth was a maiden and the
Sun was the brightest star in the heavens. The Earth courted the Sun, orbiting the object of its love,
turning to show every aspect, spinning round, like a young girl pirouetting, seducing the Great Star
with her blue-green beauty, while Sister Moon circled in attendance, la comadrona, the chaperon.

Now the truth is that the Sun had always favored the Earth, but there was a time when the Great Star's
attentions had been taken by the Moon for her very own. But the light of the Sun always shown upon
the Earth, for it was the true object of his passion. The Old Maid Moon resigned herself to their
love, and although she was devoted to the Earth and would attend her faithfully, she found that
she could not look steadily upon the lovers, and often took to hiding her sadness in shadow.

And it was at such a time, when the face of the Moon was hidden behind a shadow shroud, that the
Sun and the Earth, free from the attentions of their pale matron, consummated their love. Of course,
the Earth was pregnant with life for quite some time. And the seas became swollen with child,
for life grew in the Earth's ocean womb. And Sister Moon, faithful matron, became
midwife, for everybody knows the seas respond to her.

Then one day the Sun smiled, the Moon beamed, the Earth sighed and life was born. And the Sun
shed a tear of joy that landed on the Earth. Remember? It fell in the land of the Stone People
as a tear of fire. The Stone People? Yes, the Stone People . . . the 'first' to tell this story.
That's how we all remember it, because they told us.

You see, before the plants and animals there were the Stone People. And as life emerged from the
ocean womb, the Stone People gathered around the tear of fire that the Sun had shed, and they
wondered what to do. They formed a great circle around the fire and as long as the circle
was unbroken, the fire stayed within and burned. And there was warmth and light even
when the Sun was shinning on another part of the Earth. The only problem was
what to do with the great tear of fire. Remember?

They came from everywhere, the Stone People did. Even from the sea. They moved real slowly.
And the smooth sea stones dried before this fire, felt the moisture leave them and turn to mist.
The Stone People knew that this was a magical thing, to be cared for . . . but how?

They were confounded. Those that had formed the first circle had long since been relieved by others,
and they knew that they must find a place for this gift or remain there in council around the fire,
its caretakers forever. And the Moon would show her face full many times, and the Earth
would dance around the Sun while the Stone People sat in council and deliberated what to do.
And the debate was long because every word they spoke took one full year to pronounce.

You do remember that the Stone People did not measure time and that all this happened while life
was growing on the shores of the Earth. It had emerged from the sea womb and nestled against
the loving breast of the Earth and still the fire burned in the center of an ever-growing circle of
the Stone People. There were those that told of a great cavern in the center of the Earth,
the place of the origins. All agreed that this would be an appropriate place for this
shimmering tear of fire, but the only problem was how to take it there.

The circle could not hold and the ground trembled with their agitation. The Stone People could
no longer contain the object of their wonder, and the tear of fire spread to the four directions.
It sought the crevices, filled the cracks in the rocks, fell into the deep ravines and followed
the great underground streams all the way to the center of the Earth, where it will burn
forever. And that is how fire came to the Earth. It was not stolen from the Gods, as
many of our myths would have us believe. It was a gift, a proud father's tear of joy.
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Storytelling & Drums
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These two wonderful stories are re-told, in part, from the following:
"Music" by Sufi Inayat Kahn - 1962 Sufi Publishing, England. "Dance of the
Four Winds" by Alberto Villoldo
& Eric Jendresen - 1990 Destiny Books, USA
We've Added a New Twist to One of Our Outdoor Drum Programs:

Imagine sitting around a warm campfire and sharing Tales, Fables, Legends,
and Stories with your best friends. There will be percussion toys and drums
for people to share... you can join the fun or sit back and enjoy the show.

Don't forget your blankets, chairs, bug spray, and snacks !!