Noe Venable

Goldenrod Music Video now live

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014

Goldenrod Music Video now live

Today we release the leading music video from Cascadia!  The song is track 4 from the album, Goldenrod.  You can watch it here. The video was made by filmmaker Eric Daniel Metzgar.  His work is amazing.  To see it always raises the bar for me. It also features a fabulous cast of dancers and performers.  To name a few, you will see composer, sculptor, shaman, David Samas fire dancers from the bay area fire performance collective Solar Flare. tribal bellydancer Paige Lawrence bassist Todd Sickafoose violinist Alan Lin singer Odessa Chen as Morgaine and MORE! We hope you enjoy the video, and, if you like it, please comment, share it, spread the word.  Your shares will really help this piece have a life in the world. You can also read more about the making of the video on my blog, here. Thanks for all your support, in this, and in other things. MadLove, NV...

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Thoughts on Goldenrod

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014

Thoughts on Goldenrod

Our new music video, Goldenrod, is up!  Kickstarter backers can preview it now, and all others will be able to see it shortly. Now that the video is finished, Eric and I look at it and say, WOW, how did we do that?  And what did we do, exactly?  This is often the feeling that art gives me, especially my own art.  I feel both connected to it, and disconnected from it, so that it shocks and puzzles me, even as putting it out there brings release. For this video, we wanted to show a group of people coming together to create ritual.  We decided to document a gathering of unusual, clearly defined characters.  It would involve dancing and fire.  Beyond that, we didn’t plan much.  We had a location, a man in a tree suit, some fire, some fuel.  We stationed lookouts at the periphery.  And then we went to it. My little son, Ember snuggled with his grandmother a safe distance from the flames, and I thought about how long it had been since we were all outside under the stars.  Too long, I thought, living in the city. The theme we sought most to emphasize in this song is the yearning to transcend ones individual self and reconnect with something greater.  We played a lot with the idea of wildness.  Not wildness as something separate and other, but rather wildness as our genesis and birthright. My own costume is an homage to indigenous peoples, whose life ways have always honored the principles that modern environmentalism is just coming around to.  Most importantly, that the earth is not simply a material, passive thing to be objectified and used for its resources.  Rather, Earth’s rhythms need our participation and support.  What we call “nature” is not separate from us.  It is the true whole to which we belong.   If my costume is an homage, it also reflects my own situatedness, and the people who are dear to me.  The top that I wear in the video, the Guatemalan huipil, is worn in honor of my Godparents, an always source of wisdom and strength to me.  The yellow cloth at my waist comes from my mother, and honors her loving support.  The headdress I made of ribbons are for my grandmother, who cherished bright colors, and saw beauty wherever she went. Wearing these things helped me feel them with me, and in that sense, our...

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San Francisco Chronicle features Noe

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle features Noe

We’re so grateful to Anrew Gilbert for helping to spread the word about our show tomorrow night at the Freight and Salvage.  Andy’s feature is now live on SF Gate.  Thank you, Andrew! SINGER / SONGWRITER NOE VENABLE TUNES IN, VENTURES OUT By Andrew Gilbert The primal encounter lasted only a few seconds, but it changed the course of Noe Venable’s life. Returning to her Oakland hills home in the wee hours after a gig, the singer/songwriter was lifting her guitar from her car’s backseat when a movement in the shadows caught her eye. “I looked up and saw this huge deer bathed in blue light from a streetlamp, with antlers as big as my arms could reach,” she recalled in a recent phone conversation from her Brooklyn apartment. “It was an otherworldly vision. I was staring right into his eyes and felt like I was in the presence of royalty. As he passed into a space between two houses it became clear he was old and limping and I wondered where could he go.” The arresting image of nature in retreat from urbanity lodged deep in Venable’s imagination, sparking a quest that eventually led her to trade her touring career for a stint at Harvard Divinity School. Focusing on folklore and mythology, she delved into ancient stories and traditions and gradually created the verdant body of songs on her new album “Cascadia.” After years away from performing, Venable returns to the Bay Area to celebrate the release of her first new album in seven years Thursday at Freight & Salvage with New York percussionist Mathias Kunzli, bassist Todd Sickafoose, violinist Alan Lin and Odessa Chen on harmony vocals. (Chen is also playing a brief opening set.) As crystalline as ever, Venable’s voice is an extraordinary instrument, and her songs are suffused with longing and wonder and an almost desperate desire to bridge the divide between human consciousness and the universe, what she describes in the opening track “Lights and Fences” as “the agony of separation.” In her own life, she’s sought to create a rarefied realm for contemplation and creativity. Raised in San Francisco, she started releasing self-produced albums in the late 1990s, and first gained widespread attention with her fourth CD, 2002’s electro-folk project “Boots.” Her mystical bent moved to the foreground on 2003’s “The World Is Bound By Secret Knots,” which brought Venable into the limelight as an opening act...

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San Francisco Examiner features Noe

Posted by on Jul 23, 2014

San Francisco Examiner features Noe

Many thanks to Tom Lanham for writing this article on Cascadia, appearing today in the SF Examiner: NOE VENABLE BACK IN TOWN WITH SPRITUAL SONGS By Tom Lanham Noe Venable’s seven-year sojourn away from making music, then back again, began with the clatter of a stag’s hooves on a deserted Oakland street late one night. “I was on my way home after a show, packing my guitar into the back seat of my car, and I looked up and I was face to face with this enormous deer, with antlers as wide as I could spread my arms,” says the singer-songwriter, who appears in Berkeley this week. “It was very powerful to see this buck there, in the gutter, bathed in the glow of this street lamp. It made me feel my own relationship to the natural world in a whole new way.” Venable couldn’t stop thinking about the majestic animal, how well he adapted to his urban surroundings, and the almost human intelligence in his eyes. Gradually, the deer became a much larger ecological metaphor that prompted her move to Brooklyn, N.Y., and into comparative religion courses at Hunter College, then to classes at Harvard Divinity School. Along the way, she stopped performing, got married, had a child and started teaching. Now she has assembled an album’s worth of new material reflecting her studies, “Cascadia,” from which she’ll play at a CD release party at the Freight & Salvage. It might sound crazy, walking away from a popular career after five well-received albums, from the 1996 debut “You Talking to Me?” to 2007’s “The Summer Storm Journals.” She had momentum going. “For a long time, I’d been a singer-songwriter, living the touring life. But I needed a place to do some searching, and going back to school was a great way to spend time reading and thinking and exploring what more I can do in this world to be of service,” she says. Venable, 38, calls herself a spiritual activist – someone who uses art to enlighten a self-serving society that has quite possibly doomed itself to extinction. And she has hope. “When I taught high school English, I found a way of weaving in the study of comparative religion,” she says, proudly. With a toddler underfoot, these days she continues to teach. Her home-school classes include singing, songwriting, literature and college courses “Spirit in Nature” and “Indigenous Religious Traditions.”...

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