You Were Always on My Mind - for my mom. by Melanie Ida Chopko

As I played this over the spring, You Were Always on My Mind became a song for my mom, and a story of my own commitment to continue knowing my parents more fully as an adult. A commitment to savoring however much time I have left with them, with greater joy and connection. I hope you enjoy it.

(And, in a behind the scenes note, I was super glad to get away with wearing my favorite earring, since the second one is sadly lost...)


The Big Summer Show June 25th

The Big Summer Show with M'Gilvery Allen (Live Debut!)
Sunday June 25th 4-6pm
The Backroom
, Berkeley - 1984 Bontina Ave at MLK
Tickets here: $12 adv / $15 at the door
I'm super excited to share a bunch of new songs, and support the debut of my friend Gordon "M'Gilvery" Allen and his ethereal "post apocalyptic railroad blues."  Gordon and I mostly collaborate by punching each other in silence at Aikido of Berkeley, so it will be a treat to publicly share our music collaborations as well.  More info here.
 

Beginner Class

Harmonies for the Hot Tub with Carl Oser
Saturday, June 17th 3-6pm
The Freight & Salvage

more info and registration here
Carl and I had a blast doing this workshop a few months ago, so we're doin' it again! Continue down the road of demystifying two and three-part harmonies, so you're ready to add extra melodic pizazz the next time you're singing with friends. Using the building blocks of major and minor chords, we'll learn how to create harmony goosebumps and add parts to compliment melodies. more info


On a more public note

When the news broke last week about the Paris climate agreement, I couldn't help thinking of a story I heard about the Dali Lama. The reporter asked him "Who is your greatest spiritual teacher?" and the Dali Lama replied, to much surprise, "Chairman Mao," He later wrote, "It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance."

Of course, it is perfectly available to me to spin like Chicken Little in the face of such an epic issue, feeding on fear and worry and media. But maybe waaaay more interesting is feeling our anger and grief as power, and seeing what's possible if we ask "So what's next here, to do what we need to do?" I just loved reading about how governors and now over 200 mayors, including Pittsburgh's, did just that.  (More in Small Victories.)

And who knew Thomas Jefferson would hit the nail on the head: "One person with courage is a majority." This will sure be an interesting time to be alive, and I'm really glad to get to do it with YOU.

Love,
MelanieAs I played this over the spring, You Were Always on My Mind became a song for my mom, and a story of my own commitment to continue knowing my parents more fully as an adult. A commitment to savoring however much time I have left with them, with greater joy and connection. I hope you enjoy it.

(And, in a behind the scenes note, I was super glad to get away with wearing my favorite earring, since the second one is sadly lost...)


The Big Summer Show June 25th

The Big Summer Show with M'Gilvery Allen (Live Debut!)
Sunday June 25th 4-6pm
The Backroom
, Berkeley - 1984 Bontina Ave at MLK
Tickets here: $12 adv / $15 at the door
I'm super excited to share a bunch of new songs, and support the debut of my friend Gordon "M'Gilvery" Allen and his ethereal "post apocalyptic railroad blues."  Gordon and I mostly collaborate by punching each other in silence at Aikido of Berkeley, so it will be a treat to publicly share our music collaborations as well.  More info here.
 

Beginner Class

Harmonies for the Hot Tub with Carl Oser
Saturday, June 17th 3-6pm
The Freight & Salvage

more info and registration here
Carl and I had a blast doing this workshop a few months ago, so we're doin' it again! Continue down the road of demystifying two and three-part harmonies, so you're ready to add extra melodic pizazz the next time you're singing with friends. Using the building blocks of major and minor chords, we'll learn how to create harmony goosebumps and add parts to compliment melodies. more info


On a more public note

When the news broke last week about the Paris climate agreement, I couldn't help thinking of a story I heard about the Dali Lama. The reporter asked him "Who is your greatest spiritual teacher?" and the Dali Lama replied, to much surprise, "Chairman Mao," He later wrote, "It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance."

Of course, it is perfectly available to me to spin like Chicken Little in the face of such an epic issue, feeding on fear and worry and media. But maybe waaaay more interesting is feeling our anger and grief as power, and seeing what's possible if we ask "So what's next here, to do what we need to do?" I just loved reading about how governors and now over 200 mayors, including Pittsburgh's, did just that.  (More in Small Victories.)

And who knew Thomas Jefferson would hit the nail on the head: "One person with courage is a majority." This will sure be an interesting time to be alive, and I'm really glad to get to do it with YOU.

Love,
Melanie

Rice Song - A wider love story by Melanie Ida Chopko

Recorded and filmed live at Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts, Berkeley, CA on December 4th, 2016

I wrote Rice Song a few years ago, after reading about thousands of Chinese people uprooted by a forced modernization project. But now, on this Valentine’s Day, it seems important share this one story as one of many wider love stories, the love I see in the faces of the immigrants I know when they speak of their homeland. It’s a relationship with place that remains long after their departure, even if leaving the land of their ancestors for food or safety or work was the most logical thing to do.

Their stories also tell a piece of mine - not just as a granddaughter of immigrants, but my own need to build a life alongside vast open spaces and the rhythms of the natural world. To learn from the traditions of my ancestors, and in turn, know and preserve this place.

This video piece was created alongside the genius of filmmaker Kevin Dorman, editor Manon Rudant, co-producer Isidro 'CiD' Pineda, and engineers Morgan Maudière and Gordon Allen. Special thanks to Jack Eastman at The Maybeck Studio, Mariam El Quessny, Motaz & Taha Attalla, Moorea Dickason, Rachel Efron, Katie Walker, Carl Oser and Pete Weiss for all the equipment, late night phone calls, and the early morning eye-makeup bonanza.

Legacy by Melanie Ida Chopko

Inauguration Day Sing Along - Songs of Justice & Resilience

Inauguration Day Sing Along - Songs of Justice & Resilience

What a privilege to be a part of the legacy of artists rising up and singing truth to power this weekend at the Freight. I'm so, so proud of you, Beatriz Roxanna Martinez, and your first formal performance, and beyond grateful to Carl Oser, Joyous Dawn and Kele Nitoto for joining me in this.

As we sang: Arise, Arise! I see the future in your eyes.