What’s New for the 7th of August: Summer Queen SJ ‘Sooj’ Tucker including her performing ‘Ravens in the Library’, Swedish folk music, Matt Wagner’s Grendel and a wee bit more.

One flies in to case the joint,  boldly struts around.
Two fly in to make it three,  laugh a while and knock each other down.
Four flies in with a frowning walk  gains a laugh from out a squawk
but it’s five who owns the place  and proves it with a look, stopping
six and seven in their tracks from smuggling a book.

SJ Tucker’s ‘Ravens in The Library’

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Our new Summer Queen, SJ ‘Sooj’ Tucker is hanging out with us this month and I just handed her a drink of choice  while I looked over her interview with Leona. She will be known to many of you who are in the Ren Faire circles as she’s an honoured performer at them.

She’s an Arkansas born singer-songwriter who says that she was inspired by musicians like Joni Mitchell, Jeff Buckley and Ani DiFranco but as the Skinny White Chick (as she’s also known widely), she quickly branched out to assume a more diverse identity with her music, adding bits and bobs of electronica, filk, spoken word and world music . With the Fire & Strings company, she’s quite an accomplished fire spinner which we hope she’ll do here during her visit. For a detailed look at her, go read Leona’s charming essay on her and her works here.

Lammas is tomorrow which makes this an auspicious time for introducing our new Summer Queen, the latest in a line that has included such luminaries as OR Melling, Jennifer Stevenson, Sharyn November and Emma Bull to name but few of those that have been honored with this esteemed title. Like Emma, she’s both a musician and writer, and quite good at both I’d say.

We’ve got two interviews with her, one on food and another on books on such as well. Both are delightful and amusing looks at her that will tell you much about her as a person.

She’s also a children’s literature author having written Rabbit’s Song, a charming work illustrated by Trudy Herring. Cat says of it that ‘If you’ve read books like Terri Windling’s The Wood Wife or Charles de Lint’s Medicine Road, you’ll recognize the use of First Folk animal archetypes here. The story is of course told more simply here than it is in those books but suits the intended audience.’

May I offer you what she’s drinking before I turn to this edition? She’s drinking her summer go-to refreshment which is coconut water with pineapple juice. We always have coconut water and canned sliced pineapple on hand in the Kitchen as Lahkshima, one of my current Several Annies, favours it as well.

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Remember last week, when Robert took on the beginning of Matt Wagner’s Grendel series? Well, he’s found a lot more. Let’s start with Grendel: Devil by the Deed: ‘Grendel: Devil by the Deed represents another breakthrough. It is, in general terms, the story of Grendel’s first incarnation, Hunter Rose, as told from his journals by his granddaughter, Christine Spar.’

Success has its vicissitudes, as Robert notes in his review of Wagner’s Grendel: Devil Quest: ‘Devil Quest is one of those spin-offs, concerned with the cyborg Grendel Prime and his search for the spirit of Hunter Rose, who, although not, according to Wagner, the first Grendel in history, is the first of whom we have knowledge.’

And of course, there comes the inevitable crossover series, in this case, Batman/Grendel: ‘Matt Wagner did two crossover series, the first a joint effort between Comico, his publisher at the time, and DC Comics, and the second between Dark Horse and DC, to bring together Grendel and Batman.’

Grendel became a family history. Remember Christine Spar? Well, her mother, Stacy Palumbo, was Hunter Rose’s adopted daughter, and Grendel: Devil Child, tells their story.

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Hedningarna’s Hippjokk and Trå elicits this comment from Iain: ‘If Gjallarhorn is cool and crisp like a late winter day, Hedningarna is a winter day when the storm is raging. Dirty Linen said of them — ‘Only a few bands really seem to define their own genre, but Hedningarna is definitely one of them.’ This is not your grannie’s folk music — this is folk music filtered through a rock sensibility, and blended with the feel of a rave.’

One of the most amazing things we were sent to review was the Folk Music in Sweden series, all twenty-five discs. Yeah, you read me right, twenty-five discs of Swedish trad music. Lars got the honour of reviewing this set from Swedish label Caprice and he has a word to the wise at the end of his most excellent review: ‘Well, a summary of this project would be: A very ambitious project which helps to preserve the musical traditions from Sweden for future generations, and give them access to some of the treasures that are hidden in various vaults in Stockholm. But beware, do not try to taste it all in one go. Remember the old advice about how to eat an elephant. You do it bit by bit.’

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Our What Not is from Howlin’ Wuelf Media who us an interesting press release which I’ll quote in its entirety…

The BBC recently presented an examination of the online streaming archives maintained by the Association For Cultural Equity of field recordings collected by renowned musicologist Alan Lomax. Their site says:

Adventures in music; ancient to future. Max Reinhardt dips into the Alan Lomax archive of over 17,000 recordings made from 1946 into the 1990s. Lomax spent his whole career capturing the musical performances of everyday people and their songs across the globe. Navigating through this great mass of historical audio treasures is the archive’s guardian and curator Nathan Salsburg, who joins Max to share some of his favourite selections.

Listen to the show here, and investigate yourself here along with the 17000 audio streams there’s video, airchecks of Alan’s radio shows, interviews, features and more!

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So I’m going to finish this edition out with our Summer Queen performing ‘The Raven in The Library’. This performance is at ConFusion in Troy, Michigan on January 23, 2010, and the performer you see here with Sooj is Betsy Tucker.


About Iain Nicholas Mackenzie

I’m the Librarian for the Kinrowan Estate. I do love fresh brewed teas, curling, English mysteries and will often be playing Scandinavian or Celtic  music here in the Library.

I’m a violinist too, so you’ll me playing in various contradance band such as Chasing Fireflies and Mouse in the Cupboard as well as backing my wife Catherine up on yearly Christmas season tours in the Nordic countries.

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