Down from the Sky -- a new musical based on mysterious ancient Sumerian cunieform tablets -- is finally complete!
Down from the Sky -- a new musical based on mysterious stories contained in ancient Sumerian cunieform tablets -- is finally complete!
Background: This is my second musical. It is tentatively called, "The Ancients." This one is based on the ancient Sumerian tablets which tell about "Gods" coming down from the sky and teaching the Sumerians about farming, and technology, and laws, and culture. While it draws heavily on the Sitchin interpretations of the tablets, it also incorporates insights from several other mainstream and alternative scientists and scholars. It is generally a pretty light-hearted affair, as musicals usually are. However, there are also some sections with much drama.
When people ask me about it I say some or all of the following: It's Sumerian Sci Fi; It's a docu-drama; It's a speculative history of Man. Whatever you call it, it will be highly entertaining!
The story is finished (61 pages, single-spaced). The music is all written (21 songs). The lyrics are also finished.
Have been recording all summer. I created "reference" tracks for all songs, with myself playing all the midi instruments. It sounded like a stupid video game! But it has served its purpose.
Have been able to enlist a number of great musicians and actors to perform the musical (in recorded form). These include: Ben Menahem as Enki, Phyllis Chapell as Ninki, Gordon Kansas as King Anu, Paula Fishman as Queen Antu; Jerry Ford as Noah, Terry Dougherty as Adam, Neysa Ricciardi as Eve, Jim Doran as Zu, and myself as Enlil. Most of these folks are both acting out the spoken lines and singing their characters' songs. Other musicians include: Jimmy Coleman - drums; Greg Pordon - keys; Howard Isaacson - Sax; Steve Jewett - Guitar; Lois Smith on vocals; and I'll be playing bass and all midi instruments. Hope to get some "live" horn players as well, but haven't approached them yet. Nearly all these great folks can be Googled to find out more about them.
The recording has been going great. Some folks have come to my studio, some I've done in the field with my portable rig. The reference tracks are played back through headphones and the live performance is recorded through the air. We're using a Pro Tools system and terrific mics, so the quality is great. I'll be able to "sweeten" all tracks so it'll all sound professional when it's done.
But truth be told: This has become a much bigger project than anticipated. It's going to be about 7 twenty-minute "episodes." That's a lot! Each recorded episode entails spoken lines, sound effects, and complete songs. It's just like making a movie, but without the video. The sound effects create the atmosphere and provide an interesting depth that goes beyond just your typical "talking books" recordings. And yet, I actually prefer it not having images, because audio recordings let your mind create it's own images. Much the same way as a still photo implies, rather than shows you all the context...what came before, what came after.
Output: My intention is to distribute this musical in at least two ways. As mentioned above, I'm recording it. When complete I'll copyright the performance with the U.S. Government and then make the recordings available through this website as audio files that can be downloaded. The entire performance will be divided up into several "acts or episodes" and each act will have its own audio file. Note: Two of the hats I've worn over the years are that of professional recording engineer and professional musician. Many of my friends are professional musicians and some have even won or been nominated for Grammy awards. So you can expect the quality of this recording and the performances to be quite high.
Beyond that, I hope to make a second version that can be produced live. Several people I've told about the project have gotten very excited and want to know where they can see a live performance. I wish I knew! But at least two people I know are actual musical producers who have the ability to put this on. You can bet I'll be pursuing them. When it finally does happen live, I'll let you know where and when.
Meanwhile, keep checking in to see when the first audio files become available. Shouldn't be much longer now.