My GeeChee ♡ In Greece!

 

I’m a GeeChee Girl at heart. Down in my soul, before I even fully understood what it meant to be Geechee, I knew that I was it. So, what is Geechee? Oxford English, Wiki, and Miriam have their official definitions. And combined, it’s not bad. But like I said, I’ve been a GeeChee long before I learned the technical renderings.

Geechee

Line breaks: Gee|chee

Pronunciation: /’gi:t:CHi’ /


NOUN

1. [MASS NOUN] An English-African creole dialect spoken by African Americans in the Low-country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Compare with Gullah.

2. A speaker of Geechee.

3. A native rice farmer from the U.S. Gullah region.


ORIGIN

from the name of the Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

from Kissi, an ethnic group living along the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

A variant of Gullah, from present-day Angola or the “Gola” ethnicity in Sierra Lone and Liberia.

 

That’s what the “experts” have to say on the subject. But, I grew up on the memory of my family teasing my mom that she was “nothin’ but a Geechee … ” because she loves to cook white rice with every meal, is stubborn as all hell when she has her mind set on something, and can never be content with any one thing or place. In short, she’s a countrified wanderer. And based on that understanding, I don’t see my Gullah GeeChee ways as all that different from Roma “Gypsies”, French “Bohemians”, or S. Asian “Dombas”. That’s something I’m passionate about – finding the universality in our unique cultural differences.

So it was a dream come true for me when I started planning my first international trip last January. My husband and I had decided to go on a delayed honeymoon in the Summer and, as long as I made sure to carefully organize everything (read: not blow our budget), I had free reign to follow my hearts desire. I chose Greece because I’d wanted to go there since my college days as a business student in New York. Study abroad programs in school always said their economy was closest to ours for case study purposes – the tragic irony of which has not escaped my notice.

In true Geechee fashion, I couldn’t be satisfied with a trip to just one city in Greece. I craved a romantic beach getaway in Santorini and a historically rich tour of artifacts in Athens. I wanted to make wild, crazy memories in hipster party-town Mykonos and unwind in a refined Italian-esque village on Crete. A cruise seemed too structured and formulaic. But bed-hopping through the country like blogger Lucky/Gutsy – with no set plans except a backpack and a prayer – while tempting, was way too adventurous even for me. In the end, I spent the past seven months toiling over my own happy medium and then spent ten days experiencing it all.

We flew into Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, took the metro to the first of five hotels we would stay in, and let the island-hopping fun begin. Clearly, I was inspired by the experience because I came home with almost 3,000 photos total between each of our 2 Gig camera phones! Let’s just say I was dumping to my Dropbox app like mad. I’ve shared some of the more touristy pictures to my private Facebook page and I’m in the process of curating the rest for future photography exhibitions. But I couldn’t let this experience pass without sharing some exclusive, edited and unedited pics with you guys too.

We may have been in Greece, but it didn’t take long for me to find the “universal” parts of the culture. One of the first things I noticed was the street art. It was seedy and edgy and dirty and provocative and political and bright and bold and beautiful beyond my wildest imaginings. So without further ado, I give you: My GeeChee ❤ In Greece – The Graffiti Edition! ~ cS

P.s. Of course, all wall murals, tags, and graffiti belong to and are under the ownership of the their respective street artists. However, photographic images in their edited and unedited formats remain the exclusive property of myself, Constance SHERESE and are not available in part or in whole for copy, reproduction, sale, or other mass marketing without express written permission as solicited through post or electronic mail. (c) 2014.

The Legal Stuff. So, sue me! Better yet, how ’bout we skip that part. Deal? Thanks! 😉

 

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Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Free Kostas

 

 

 

 

Love the way someone turned this old electrical box into a "supply box".

Love the way someone turned this old electrical meter into a “supply box”.

Octopus

Never let a photo op slip away ...

Never let a good Photo Op. pass you by …

Cool Cat!

Cool Cat!

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Gonna have to brush up my language skills for this one …

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(c) Constance SHERESE, 2014

Coming Through My Headphones: K. Flay

I’m back from my belated honeymoon and cranking out all the inspiration I got while in Greece. But I’m also getting back to my musical posts because there’s always something interesting pumping through my headphones. This week’s no different. I’m currently listening to music from new artist K. Flay (aka The Artist Formerly Known as Kristine Flaherty).

Listening to K. Flay’s album “Life As A Dog” my first thoughts were : Oh hell, the Lana Del Ray gravy train has officially rolled in. We all know the formula: Sultry, sex-pot voice. Lyrics clearly designed to piss off puritan mothers everywhere. The all American good-girl-gone-bad, chain-smoking image. And there’s no picture on the album cover, but I’m sure she’s got a doe-eyed baby face to contrast with her jaded tough-girl sound.

The Album, 'Life As A Dog', Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

The Album, ‘Life As A Dog’, Comes Out Tomorrow June 24th

It’s a great formula, as they go. Don’t get it twisted, I love me some Lana and her raspy 60’s pop vocals – if not her necrophile tendencies. I’m a tried and true goody goody, so the bad girl sex-pot lyrics don’t exactly hit home for me, but it’s refreshing to see a young woman daring to question the status quo for what’s acceptable behavior. And K. Flay pulls it off as well as any other with songs like Everyone I Know, Wishing It Was You, Bad Things, Turn It Around, & the summer anthem Thicker Than Dust.

But let’s not lie to ourselves here – this is clearly part of a formula and nothing more. Right? Well, not exactly. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few key differences between K and her contemporaries. For one she prefers a little chronic with her flow instead of the typical menthol flavored ciggy. And speaking of flow – girlfriend’s got it! Not just the Eminem fast talking stream-of-consciousness flow that others have adopted either. Yeah, she channels Em’ well, but then she flips it and goes deeper a la Snoop Dogg, Dre, & an old school West Coast sound that I have a hard time brushing off as contrived.

Yes, she’s a Stanford graduate from suburban Illinois – and that isn’t exactly ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – but she isn’t claiming to be, so it’s all good. And with the addition of her own unique sound in the form of punk influences, 80’s video game background music, and a sarcastic, slightly self-deprecating social commentary reminiscent of Tina Fey – I’m not so sure this album is a formula after all. If it is, I’m falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Can we be ‘thicker than dust’ BFF’s?

K. Flay has a thing for saying she’s bad. Maybe. Maybe not. But if she’s good at being bad. I’m better at goin’ hard for the party. Oh, and did I mention this chick ain’t no baby-faced innocent after all. Check out the pictures and song breakdown below. I think this could work!

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Everyone I Know – It has that sarcastic, light-hearted melody and dark lyrics. The dark parts are maybe a little too dark? I believe her as Tina Fey playing a character, but otherwise I don’t know.

Make Me Fade – Chronic? Snoop? Roll down the windows and dip bounce to the down beat. Okay, I’m a believer!

Can’t Sleep – Sound all her own. Current. Still borrowed from the 80’s. Belongs in a vintage video game.

Wishing It Was You – “Sucking on a bottle of Jim Beam wishing it was you.”

Yeah, she said it. Did you hear it? Take a minute to soak in the smutty innuendo. Now share it with a friend. Electronic hip-hop sound.

Fever – First 40 seconds: Who am I listening to? Tegan & Sara? Next 40: Or is it Eminem? Back & forth in intervals. Then hallucinogenic drop beat to give meaning to the title. I’m feeling feverish alright.

Bad Things – Pure Slim Shady, cleaning out the skeletons in my closet, but for some reason I wanna dance.

I’m Good – I need a blunt.

Turn It Around – “Just because you sin, well that don’t make you a sinner.”

“What I gotta figure, if it hurts is it worth it? Know that I know better. Tomorrow I could turn it around.”

I love how she alternates between all-out rebellion and level-headed repentance. Isn’t that what we all go through at some point?

Thicker Than Dust – Requisite summer anthem. Alcohol, chanting, powerful, on top of the world.

“Me and my friends … thicker than dust. I need to keep my mind, my mind movin’ on up because it’s always going down, always going down … Nobody around got a husband. Nobody around got a wife to call … Waking up to go to sleep again … Naked girls, diamond rings … money’s over-rated, sex ain’t hard to find, we’re not in-love, since when is that a crime?”

Time For You – “You got drunk and said you love me, but I wouldn’t come inside. I’ve got options, trust me. Yeah I know other guys … ”

She starts off strong, but doesn’t stay that way for long. Soon enough there’s talk of commitment and I wanna tell her “Oh honey, this is not going to end well. What happened to ‘nobody around got a husband?'” It’s bitter and depressing, but I love the vulnerability.

Get It Right – “Want you to know that I wanna be better, but it feels like it’s gonna take forever.”

K. Flay gets better with each track, and I don’t think it’s gonna take forever for her to get noticed. That’s it. Go cop the album tomorrow, folks! ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Coming Through My Headphones: Pandora Premieres David Gray!

david-gray-mutineers

I’m a music lover. Actually, make that a music stalker. A certified, constantly-updating-the-soundtrack-to-my-life, digging-through-old-crates-for-vintage-vinyls, bury-me-with-my-boom-box-headphones music stalker of clinical proportions. And with the rise of internet music sharing it’s become that much easier for me to feed my psychosis.

So, it goes without saying that I am also a Pandora lover. I’ve tried other services like iHeart, Slacker, and Spotify but they never seem to measure up. Maybe it’s that Pandora remains committed to it’s roots in the Music Genome Project as a way to create a unique listening experience for each user. With time, I really have come to feel as if my Pandora experience has evolved along with me. Now that Google Play Music, Amazon Cloud Player, and iTunes Match are revolutionizing music storage and accessibility in their own right, Pandora has once again had to redefine itself in order to keep up.

Yes, those are almost forty stations you see listed on my page!

Don’t worry. As usual, they’ve transitioned with ease and kept the best of what loyal listeners love. Just when I was beginning to think I’d created and fine tuned as many “stations” as I could ever possibly want or need, I started receiving emails from Pandora for something new: the ability to listen to select albums – tailored to my existing listening preferences – a week before their official release date! I had already been working on a way to share my eclectic music tastes with all of you – through a recurring “Coming Through My Headphones” series on the blog – when I received this as my motivation to stop “tweaking” the idea and get it out there!

So, here’s my review for one of the albums I’ve been listening to on Pandora Premieres over the past few weeks. I’ve actually heard great music from several artists: Rebelution, Cisco Adler, O.A.R., Danny Boone, David Gray, The Antlers, Nightmare on Wax, The Downtown Fiction, & Swollen Members. But if I’m going to do justice to each of their unique sounds, it’s better that I only review one or two of them at a time, so first up is David Gray. But keep an eye out for reviews on the others coming soon!

David Gray – Mutineers – Available June 17th

The obvious comparisons would place David Gray among the likes of Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, and Dave Matthews – all of whom are wonderful artists to be compared to – but I think Gray distinguishes himself on this album as a more diverse and expansive musician than just his folk-rock roots. How?

Well for starters, there’s a reason he chose Mutineers as the title track. Are those echoes of Robert Plant I hear??? I know. That’s a borderline sacrilegious statement. No one compares to the voice of Robert Plant. But listen closely and you’ve gotta admit the undertones are there. And what better way to set the tone for a connection between his British Folk roots and a broader sound that includes Rock, Hip Hop, Blues, and Gospel? Minus the Hip Hop influences, Led Zeppelin are one of the definitive bands known for blending multiple sounds seamlessly.

Mutineers starts off light, airy, innocent, and almost hopeful with the piano and keyboard intro.  Then around the 3:30 mark he kicks it up a notch with a manic drum beat. The drums have been there all along, but more controlled and measured. Now, they let loose in similar fashion to a Jimmy Page guitar solo that signals the oncoming ravenous-sex-god-refrain we’ve all been waiting for, and after an endless 25 second wait there it is… Do you hear it? In his throaty “Oooh, kick off your shoes, baby… Ohhh!” Yeah, I’m a groupie. And I’d kill to see this performed live. I can just imagine when the harmonica comes in a few moments later – the stomping feet, clapping hands, and joyful bandying.

It’s clearly no Stairway To Heaven, but that’s why it’s perfect. Gray isn’t going for a Zeppelin cover. With Mutineers, he’s going for classic David Gray taken to a new height – and after 11 studio albums he’s definitely procured a fine vintage all his own. If one song also happens to draw up memories of a certain legendary rock band/ lead singer … well, all I have to say is: “Does anybody remember laughter? … baby, Oooohhh! … just give it to me give it to me give it to me …. sugar, sugar …”

In contrast, Back In The World is my morning cup o’ joe. I don’t know about being back in the world again, but I definitely feel like I could take on the world with this song. And what’s with that beat-box upkick at the 2:30 mark? Suddenly, I wanna bust a few old school rhymes over this track.

“I’m naked like a tree, it’s the only way to be

when I’m searchin’ for me, for Nelson Mandela Free

Starving for FRESH, DOPE

BEAUTY…

Back in this world that can’t see

Void of sight for the likes of WE

Me and my boy D. Gray

askin’ y’all whose to say?

whose to say how it goes

what do they really know?

Only way to be, naked like a tree yes, yes y’all

dancin’ in the leaves, Coltrane blurrin’ with crazy

Genius, Madness, Love

Love put a song in his heart y’all

Yeah some days it’s misery

but that’s the mystery

the creativity.

Every. day. Uh.”

Where are Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick when you need ’em? And what’s with that gospel choir finale? Okay, I’m done. Well, not really. If this is my morning pick me up I guess that means I’m just starting. But yea, expect this song to get a lot of play on repeat!

A few of my other favorites include: Last Summer which I can only describe as Miguel Bose Si Tu No Vuelves meets Guns N Roses Patience meets Michael Franti Firefly? Maybe it’s the acoustic guitar strum that reminds me of the Slash/Izzy Stradlin opening. There’s no denying the whistling as a shared trait between all three songs: Patience, Last Summer, and Si Tu No Vuelves – not to mention the aching violin strings in Last Summer and Si Tu No Vuelves. I’m probably reaching with that reference to Firefly, but what can I say, Pandora knows my heart! There’s got to be some shared acoustic sonority or something in there, because I swear I hear a connection!

Then there’s Snow In Vegas which has a slow start but a great pick up halfway through and shows off several stand out lyrics in lines like:

“Just when I was thinking we’d come about as far as this old road could take us,

time to pull on over baby, yeah just stop the car and it falls like snow in Vegas.

And we’ll leave that sign up on the door, so the hotel maid don’t wake us.

Now pigs can fly and I’ll command these breakers.

Any thing you want yeah, any thing at all

any little thing you’re needing, all you do is call.

Got my money where my mouth is, the sugar’s in the cane

If I had a million dollars, I’d blow it on champagne

We’re vain yeah and we’re greedy we’re selfish and we’re needy

but it’s just the way God made us.

Now pigs can fly and I’ll command these breakers.”

Cake And Eat It brings back that beloved gospel choir sound, this time in the form of an interlude reprise. And where Snow In Vegas highlighted Gray’s songwriting ability, Birds of The High Arctic shows off his vocal range a la Elton John and pure British Folk. Girl Like You is the most “out there” of the bunch offering up a synth borderline electronic sound. The tunnel effect “wind-oooohhs” add a ghost-like mysterious quality, and there goes that spunky gospel choir again in the “Yeahs” which cascades into what almost sounds like a free style jazz session wrap up.

Finally, I think Gulls might be my number one track. At the very least it’s my ahhhh factor. I’d been wanting to talk about this song since I started but I was trying to pace myself. So, of course, Gray placed it as the very last song on the album. Which is part of what makes it so great – that stretching. aching. building. well-paced waiting for what’s to come. It almost vibrates with each note. And if  other songs on the album alternated between highlighting vocal quality and lyrical ability, Gulls has it all packaged into one. Vocal quality. Lyrics. Musical Depth. Guitar build. Chills. Speaker warping. Everything.

This land belongs to the gulls. And the gulls to their cry.

And their cry to the wind. And the wind belongs to no one.

The wind belongs to no one

Toward the seed that God sowed

Oh baby, Try to recognize it in my mind. Try to snuff it out before it happens.

… (The writing’s on the writing’s on the writing’s on the wall) … “

Final verdict: Get the album. Now. Today. Well, not today since it’s not available until tomorrow, but you know what I mean. Just do it. You won’t regret it. A+, David Gray. A+!

~ Constance SHERESE, cS

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