Elvendrums' Newsletter

Elvendrums Newsletter
Dear Elvendrums,

Newsletter - 08 08 2008 

Well, we've kept our promise to you to not overwhelm your inboxes with Spam. In fact, we've gone so long without sending out a newsletter than many of you have never gotten one from us.  Don't worry, this isn't the beginning of an avalanche of pointless Elvendrums trivia. 
Renfest Season
Band Update
New Songs
New CD?!
Musicians Still Wanted
News from Elenkaia
Nerethel's Rambling Bits...
Recent Performances  Rennaisance Faire Season

This year marked the second year of our fabulous and funny newer member, Pooka Sue.  Many of you will remember her as one of Kaia's most successful babysitters. Not only was Pooka an expert at keeping the wild child occupied during our shows and safely supervised between performances, she also has a great voice and wonderful comic timing.  Pook is a backwoods elf, adding a touch of local color and realism to our mainly Midwestern concert series.
Band Update
Band update 
Members of the band continue to be busy with other projects.  Nerethel, a full time student and part time pet wrangler at Petco, has finally gotten a couple of weeks away from classes and he's celebrating by getting this newsletter out.  He and Elenkaia are in the process of writing games.  Rumor has it that Nerethel's game is a superhero board game and Elenkaia is creating a card game called Cheese.  They hope to finish the prototypes before school resumes, tossing Elenkaia into second grade and Nerethel deep into his Senior year at Mizzou.

Greggtheguitarplayer joined us again this year, burning up the stage with his inspired string work and flat affect.  Working as the perennial straight man, Gregg added a human element to our shows.

New Songs
 New Songs
We're so excited about our new songs.  Gregg brought several new compositions to our rehearsals; Voices of Home and Songwriter.  He considers Voices the best song he's ever written with its clean, clear melody and retrospective look at life. "And the voices they will ring true/for they know who we are/they will watch over us/so we don't fall too far."

Songwriter is about the process of writing music, when the ideas come from other times and places..."they whisper to me at the gates of dawn/from a world that has no shore/fill my head with words of song/and so much more" With catchy tunes and close harmonies, these two songs were well received in our shows this spring and summer.

Temple of your Heart, a song written by Devan, celebrates the feeling of being in love with a drummer, drawn in by their unique rhythm and the beating or their heart.  "As a drummer/all I know/is the need/to just let go/to play the spaces between the sounds/amid the rhythms of your heart."  A second song, Imagica, is a cautionary tale about the use of magic.  "Forget the secret incantations/The books you read and notes you take/See yourself instead, as magic/ You life is but the spell you make"
A third song, Between the Worlds, appeared in a different form on Elvenstar, Elvendrums' first CD.  It tells of a full moon journey into faerie.  "In the distance, sounds of laughter/Twinkle like enchanted bells/ Hidden gnosis, secret wonders/ All the faerie tales you tell.../Sudden knowing clouds your thoughts now/  Fills you with imagined view/ If you stare at your reflection/ Will you still know it is You?"
New CD?!
Working on new music, we'd started recording every practice, reviewing recordings during the week and returning to make changes at the next rehearsal.  Not having released new music since 2004, we got excited about the possibility of recording and releasing an inexpensive, stripped down, ambient version of our new music and a few old favorites.  We hoped to do this inexpensively, producing a CD that would cost much less and be available much sooner than a studio recording.

Over time, we got some incredible recordings and we were excited by the project.  But we found it nearly impossible to do a one-mike recording without any errors.  Even in the songs without errors, a vocal would be too far from the microphone or one drum would overpower the others.  It began to frustrate us as we tried for perfect takes of each song.  And each one came out at a different level, depending on the placement of instruments and the strength of each voice as the weeks went by.  

Finally, we gave up.  We've decided to record a stripped down, ambient version of our new songs and some of our old favorites in a studio.  This will allow us to have better control over balance and editing, and we'll still be trying for an open, live sound.  Less processed than our first CDs, we're planning to have this one reflect the sound you'd hear if you were at an Elvendrums concert.  We'll still try to keep the cost down.

Musicians Still Wanted Your Face Here

While Gregg and Devan work great together in the studio, collaborating on arrangements and new songs, Gregg is too busy with other projects to perform live with the band.  A bass player in a Country band and an oldies Rock and Roll production, he's excited about continuing to write with Devan while performing with his other projects.  That leaves us with a need for other guitar players.    Here's our ad:

Elvendrums, a band performing original faerie folk music,  seeks guitar player for unplugged, acoustic gigs.  We're looking for someone who enjoys our music, is at least elf-friendly and interested in playing outdoor gigs like Renaissance festivals and regional faires.  

The ideal guitar player will be able to learn new music by ear, be non-smoking and have a good singing voice. This person will be family-friendly, spontaneous, creative, fun-loving and energetic.  Additional instruments a plus.
News from Elenkaia
Elenkaia Katana Solindas 
Thoughts about pets:
The best pet to have if you get attached to one for a long time, a dog or cat would be the best. If you like small animals, try a mouse, because you know they don't last very long. A good reptile would be a turtle, if you like small animals and reptiles. Another good pet is a pot-bellied pig.
I have a big basement filled with animals. We have a chinchilla, a mouse, a rat, and three degus (they're like very big gerbils, kind of a mix between a chinchilla and a chipmunk. They come from Chile). Our mouse likes to eat cat food. We have two cats, one is just like a dog except he looks like a cat, and he doesn't bark. Our other cat is a luggage cat. If you set out luggage, our cat will want to sit on top of it.
 Great TV show:
If you are into magical creatures, there is a great show called Winx Club. It's on here on Saturday mornings on 4Kids TV. It's about an earth girl that was actually a fairy. With her fairy friends, she is trying to find her birth parents. 
 Favorite Nintendo DS games:
If you like pets and taking care of pets like a doctor, then Sims Pets 2 is a good game. I really love Animal Crossing, Wild World. It's a great game for people who like playing games like in the real world. You have a bunch of animal friends, but you're human. There's a shop where you can buy clothes, wigs, glasses and other things in the game. There's another shop where you buy things and sell things. There's a point machine in the shop that gives you points when you buy things. If you get enough points in it, you can become a member. The man who works in that shop wants you to pay him. So you have to go to the town hall and say 'Pay Mortage'. You can pick your own name in it. You can't drive anywhere, you have to walk around everywhere. You're the only one with your own shoes. Every weekend, there's an event. You have to set the time when you start the game, and the game keeps track of the time for you, so things happen in the game at certain times. The music in the game changes every hour. And you can have a little tune before you talk to someone. In this game you can catch bugs, fish, and with a slingshot, you can shoot flying saucers and presents. You can shake trees, and they will drop fruit or money, or make bees chase you. If you have furniture in your house, you might be able to use it, or it might just be decoration. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

Nerethel's Rambling Bits Nerethel being goofy
This summer has been hectic and full of activity. I've been going to school full time and working about 30 hours a week. This alone wouldn't be too bad, but the classes were intense - two graduate-level classes in statistics, 'Regression and Correlation' and 'Analysis of Variance'. I was a bit underprepared for the level of expectation in these classes. Homework was very time-consuming, making it impossible to devote time to the webpage. But I enjoy the subject matter, and it will pay off in the future.
As many of you know, I'm a tabletop gamer, meaning I really enjoy board, card, and role-playing games. This summer has been too hectic to play at all (withdrawals!), but I've been thinking about games of my own creation. Some of you may recall the Elvendrums Card Game (this still needs to be playtested and refined), and my fantasy role-playing game (with a working name of Alryx, for now). This past few weeks have borne a couple of board game ideas involving superheroes, and another with wild animal heroes. With some time allowing (ha!), I hope to have prototypes ready to playtest soon. Yes, I think my true calling is game design (I also think I'd be a good DJ, or a fantasy novelist - why are my best skills in fields that don't pay much?).
I love superheroes. The last few years have been good to the superhero genre, with movies such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, X-Men and more. Special effects have gotten to the point where these movies are not only possible, but look seamless and believable. It's gotten to the point where, even with the finest special effects, the acting and plot actually matter more than the flash and glitz. I have some favorites, some dislikes, and some I haven't been able to see (yet). If you'll indulge me, I'd like to rate a few.
Superman Returns - Just like the great original with Christopher Reeve, except with more needless violence, slower plot, bad acting, and less originality. Use this one as a coaster for your favorite beverage.
X-Men (1, 2 and 3) - The first two are stellar movies, and the third is pretty good entertainment. It will be good to have these in a 3 (or 4) disc set.
The Incredible Hulk - Big, green and violent. But add good characterization, fun, believable plot, and the requisite cameo of Stan Lee, and you get a really good movie.
Iron Man - Smart, fun, believable. Made me want to build my own super suit of armor.
Hancock - Haven't seen it yet.
Fantastic 4 (1 and 2) - Good, solid entertaining movies. Fun characters that are easy to believe and relate with. I recommend them both.
Spiderman (1, 2 and 3) - The first two are fantastic! Haven't seen the third.
Hellboy (1 and 2) - I haven't seen the second one, but if it's anywhere as fun as the first, I can't wait to see it!
I'm sure I'm missing some, but this is what the top of my head is giving me.
Well, this has turned into a rambling bit. I suppose this section is aptly named.

Joyous Rhythms!
The elves at Elvendrums  www.elvendrums.com  elvendrums@gmail.com
Elvendrums | P.O.Box 105751 | Jefferson City | MO | 65110-5751