CANCER THE CRAB: A NEW MEDITATION FOR A NEW ZODIAC SEASON

aT: We are now leaving the season of Gemini the Twins and heading into Cancer the Crab. The Crab’s main focus is the home. Cancer is a water sign, indicating that these individuals approach and understand the world through their emotions. Cancer people tend to be sensitive and in tune to the feelings of others. They can use this gift to create strong and nurtured families, social groups, and friendships. They are methodical, technical, creative, and steady. They can be easily overwhelmed by their or others’ emotions and can want to retreat into their crab-shell as a result.

For this vid, I wanted us to film a hike with a lake or body of water….since water and emotions are the primary aspect of Cancer the Crab. I struck gold (or maybe I should say “silver” since that’s one of Cancer’s colors) when I found the Forgotten Valley hike. This is a hike through Golden Gate State Park, and it leads to an old HOMEstead situated on a pond. Perfect for a video about home-loving Cancer the Crab!
The hike was gorgeous but even more fascinating was the story at Forgotten Valley. It is now maintained as a historical site with very informative placards. The homestead was built in the 1800s by a Swedish family who settled on the land and made their living selling dairy, eggs, potatoes and beef. Not only was it successful, the same family farmed and lived on the homestead through 3 generations! The homestead was nourished by Nott Creek (again…home…water…nurture). I love the story of how they kept their dairy and meat cool—by running the stream through the dairy’s floor. How ingenious!
We were so inspired and impressed by this family. Farming in the mountains of CO with the closest town being miles away cannot have been easy. And yet they successfully did so for 3 generations! And what I LOVE about this story is that the qualities which made this homestead work are EXACTLY the qualities of Cancer the Crab: resourceful, perservering, tireless….all in the pursuit of creating a sustainable home. At every cost, they show extreme dedication to their cause.
James enjoyed shooting short vids of the buildings (which he said belonged to “Hidden Valley Ranch…..get it?”) You can see more behind the scenes footage on his vlog.
On the way back, we added the City Lights Cliff Trail, which unbeknownst to us, was mostly vertical. It was another Cancer the Crab experience: it was a tough climb, but we stuck with it….one step at a time. And we made it. We were rewarded at the top with spectacular views and butterflies zooming all over (probably doing mating dances….tis the season to make families, regardless of your species).
The music for this vid is based on one of James’ original compositions. It features a cyclical conversation between the piano and guitar. The conversation between the two instruments mimics a Crab’s forwards and backwards movement. (A little homage to Poulenc’s Le bestiaire….). The track turned out to be one of our favorites.
Thank you for reading! I hope you can take time to appreciate your home and those you love today.
(And..I am so grateful that my home life does not involve raising potatoes and defending my meat stores from bears).
Want to visit Forgotten Valley? Click here to check it out.
Sending you peace,
-aT (the Piano Goddess)

MUSICAL MEDITATIONS ON THE ZODIAC

BY ADRIANA

I have been noticing a lot of chaos, unrest, frustration, and anger in the people around me. Many seem maxed out on stress, with short fuses. And whether political or personal situations are causing this, I see it bleeding across all facets of our collective experience.

I feel that healing starts small, that we must first calm and restore ourselves before we can begin to repair so much of what we have collectively lost: patience, optimism, faith, love.

In our small corner of the world, James and I feel most at peace and at ease when making music, especially with each other. We began to dream of ways we could spread some positive energy, good vibes, and love using our music.

I have always loved astrology because it helps me understand and accept others different from me. James and I came up with the concept of creating meditation music for each astrological sign. We’d express the essence of each sign through reflective music and words that would pay tribute to the sign’s positive aspects in an inspirational way. To create a relaxing vibe, we decided to stick to piano and guitar.

James chose chord progressions from rock songs that capture elements of each sign, sometimes with a little tongue-in-cheek humor. For Aries, we used the chords of “C’mon Baby, Light my Fire,” because Aries is a fire sign, and anyone who has talked to an Aries for any amount of time knows that they are especially fiery and passionate. For Pisces, we used “Bridge Over Troubled Water”— Pisces a water sign who embodies empathy, compassion, and true friendship. For Gemini, we used “Something in the Air,” to capture Gemini’s free-thinking, rebellious spirit.

We started to lay down tracks on January 6. After three days of very intense recording, we met a dead-end. We weren’t quite sure of the direction the project should go. The tracks sat there, almost forgotten until…

One day  a few weeks ago, we went out on the most glorious, magical hike up Independence Mountain. It was misty and overcast that morning-a rarity in sunny Colorado. (Or maybe just a rarity for me because I don’t like to get up early. Usually.) Frozen drops of water sparkled and glistened off of brave spring flowers shimmering in the frosty air. The forest teemed with promise. We took our time up the mountain because there was so much wonder around us: even a spider web exquisitely bejeweled with water droplets stopped us breathless in our tracks.

On a whim, James started taking video, and suddenly all parts came together. Why not combine our zodiac music with videos of nature? We always feel calmer when hiking, so why not bring some of that positive energy into a meditational experience?

These meditation videos, words, and music are one way we feel we can make a difference as musicians. We can’t change the world overnight. However, we CAN create art with the intention to uplift, to restore calm, and to share beautiful moments with you.

-Adriana (aT)

“Elephant In Fishnet” CD Release Concert!

aT/dC (www.atdcmusic.com) will give a special CD release concert entitled “Elephant in Fishnet” on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at Classic Pianos of Denver, 1332 S Broadway 80210 at 7:30 p.m.

You might love Classic Rock, and you might love Classical Music….but did you know that the combination is absolutely delicious?

For this special CD release concert, aT/dC presents your favorite classic rock tunes from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s done like you’ve never heard before…on the grand piano and Spanish guitar.

aT/dC is Dr. Adriana Teodoro-Dier, (Piano Goddess), and Dr. James Cline (Royal Guitar Daddy). Professional musicians and educators in Denver CO, Teodoro-Dier and Cline give concerts at colleges, private houses and fundraising events as aT/dC.

Buy tickets by clicking below!


 

Bette Davis Eyes – A Sneak Preview From Our New Album!

dC: ˆHere’s your first opportunity to hear part of Elephant in Fishnet, our new album, slated for release in February 2018!

You might be able to guess how we came up with that weird title if we give you a few hints.

Here’s one:  For this album, only two instruments were used: aT plays piano exclusively, and I stick to the nylon-string guitar.

Listen closely to our arrangement of “Bette Davis Eyes” and you might hear a George Gershwin quote, Rachmaninoff and a hint of ragtime!

Let us know what you think in the comments.

We love you!

You haven’t lived until you’ve heard “Day Tripper” performed by aT/dC on a piano and mandolin!

Here is the first video of a series called “Botanica Sessions”. aT/dC filmed it at dC’s place, where they often work out arrangements and try different ideas. Check out their arrangement of “Day Tripper” from last Sunday’s session:

You can hear dC playing mandolin in this one. He takes the melody for the verses, trying to incorporate the sound of overlapping strings. aT (aka “Piano Goddess”) keeps it very ethereal, but then takes over for the chorus, playing so powerfully you can almost feel it. dC’s mandolin has a hard time keeping up!

dC: My dog Coco has a cameo; watch for her right at the beginning. She is a little shy of strangers but seems to have taken to Piano Goddess right away. Since I live in apartment, the piano aT is playing is simulated on the computer, connected to a Native Instruments S88 controller. Obviously, a Piano Goddess like aT prefers playing an acoustic grand piano (and you should be lucky enough to be standing next to a nice grand piano when she plays – omg!), but I think you’ll agree that her fingers can make any set of keys sound fantastic!

Did you enjoy the video? Have any requests? Let us know in the comments.

We love you!

aT – “What If I Am Not Myself”?

aT:  I’ve always been driven: to succeed, to excel, to win approval. After 30-odd years of trying to please other people, and burning out my adrenals in the process, I’m finally saying no. My biggest fear used to be, “What if others don’t like me?” Now it is, “What if I am not myself?”

Playing piano was my childhood refuge, a way to cope with being different. Even though I swore I would NEVER become a musician, an inner compass pushed me towards becoming a professional pianist.

In college and grad school, a big part of me wanted to excel at the piano so that my teachers and peers would like me. Piano stopped being a safe place; I had stopped playing for myself. I was using the piano for approval. I was frustrated with my abilities because I felt I would never be worthy of acceptance.

I played a stressful game of constant mental roulette: trying to anticipate what someone wanted, silently freaking out when they wanted something different, trying to assess where I stood with this person, and being angry with myself when they still didn’t seem pleased.

My sound was tense, tight, and strung-out. There was absolutely no joy in what I did. I felt no connection, no passion. My life was about making money and in the quiet times, filled with fear of not making money. I brought and received stress from relationships. I took gigs that made me feel incredibly cheapened. Strangers would say, “You’re so lucky to be a pianist, you get to do what you love.” I would just stare at them blankly.

In the winter of 2015 I had something of a spiritual wake-up call. I had reached the point where my body didn’t want to keep going. I was beyond exhausted; emotionally, mentally, physically. I’ve always loved and prized my independence, but addiction to stress compounded by an impossible work schedule caused adrenal burnout.

I realized that if I wanted to keep my independence and success, a big change needed to happen. I began to receive multiple signs, strong signs, that something wanted me to leave my destructive, stress-addicted, people-pleasing circle and go to higher ground. My approval-centered life wasn’t working anymore and I started searching like hell to reverse this.

I began meditating regularly. I made a conscious choice to examine ALL my thought and belief patterns. The fundamental one for me was realizing that I am responsible for my well-being—emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. My seeking approval was constantly asking everyone else to be responsible for me. I was trapped in co-dependence: I felt it was my job to figure out what made others happy, so that I could be accepted. I gave in order to get.

I realized that if I took responsibility for all aspects of myself, there was suddenly no dependence on others. There was only the possibility of reclaimed strength, of trusting others, of reconnecting with my true uniqueness

Although I had begun my musical path from love, my attention to codependence became stronger than my desire to stay connected to my passion. I had settled for circumstances that prevented my musical gifts from developing to their highest level. Every relationship, every gig, every thought required scrutiny and reflection.

Now every day is filled with a heightened awareness of my feelings, how every choice feels: does it feel good, or does it feel like habit? Now giving and receiving value is more important than making money. I walk away from situations that hold me in smaller, diminutive, “less-than-who-I-am” positions. This includes gigs that don’t value what I offer and relationships that are unbalanced.

I have started caring more about fulfilling my soul’s purpose, and of striving to bring my highest self to all situations. And this has allowed me to completely change my relationship with the piano.

Now piano is my way of giving back to the world, of living a far more fulfilling life on my own terms. The growth of my inner self, the self that wants to invigorate and uplift others, has become far more important than anything else.

And now I can’t imagine being any other way…

——

dC: What is your greatest fear? Reply in the comments and let us know. We love you!

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” – Our New Single!

dC: Our arrangement of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is now available on CD Baby! Go here to listen to a bit of it and download!

All sorts of sounds and styles in this one-we mashed up Latin Guitar, Ragtime, Flamenco and what sounds kind of like (to me, anyway) Indonesian Gamelan music! “Crazy”, for sure. 🙂 Here is my “play-by-play” of our arrangement, also published on the CD Baby site:

Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is the lead single from “aT/dC Play ‘The Game’”, an album that features interpretations of all of the songs from “The Game”, Queen’s classic LP from 1980.

On “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” aT (Adriana Teodoro-Dier) plays grand piano and toy piano (often simultaneously!). dC (Doctor Cline) plays the classical guitar on this track.

dC starts off by playing a romantic arpeggio sequence often associated with such classic love songs as “Time In A Bottle”, “Feelings,” and “Michelle”, but this quickly gives way to the upbeat strumming found in the original Queen recording.

In the verses, aT plays the melody on a toy piano with her right hand, while her left hand keeps the bass line going on a grand piano, creating what sounds like a cross between Ragtime and Javanese Gamelan music. dC backs her up, sometimes introducing flamenco-style “rasqueado” into the mix.

For both the bridge and the guitar solo, dC’s classical guitar takes center stage, playing the melody in a slow “Latin Soap Opera” style, while aT plays a “piano bar” accompaniment. In the final verse the classical guitar and toy piano play the melody together, each battling for supremacy. In the end, the classical guitar backs off, reverting from aggressive strums to lighter fingerpicking, while the grand piano repeats the chorus, fading and quietly ascending to the uppermost registers of the instrument.”

-Hope that makes you curious enough to give it a spin!

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/atdc

We love you!

Our First Video – “Dragon Attack”!

dC: Here is our first YouTube vid-a “lyric video” for “Dragon Attack”. aT and I arranged this one for piano and mandolin. Of course, since it’s instrumental, neither one of us is singing. Feel free to sing along with us yourself if you feel so inclined.

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We love you!

aT/dC plays Queen! Here’s how it happened…

dC: This is the first blog post on the site. This is happening very quickly, so YAY! In the middle of May, aT and I got together to discuss what kind of songs we might like to play together. I floated the idea of us playing all of the songs from Queen’s The Game album. (You might know some of the tunes from that record: “Another One Bites The Dust”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, etc.)

…ANYWAY, to my surprise (and delight) aT agreed to give it a go. A month later, we’re recording our arrangements. See, I told you it is happening quickly! I mean, who DOES that? We’re working out where to go next.  aT thinks we need to perform the album live, and I agree. I think there should be video. We both loved making our own interpretation of The Game and are excited to see where this will go next…

Join us in our journey!