Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A lyrical poetry song and mystery of Amelia Earhart's disapearance

A photo of American aviator Amelia Earhart in a biography 
I discovered at the International Women's Air and Space Museum in Cleveland.

Landing gear may be key to mystery of Amelia's disappearance

Investigators think they've uncovered a key clue that will lead them to solve the mystery of what happened to legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared on a trans-Pacific flight 75 years ago. 

Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), said a new enhanced analysis of a photo taken on the Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro, formerly Gardner Island, three months after Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared, may show the landing gear of her Lockheed Electra protruding from a reef.

Watch a CNN video report and story from March 20, 2012 on this link:

Aviator and poet Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra, the plane she was flying when she was lost in her attempt to be the first pilot to fly around the world

(Note: This article was originally published at the time of the release of the film, "Amelia" in October 2009.  Since then, Mike Marcellino has risen to #31 Top Folk Artists, New York City chart, ReverbNation.)  

You're invited to listen to "Amelia Earhart, soft silver wings" written by Mike Marcellino with Mike on vocal, Tom Mechling on mandolin and David Dowling on guitar. The song was recorded in St. Augustine, Florida.

In the week since the song's release Mike Marcellino has hit No. 133 on Reverbnation's Folk Chart for New York City.

Here's the link to listen -


Here's a clip from the new film, "Amelia" starring Hilary Swank

Mike was inspired to write the song after a visit to the International Women's Air and Space Museum at Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland, Ohio.  He admires the courage of the pioneering female aviator.  Ms. Earhart's plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean as she attempted to by the first woman to fly around the world in 1937.

Clip of Hilary Swank, starring in "Amelia" opening tomorrow

Amelia Earhart, soft silver wings
By Mike Marcellino

Amelia Earhart,
Love your picture
in flight.
love your goggles,
love your lips. 

Love how you circled the world,
single handed.

Like that leather
air cap.
You’re a goddess, a woman
soft white,
ahead of your time,
such afterglow
in shinning armor.

Meet me on a northern coast,
not far from the equator,
above the island
where they made King Kong.

You’re Atlantis, risen
in my South China Sea.

Oh, your last flight
Oh, your last flight,
what a night

Looking at your picture
in my book,
soft silver
soft silver

Your lips, painted colors
light, pretty pink.
Those eyes,
Your nails, natural,
taking you with me.

soft silver
soft silver

Your words,


Courage is the price that Life extracts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not, knows no release.
From little things.
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear.
Not mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.

How can life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull grey ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The soul’s dominion? Each time we make a choice, we pay
With courage to behold the restless day,
And count it fair. - Amelia Earhart, 1927

You made the crossing
not alone.
Meet you over the Atlantic.
Soft silver,
soft silver wings.

Copyright 2009 by Mike Marcellino, “Amelia Earhart, soft silver wings”

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scottish Pipes and the Hurdy Gurdy Man

Mike Marcelino records 'Scottish Pipes' 

Our band finished recording and mixing our latest lyrical poetry song, "Scottish Pipes" and released it today,  Tuesday, March 6, 2012.  

The music composed by Tomas Texino features the African "Talking Drum" and flute with a bagpipe finale, not to be missed.

The song was more than two decades in the making.  Mike Marcellino wrote a poem, "Scottish Pipes" in 1989.  Working with Texino this year, Mike reworked the poem, added some history and turned it into a song.

To listen to "Scottish Pipes" and other of the band's lyrical poetry songs, use the music player at the top of this blog, or you may use link to Mike Marcellino's musician/band page on Facebook.  There you may share "Scottish Pipes" and like our band page to help us grow!

Mike Marcellino's Band Page on Facebook

Edinburgh Castle is the oldest in Scotland dating back to the 12th Century.  The photo from Wikipedia is of the Sir William Wallace window in St. Margaret's Chapel, the oldest surviving structure.    Wallace was a knight and one of the leaders of the fight for Scottish Independence as depicted in the film, "Braveheart," winner of five Academy Awards in 1995 including Best Picture. (Photos from Wikipedia). 

This fall, Mike hopes to perform his lyrical poetry songs in Scotland, hopefully including a show in Edinburgh, outside the castle maybe.  The band is planning a performance tour of Europe to discover
American fol music roots there and so Mike can discover his own Scotch-Irish, French-German, English roots.  Stay tuned, we'll keep you posted.

Donovan inspires "Scottish Pipes"

Donovan sings "Hurdy Gurdy Man" live in Paris in 1970

Lost verse of Donovan's "Hurdy Gurdy Man" written by George Harrison -
When the truth gets buried deep
Beneath the thousand years of sleep
Time demands a turn-around
And once again the truth is found
Awakening the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Who comes singing songs of love.
Not sure how I happened to listen to the music of Donovan, a Scottish singer songwriter and friend of The Beatles, but in 1964 he recorded "Catch the Wind." I listened to it a lot as that was about what I was trying to do.  At the end of 1965, I enlisted in the U. S. Army rather than be drafted as the Vietnam War was going on.  I ended up in Vietnam anyway and in early 1968 I listened to Hurdy Gurdy Man in my "hootch" as the war went out outside.  While they say Donovan mimicked Bob Dylan, I never thought so, but both drew there influences from Woody Guthrie and Ramblin Jack Elliot.  
In 2012, Donovan will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; a rather overdue induction.  Both "Hurdy Gurdy Man" and "Catch the Wind" rose high on the charts in the U. S. and the British Isles.  
It just so happens I am working on a new lyrical poetry song recording of a poem I wrote in the middle of the night back in 1989 as I searched for my Scottish roots, awake from flashbacks from the war.

Scottish Pipes
by Mike Marcellino

Scottish pipes
wail away.
Scottish pipes
wail away
in a room with yellow walls.
stacks of painted chimneys.
a tv antenna
pointed southeast.
Gray silver white clouds
rolling in
from the north
over water
dotted with soft blue holes,

A painter’s eyes,
tar rectangles, angles
blasting light
from copper metal
on the second level.
Blasting light
on pale
yellow painted walls.

Scottish pipes
wail away.
Scottish pipes
wail away
in a room with yellow walls.

Dreaming of the hurdy gurdy man,
the tribes of Galway
from across the Irish sea
playing strings of love
in St. Margaret's Chapel
from the 12th Century.

Third floor
rooftop melodies.
Scottish pipes
wail away.
Scottish pipes
wail away
in a room with yellow walls.
Listen to the radio.
Listen to the radio -
Loretta Lynn
part Scotch-Irish
part Cherokee.
Sleet storms.

Copyright Mike Marcellino, 2012 (originally written October 7, 1989)

The Hurdy Gurdy
The hurdy-gurdy is the first stringed instrument to which the keyboard principle was applied. The French name, Viella a Roue (wheel fiddle), describes the method by which sound is produced. The bowing action of the fiddle is replaced by a wheel cranked by a handle. The outer rim of the wooden wheel is coated with resin. When the crank is spun, the wheel turns and the gut strings vibrate.

Just as the bag of the bagpipe acts as a reservoir of air for continuous sound, so too the wheel makes possible continuous sound by avoiding changes of bowing. Both bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy use drones, provided in the former by reed pipes, and in the latter by strings which sound fixed pitches. Other strings tuned in unison provide notes of the scale. Tangents activated by keys press these strings at the appropriate points to produce different pitches.

There is evidence of the hurdy-gurdy in Europe in the twelfth century. By the end of this century, the instruments was highly regarded. Before 1300 the instrument was often long enough to require two performers, one to crank, and one to push the keys. Single player instruments developed in the thirteenth century when the hurdy-gurdy became the ideal instrument for dance music. 
Musica Antiqua's hurdy-gurdy, really a four string symphonie or organistrum by Ellis, is based on a late fourteenth century Florentine marble fingure in the Vienna Leichtenstein Gallery. It has two unison chanterelles, two drones, and an interior pegbox. It is oblong in shape and has tuneable tangents and a range of two diatonic octaves with drones on g and d1. The gut strings are difficult to keep in tune when there are changes in temperature or humidity. Notice the cotton wrapped around the strings to keep the circular bow from wearing through the strings.


wheel and tangents 

Hurdy Gurdy Man
by Donovan

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep
To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquility.
'Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love,
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity.
'Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love,
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Here comes the roly poly man and he's singing songs of love,
Roly poly, roly poly, roly poly, poly he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang,
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang 

Hurdy gurdy:  Beowulf to New York City subways

In this YouTube video, a folk music artist plays the hurdy gurdy in an excerpt from the 8th Century epic tale Beowulf.  

Beowulf on the hurdy gurdy

In contrast, in this YouTube video, Melissa Kacalanos brings the hurdy gurdy's mixture of medieval and Middle East sounds into the subways of New York City at Canal Street in 2006.

Hurdy gurdy played in the subways of New York