Mendocino Stories

Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen


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Mendocino's Mistress of Folklore

      Holly Tannen sings traditional folk songs of England, Scotland, and the Appalachians, her own satirical songs about Mendocino life, and settings of her  translations of the poetry of 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
       Holly  holds a Master's degree in folklore from the University of California at Berkeley, where she studied under Alan Dundes. She wrote her master's thesis on traditional ballads told as stories among Scotland's Travelling People.

Listen to a new song, The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth
(An Unofficial WikiLeaks Multinational Anthem)

Watch the debut performance
Holly sings Geek at the Anderson Valley Variety Show - March 2011

Holly is a finalist in the 2011 Mountain Stage New Songs Contest
If you've enjoyed the song, vote for Holly

Crazy Laughter
Crazy Laughter:
Seven Years with the Spirit of Arthur Rimbaud.

* Listen *

From the liner notes:

       At fifty-one I was living on the northern California coast. One foggy August day in a fit of boredom, I rented a movie: Total Eclipse, starring Leonardo di Caprio as Rimbaud. I hated it so much I watched it twice, and stormed around the house cursing at it. The next day I drove into Mendocino to return it. Walking down Ukiah street, suddenly Rimbaud was right there. It wasn't possession trance - I was still there. But it wasn't imagination either. I took down my yellowed copies of Illuminations and A Season In Hell.

       Yet you will set yourself to this work...Your memory and your senses will be nothing but the nourishment of your creative impulse. As for the world, when you emerge, what shall it have become? In any case, nothing that it appears to be now.

       These aren't poems, they're spells!

       Was Rimbaud, as he claimed, a musician who has invented something like the key of love? Was he, as I have come to suspect, the heir to a long-suppressed European shamanic tradition?"

       The past seven years Holly has devoted herself to Rimbaud's infamous, inept, obstinate, mysterious work of creating a poetic language accessible to all the senses. Crazy Laughter includes songs from Holly's one-woman, one-entity show Practical Alchemy: An Exquisitely Perverse Grace, Holly's settings of Rimbaud's poems, and a couple of Holly's satirical songs about life in Mendocino.

       This language will be of the soul and for the soul, encompassing everything: sound, scent, color, thought catching thought and pulling... - A. Rimbaud, 1871

       The musicians: Shira Kammen, Danny Carnahan, Sylvia Herold, Maureen Brennan, Francy Vidal and Edmond Badoux, Marcia Sloane, Michael Hubbert, Charlie Hancock, Adam Miller, and Manose. Produced by Holly Tannen and Danny Carnahan

* Crazy Laughter * The Edge Between * Marie Laveau * Painted Toenails * Brownies for Breakfast * Are You Sleepin', Maggie * Bonobo Wannabee * Lay This Body Down * The Drunken Boat * Dawn * La Femme du Berger (The Shepherd's Wife) * Sleeping Rough * The Soul Knows Its Own * Alembic (The Boy with the Tortured Heart) *

The spin about Holly Tannen

      Holly Tannen sings to centuries-old melodies, and then all of a sudden you notice she's singing about the Internet or Beavis and Butthead or northern California marijuana growers. Tannen sings these songs as if the ancient ballads were always about things like that (and in a sense, they were). Tannen also knows just when and how to aim for the heart with something a bit more serious.
                      - Dr. Demento, Demento Society Newsletter

       Holly Tannen has blossomed into an ecumenical iconoclast with a sparkling instrumental sound and a blowtorch aimed at every sacred cow in the spiritual strip mall.
                              - Mitch Ritter, Dirty Linen

Holly is one of the best and funniest songwriters I know. - Faith Petric, Sing Out!

* Listen *


Traditional and modern songs
about the intersection of our world and the world of spirit.

    Between the Worlds was one of three recordings I chose to take on a research trip to Antarctica.
It was cool! Her music helped me keep my perspective in an awesome place.

- Jim Oakden, marine biologist

* Listen *

Practical Alchemy: An Exquisitely Perverse Grace
Holly's one-woman, one-entity show
In song and story, Holly recounts the history of her love affair
with 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.

"Crazy Laughter"
and Holly's other CDs $18 each
(includes tax, shipping and handling).
Two for $35.

Drop a note to Holly,
let her know if you'd
like to book a show.




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