No Blue No Green

Ocean Researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean and
shocking stats about its rapid decline as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.

If you are a parent or grandparent or simply love a child in your life, please take the time to view this video.

Sustainability

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Black Death

Black Death

I was born in Florida and am very intimate with the sensitive flora and fauna of an estuary.
It is with great grief in my heart that I have watched the BP oil disaster unfold.

Crude oil
70,000 barrels or
nearly 3 million gallons per day.
A slow-motion tragedy
thick as Louisiana bean soup.

We all go on with our daily lives
I head to Starbucks.
Tall caramel macchiato, skinny,
No whipped cream, extra caramel.
And as I drink my coffee,
Turtles head for beaches to lay eggs.
Birds head for marshes to nest.
Fish head for estuaries to spawn.
The Gulf’s flora and fauna,
innocent and unsuspecting victims of circumstance,
go about their customary days and nights while headed
towards aquatic Armageddon.

In the 5 minutes it takes to finish my cup of coffee,
another 10,000 gallons of crude has erupted from the ocean floor.

Scientists speculate on the cumulative impact of oil.
What is the cumulative impact of heartbreak?

Uncategorized

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The Henna “Paradise” Guitar

HENPARSPR_shrpnd
The henna design for the Henna Paradise was executed by U.K. Henna artist Alex Morgan especially for Luna Guitars and is based on The Conference of the Birds, one of the great works of world literature by Farid ud-Din Attar. In it, Attar explores the nature of the spiritual path through an allegory of a rich tapestry of birds. They fly like a magic carpet of exuberant color in search of their “king”, a mythical peacock-like bird known as the great Simorgh who has dropped a golden feather.

They travel through the peaks of exultation and the valleys of despair. One by one, different birds drop out of the journey, each unable to endure and offering an excuse.
Eventually only thirty birds remain as they finally arrive in the land of Simorgh — all they see there are each other and the reflection of the thirty birds in a lake — not the mythical Simorgh. The thirty birds seeking the Simorgh realise that Simorgh is nothing more than their own reflection….they are all “Kings”.

The main elements of the story can be found on the front of the Paradise. The Simorgh can be seen on the lower bout of the Paradise guitar.
simorge

One of its dropped feathers grace the headstock while two others can be found beneath the sound hole and tucked under the bridge.
Feather Headstock

bridge feather

The birds on the journey to find the fabled Simorgh are hidden in the henna design…you can see hints of their bodies, heads and wings if you look closely.
Birds

In one of the many folk tales that have sprung around this folk tale, a hero rescues Simurgh’s off-springs by killing a snake that is crawling up the tree to feed upon them and is granted 3 feathers with which to call for help. The snake is an enemy of the Simurg and can be clearly seen on the upper bout of the guitar under the sound hole.
snake

Attar was the predecessor of the great Persian Sufi poet Jalalludin Rumi, who borrowed Attar’s technique of weaving wisdom within entertaining and amusing tales.
Coleman Barks, one of America’s most favorite Rumi translators, has this to say about Attar:

“Attar, along with Chaucer and Dante, is a great genius of community and how that involves the path toward enlightenment. We are these bird-beings searching for the source of what we are together.”
conference_of_the_birds

What a lovely thought!

Peace,

Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

Instrument Inspiration

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Polar Bear Blues

I went to a poetry reading last evening at the Karma Cafe to hear a friend of mine, Richard Downing, do a reading from his recent book Four Steps Off the Path. This one is about global warming. What does global warming have to do with guitars? Read on.

Polar Bear Blues
— for Magic Slim & the Teardrops

It’s not that the polar bears didn’t try
to adapt. One bear gave a shot
at becoming a blues musician,

Chicago blues specifically. Got him
a custom designed Luna guitar
and some Magic

Slim CDs out of a trapper’s house
he scavenged whenever
the owner was busy setting his snares.

Smacked the door open with a large white
paw. Checked the fridge first
before sampling the music

room. Even made a special trip to take
an amplifier. Toted the whole haul
far out onto the tundra,

set up as best he could on an ice floe,
glacial backdrop, a few curious seals
for fans, one penguin

who swore he was not an agent,
that he was just there because
where else was he supposed to be?

What the bear could never figure
out
was how to scavenge

electricity,
an opposable thumb,
an appreciative audience.

POLAR BEAR BLUES

Flotsam & Jetsam

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The Zen Guitar

I was studying Tai Chi and learning a “Bagua” warmup routine when the idea of the Zen guitar came to me. Zen is, by it’s very nature, hard to talk about…..like the proverbial finger pointing beyond itself to the moon. It is a state of no-mind in which thought, emotions, and expectations do not matter.

OCLZEN copy

NECK INSPIRATION

Zen

The calligraphy on the neck was inspired by Zen calligraphy. Truly skillful Zen calligraphy is not the product of intense “practice”; rather, it is best achieved as the product of the “no-mind” state, a high level of spirituality, and a heart free of disturbances. It is based on the principles of Zen Buddhism, which stresses a connection to the spiritual rather than the physical. The characters on the neck symbolize Wisdom, Beauty, Truth, Courage, Grace, Peace and Love. Calligraphy ensconced on the heel cap translates Light.

OCLZEN neck

SOUND HOLE INSPIRATION

Pakua

Even more ancient than Tai Chi, the circle walking techniques of Bagua were developed over four thousand years ago in Taoist monasteries as a health and meditation art. The techniques open up the possibilities of the mind to achieve stillness and clarity; generate a strong, healthly, disease-free body; and, perhaps more importantly, maintain internal balance while either your inner world or the events of the external world of the external world are rapidly changing.

The Bagua, literally “eight symbols”, is a fundamental philosophical concept in ancient China. It is generally represented with an octagonal diagram with one trigram on each side. The concept of Bagua is applied not only to I Ching and Chinese Taoist thought, but is also used in other streams of Chinese culture, such as Feng Shui, martial arts and navigation.

OCLZEN sound hole

I came across a very interesting article on using the Bagua as it relates to the guitar. The first section gives an introduction to the Bagua, and the second launches into some innovative ways to explore the guitar as 8 different instruments based on the system. For those of you so inclined, have fun!

Last, but not least…..someone turned me onto a very cool interactive website on Zen. Definitely worth exploring!!!!! The inscrutable picture below is from the landing page.

monkwfly

Peace,
Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

Instrument Inspiration

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Fantasie Series ~ “Lady of Shalott”

The Lady of Shalott by Joh Waterhouse

The Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse

Luna's Fantasie series "Lady of Shalott"

Luna's Fantasie series "Lady of Shalott"

Few images have captured the mystique of Camelot more brilliantly than John Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott.

Waterhouse’s art was inspired by a poem of the same name by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892). The poem was particularly popular amongst artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who shared Tennyson’s interest in Arthuriana; several of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood made paintings based on episodes from the poem.

Here are some other artistic interpretations of Tennyson’s poem by Pre-Raphaelite artists.

Lady of Shalott by Daniel Gabriel Rossetti

Lady of Shalott by Daniel Gabriel Rossetti

Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse

Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse

Lady of Shalott by John Grimshaw

Lady of Shalott by John Grimshaw

Lady of Shalott by Sidney Meteyard

Lady of Shalott by Sidney Meteyard

Lady of Shalott by Donato Gianola

Lady of Shalott by Donato Gianola

Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse

Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse

Lady of Shalott by Holman Hunt

Lady of Shalott by Holman Hunt

Lady of Shalott by W.E Britten

Lady of Shalott by W.E Britten

Enjoy Loreena McKennitt’s haunting performance of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott.

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Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

Instrument Inspiration

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Incendiary Instruments

Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire

In my post of Sept 2, I wrote about Polynesian body ornamentation that was the inspiration for two of our new Luna ukes pictured above. I used this picture to showcase them because of the obvious juxtaposition of body and instrument ornamentation but I mostly used it because of my fascination with fire dancing. Have I mentioned that incendiary is my favorite word?

This post actually has nothing to do with ukes other than a lame attempt to tie in fire dancing. The element of fire has existed as a part of tribal dancing for ages. What we think of as firedancing is largely influenced by the Maori people of New Zealand (called poi) and more recently a Hawaiian tradition where the element of fire was added to a traditional knife dance. These two “fire poi” videos are among my favorites! They make me fantasize about having fireballs at the ends of my braids! Enjoy!

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

Peace,
Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

deep play
Instrument Inspiration

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Playing For Change

Playing for Change

Playing for Change

This is an amazing project, and their mission statement is so similar to the deeply held convictions of Luna Guitars:
From their website: www.playingforchange.com
“Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.”

Because of Playing for Change,
“Now, musicians from all over the world are brought together to perform benefit concerts that build music and art schools in communities that are in need of inspiration and hope. In addition to benefit concerts, the Playing for Change band also performs shows around the world. When audiences see and hear musicians who have traveled thousands of miles from their homes, united in purpose and chorus on one stage, everyone is touched by music’s unifying power.”

They have 5 stunning videos featuring over 100 musicians around the world with more in the works. Here is their first one that got the ball rolling, and one of my favorites. I have a fantasy of doing the same kind of project with Luna guitars being played by musicians from all parts of the planet! (any sponsors out there?) Enjoy!

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Peace,

Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

Personal Inspiration

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Luna’s Ukes & the Art of Polynesian Tattoo


In Luna’s tradition of using body ornamentation, we feature designs inspired by Hawaiian tattoos on our Tattoo ukes…..the Tattoo soprano pineapple, concert and tenor and the Honu soprano. Traditional Hawaiian designs were monochromatic, tattooed in black against brown skin. The patterns and layout were strongly geometric and there were many shapes and symbols which represented the natural island world: stones, waves, fish, sharks, turtles, rain, sun, birds.

The pineapple, concert and tenor TATTOO designs are primarily based on waves and sharks teeth which are also echoed as fret markers. The HONU soprano is based on a stylized Hawaiian turtle (honu), a symbol of longevity and endurance rendered in a Polynesian tattoo style. Fret markers on this instrument are also inspired by sharks teeth.

The traditional technique used to execute these tattoos is amazing! And looks amazingly painful! Well worth watching.

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Although styles vary from island to island, here are a few illustrations of traditional polynesian body ornamentation along with some contemporary interpretations.






peace,
yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

Instrument Inspiration

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Following the Elvis Dream

I cannot let August run out without marking a significant event. I met Elvis Presley in August of 1961…..48 years ago. At the time, I never guessed that I would end up designing guitars. I wish I could both rewind and fast forward my life at the same time so I could have presented the King of Rock with a Luna guitar!!!!!!!!!!

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

My girlfriend Jeannette was (is) the ultimate Elvis fan. Because I loved her, so was I. When Elvis was filming “Follow That Dream”, a 1962 musical filmed in Inglis and Yankeetown, Florida, it was the perfect opportunity for Jeanette to follow her own dream to meet Elvis. On Aug 8. 1961, we set out from Tampa with her mother Dorothy and her Italian Grandmother “Nana” in an ancient, powder blue 1952 Cadillac. It somehow took all day to drive 75 miles.

FollowThatDreamElvis-1

Dorothy, as always, was dressed like a Hollywood Goddess and Nana was her stately and imposing chaperone, parting the way like a lead ship parting the waters. Jeanette and I were both sailing behind dressed like preteen dorks…..me in bermuda shorts and top that I made in Home Economics, (with green rick rack trim adding insult to injury) , and Jeanette in an equally embarrassing gold bermuda shorts outfit.
Halfway there we stopped in a diner with a “Welcome Elvis” sign and were forced to gulp down our burgers under the threat of turning the Cadillac around and heading for home if we didn’t finish our food. When we were finally in Crystal River at the Port Paradise Motel where the crew was staying, Elvis stepped out of his 1961 white Cadillac after his Yankeetown shoot at precisely 6:45 PM. Jeanette kept a keen eye on her little wristwatch to mark the time that her Dream came true.

Jeanette asked Elvis to move next to me for a picture when she saw I was shyly standing in the shadow of his light, and this snapshot was taken after his face had moved down to kiss my cheek  and was on it’s way back up (thus the blur and the silly look on my face) My autograph book was clenched firmly under my arm, but I never had the nerve to ask him to sign it.

Yvonne and Elvis

Though I was there that day for my friend Jeanette, in retrospect, I realize I was in the presence of a seminal force who influenced many of my own heroes.

Paul McCartney declared Elvis Presley as one of significant influences behind The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ album. After the release of the 1967 record the band chose to stay at home rather than tour, and McCartney explained they got the idea from The King. “We had this idea that we’d make a record, and the record itself would go on tour for us,” McCartney told Rolling Stone. “That came from a story we’d heard about Elvis’ Cadillac going on tour. We though that was an amazing idea: He doesn’t go on tour, he just sends his Cadillac out. Fantastic!”

The day that he died, John Lennon, my all-time music hero, exclaimed, “Before Elvis, there was nothing” and so it was for the era of rock and roll music.

For those of you that have managed to read my entire nostalgic musings, I have one thing to say. “Thank you very much!” And don’t forget to “Follow Your Dream…..wherever that dream may lead!

Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

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(Yankeetown is known for it’s “no-see-ums”…it’s really amusing to watch him scratch himself throughout the song)

deep play

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