By Hollis Taylor
If you know Bright Hawk either by the fire, in spiritual community, as a musician, or in a facility you know that she holds a special talent in bringing people together. Bright Hawk’s work with Let’s Dance has lead her to tremendous growth in a way that is beyond words and sentences on your screen. I find her tremendous talent as a storyteller best shown when she combines it with her delightful abilities with the handpan. Here is her most recent video including a performance with the “Women of the World” as well as pieces of her “Dancing Happy Hippo Storytime Adventure” that can help you understand this dynamic being of peace and light. Her delightful smile and amazing talent of the handpan combined with her shiny personality and inspirational messages take her to gatherings around the world. Festivals all over the world delight in Bright Hawk’s presence at their events as well as libraries, schools, and other family based events.
Never before seen! Amazing Storyteller Handpan Player! Adventure Stories about Traveling and Bright Hawk’s very own creative stories for children of all ages. We invite you to WATCH FREE with these videos or DOWNLOAD THIS VIDEO FOR CHILDREN OF ALL AGES!
Furthermore, notice how Bright Hawk’s stories bring communities together, over and over again. Inspired by Bright Hawk’s stories and hand pan music many communities experience great inspiration by her presence.
Bright Hawk also has been playing the African Drum, Djembe for over 20 years. Many would first notice her amazing abilities rhythmically and honor her for her profound experience with both beginners and professionals alike! Here she is featured with the group “Women of the World”.
Open Mic – the community gathers! The anxiety in the room heightens as the group of new musicians gather to support each other and take their moment in the spotlight. There are several open mic events in Denver, every night, all over the city. Tonight, we are visiting Swallow Hill Music – Open Stage.
Swallow Hill is a gathering spot for musicians in Denver, CO. They provide space for classes, concerts and community music gatherings. Often Bright Hawk attends this open stage and has been featured as the “Best of” open stage. Once a month they have an open stage and they choose several people from the open stage that are considered the “best” to be featured at a special concert the following the month. Providing more space for the community to not only connet in community but also to lift each other up. Sharing audiences helps all in attendance to develop as musicians. We can lift each other up and celebrate our diversity. Swallow Hill Music certainly has the feel of not only professional musicians but also the community of people that celebrate music.
Bright Hawk plays the hand pan in a way that is different than most other hand pan players. Her background in percussion, music and African music shows through in her diversity and talents. The instrument, the Hang PANArt, is a very unique instrument but is normally played for only atmospheric music, until Bright Hawk.
Bringing her instrument to the stage brings immediate interest as usual. Everyone has questions about how to get one and where it comes from. The instrument is interesting and the sounds it provides for music enthusiasts is uniquely interesting. The sounds are compared to many other instruments such as the harp and even an orchestra! Some people have even insisted there is something inside of it, really underneath in that big hole. Others want to know how to get one or where they can get it. The instrument in itself gets tons of attention.
Once you get past the initial fascination with the instrument you are moved by the smiling Hang PANArtist and amazing talent of the Percussionist Bright Hawk. Her 20 years experience and lifetime of music study shows through in her compositions. Songs that begin and end in a way that feels like she took you on a journey. A journey with an instrument tuned in F that inspires happy and joyful feelings. She does two songs at the open mic that are upbeat and fun. One song with a little visualization about traveling and honoring those that have come before us. Then we are reminded of where the original Americans came from with a fun Irish Story and music that inspires community and hospitality.
By Hollis Taylor
A story! A story! Bright Hawk is a storyteller that crosses the lines between children, young adults, families, and even the elderly. Her ability to capture her audience in a way that transcends age, cultures, and even belief systems. Her original story “The Dancing Happy Hippo” is one of those age old tales that any audience can enjoy. The story unfolds in a way that helps us fall in love with the main character, Mvuu. The magic is certainly ever present in this story!
The most creative manifestation of the story unfolds when she tells it live, with the Hang PANArt. The Hang, one of the original hand pans, brings an atmosphere type of feeling to the entire story. The story is unfolded verbally with Bright Hawk’s animated mannerisms combined with her emotional tones. When she gets the audience to participate we find ourselves as emotionally involved as the teller. She takes us for an emotional journey with the Hippo in a way that we all forget that she is a Hippo, until Bright Hawk teaches us Hippo sounds! Then laughter takes over the audience that delights most of us. The deep bliss the hippo experiences is remininse to many “trance dancers” since Bright Hawk uses those words when she describes the Hippo’s experience. This immediately helps the 20-40 somethings to identify with the “Trance dance” experience. Young children identify with the animals and love the participartory parts of the story. Bright Hawk’s wise lessons about being authentic and following our bliss gets adults and the elderly on board to support this amazing storyteller. Her delivery of the story with the instrument makes it so unique that almost anyone just walking bye is likely to stop and listen in. The instrument is not only atmospheric but she even has little songs that helps us feel that part of the emotional story. We can feel the struggle, the suprise, and the wisdom is delivered in many of the lyrics for the songs. The songs have catchy chorus that the audience is immediately inspired to sing along.
Bright Hawk’s storytelling has evolved into something uniquely refreshing. Her ablity to not only make music but also tell a little story around her music brings her into a type of storytelling we rarely see. Many storytellers have music put behind them. Bright Hawk’s amazing storytelling talents can easily hold a crowd without the music and often at festivals she will mix a few songs between her stories. Just recently she developed her story with songs and music to go with it. She is working on developing more of her stories this way. Her talents are already celebrated among communities all over the country including at Rights Of Spring in Massachusettes. This yearly festival features her for familys and youth festival attendees. She has developed as a storyteller with the support of this community. Currently, in the works, is a DVD of Bright Hawk telling her story as a fundraiser to publish her original story into a book. We are still in the filming process but the excitement builds as we approach a dream come true for Bright Hawk. Bright Hawk is currently available for live concerts and storytelling events. The diversity in which she can entertain is vast and she is excited to continue to develop her stories with music of the Hang PANArt.
Here’s a video from one of her Live Performances at Rights of Spring. Follow this blog to get announcements about the DVD of her original story – “The Dancing Happy Hippo”
By Hollis Taylor
Open Mics are a service to the creative community! We visit them while we build Bright Hawk as a solo musician in order to network and promote upcoming concerts. Recently I was turned on to a new place in Denver for an Open Mic. Since I am always looking for places for Bright Hawk to get exposure and places to meet other artists, I asked her to take part in the open mic at Brik on York. I could tell by the website that this place was going to be unique.
Upon arrival I was comforted by the casual setting. This industrial style venue resembled many other new food places that also serve craft beers and wines in Denver. This place had a bit more style though in the art they held on the walls. The art, with closer inspection, was from high schoolers. So now the Brik has pulled on my value strings, creating space for artistic expression for youth is a great thing to do, most of us would agree. When I came in there was a film screening ending, yet another creative form of entertainment. As I looked around I noticed that Brik on York was becoming a space for artists to show their true colors, including the young and less experienced. The open mic is yet another way…
When it was time to sign up the owner was plugged in enough to his venue that he could create a line up that would celebrate everyone. The show was opened by a band of young people including the owner on percussion. Its always great to see when people come together to play music and cooperate. There was a bit of a jam session that was just right to bring shy artists out of their shell. It can be intimidating to get on stage and perform in front of people, even if you have practiced every day and you been told a million times your good. It takes practice and confidence to get on stage again and again….often what is before can help sooth nerves. Then someone else has taken a risk as well. I have experienced this myself as a performer although it does get easier the more you do it.
We were blessed some good acoustic guitar players and then interestingly a spoken word artist did an improv type performance. The artist asked for 3 words from the audience after words like kitten and apple she managed to work the words in a way that sounded inspirational. As if they were the center of us all. Really well done. Bright Hawk took stage with her amazing instrument, the Hang PANArt. The unusual style of the instrument always gets initial interest but she has a way of keeping people past that curious moment, without diminishing the curiosity. Her style is most unusual and she can easily talk and play the instrument, or at least it looks easy! She uses the insrument to create music but also as sound effects and background to her Storytelling. The instrument is so diverse that it gives her freedom to create variety in sound and rhythms from song to song. Showing her diversity Bright Hawl delivered a fun Irish Story along with her song “Dance of the Fae” and then showed her impressive skills by playing both sides of the instrument at the same time. To keep two hands doing two different sides at the same time to create a song is a special talent. Her ability to balance the Hang in between her legs is impressive and unique – even having a story to go along with this song. Feels like a lullabye and takes many of us back to gentle imaginative days of our youngest years.
She closed her set showing even more diversity by singing along to a fun upbeat song that tends to get everyone singing and dancing. Seven Generations her original composition for this age old value. Showing how we are all connected through her music she rocks us into a community song that helps us all know just how siginificant we each are, regardless of age. Her fun attitude and upbeat rhythms bring a strong feeling of unity to the song overall. Most of us feel experience a sense of humanity as a result of this uplifting song.
Overall I was grateful to have tried the Open Mic out, maybe we can make it next week! Thank you Brik on York for supporting artists and keep up the good work!
By Hollis Taylor
Tired of the same old thing? Need something positive and upbeat? When I am looking for a live music show to see I want something that’s gonna help me lift my mood. I love music and find that I am deeply effected by the mood of the music. Sometimes I need space to scream and yell to some crazy angry song, this way I can move past those emotions. Most of the time though I am in need of soothing, comforting, positive and upbeat music.
Bright Hawk was invited back to the Laughing Goat for a concert in February 2016. She was blessed enough to follow an amazing couple Marcel & Janelle. “Michigan-formed, Denver-based duo Marcel & Janelle offer a fresh mix of IndieSoul music with a positive vibe, entertaining show & original tunes” This statement from their website is a perfect description! Marcel’s talent to create romantic mood music with his electric guitar was impressive & I have witnessed some of the best in person! I loved his style, talent, and use of technology but was mostly impressed at his super positive attitude. Janelle’s voice was electrifying to the soul! The lyrics were original compositions and I found myself impressed at their style. My favorite part though was the romantic feel to the entire show. Celebrating their love for each other fills my heart for my own personal love life. This show would be highly recommended for that special date with a new lover or a long time spouse.
Bright Hawk followed them up with some of her best original compositions! The Hang PANArt is known for its soothing vibrations. When Bright Hawk plays it, its like sinking into your most comfortable chair. The interesting and unique sounds keep it fun to listen to. Her intricate rhythms communicate the mood for the song. All of her songs on the Hang PANArt are original compositions. One song she plays on both the underneath and the top of the instrument in a way that is impressive to watch. Having the ability to keep a back rhythm with one hand and create melodic rhythms with the other. This composition she calls “Singing with Whales”. It easily communicates the gentle rocking of being in water, the soothing sensation of water is brought to life through the Hang PANArt. Her unique playing style and talents as a percussionist are impressive and inspiring on this unique and fantastic instrument.
Bright Hawk delivered small stories and tales to go along with her compositions. The audience was impressed not only with this unique instrument and her obvious skills, but of the depth her stories helped us connect to her music. Her short stories tied into where or why she composed each song. Her stories included those of loss and sadness but also of joy, celebration and even a fun Irish song/story. One of her little stories tells of when she was a child and use to fantasize about swimming with whales. A wild childhood fantasy that most of us could relate to. The stories helped set up the tone for each song, using the music to enhance the story and visa/versa. This style is like that of a folk or country singer that has stories in their music, but they usually use as string instrument. Bright Hawk uses what she calls a “Spaceship”.
Her concert was filled with tons of music, upbeat energy, and positive messages. I felt inspired and uplifted by the time the show was over. I noticed that the audience felt the same way and many people were inspired to spread love in our world. At this time the only way to experience this extra special musical storytelling journey is to catch a live show with Bright Hawk. Keep up with her schedule by subscribing to this blog or social media of your choice.