On New Year’s Eve 2017, it was frigid in Asheville. We had plans to go to a party at a friend’s place, and then to hop over to our friend Human’s show in town, but everything changed when we learned that cars were sliding off the road and traffic was awful. After we decided against trying to get out to Kevin’s place, we found out that the concert was also called off. Thankfully it was just postponed, so the following day we had a chance to go.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anyone to watch the kids, and it was kind of a late into the night kind of gig. Laura was feeling a little tired and suggested that I could just go by myself. I wished she could have come, but such is the plight of parents who don’t live in the same town as their parents.
I arrived a little late, missing the first act and showing up in the middle of the cacao ceremony that was going on. The event was being hosted by Silvermoon Chocolates, in coordination with NOHM, a local benefit corporation. I had not heard of either of these groups, but was very impressed with them when I got the download. Silvermoon Chocolates is a family business run by Aradhana and Truth-I, who also have a musical career as I,Star, a hybrid of conscious hip hop and folk music, which they call folk hop. NOHM is not easy to describe in just a few words. On their website they claim, "We are a social and consumer experience that gives participants an alternative to alcohol, processed food and drinks, digital dependence, and other substances while in an event setting." They go on to explain that they focus on:
The Principles of Permaculture
- Ethical sourcing and foraging practices
- Bioregional appropriate concepts
- Sustainable technology and application
- Local and seasonal plants and food
- Alchemy applied to food and cooking
- Building resilient and long lasting relationships with our local and global communities
- Collaborative Campaigning
- Upcycling and repurposing to build our mobile infrastructure
- Whole Systems Design
- Leave no trace
What a great idea. Jillian, who served us the cacao, briefly spoke about her experiences working with the medicine (cacao), and the great care that is taken in their sourcing of the magical bean, as well as in the preparation of the brew that is far more than just “hot chocolate.” Indeed, what was served to us was unlike anything I had ever tasted. It was so rich and nutty with incredibly complex flavors.
After the cacao ceremony we took some time to mingle while Human got set up. I enjoyed meeting a couple who had also recently moved out from Oregon. Their daughter was with them, and I learned that she had the same birthday as Gaia, though she was one year older. We discussed getting together to celebrate the next weekend, as their birthdays were coming up. I was also glad to see Jason there, whom I’d met before, and with whom I found I have a lot in common. We felt fairly sure that collaboration on a number of possible projects would be in order.
NOHM provided a beautiful array of healthy snacks at the bar, and Silvermoon Chocolates were also available for purchase. Silvermoon also follows a practice of ethical sourcing and conscious attention to processing, and their chocolates were absolutely divine. I had a nice snack and talked with some more folks until Human came on, and then it was time to dance.
Human played a great set, including songs like Breathe, 19 in 69, and Hill Folks Coal Song. He thanked us all for dancing, and he shared some interesting commentary about country music, and how it differed from rock music even though it’s structured much the same). He said that if you can get together and dance to each other’s music, you can overcome barriers of culture that often keep people separate.
It was great to hear Chad, whose daughter shared birthday with Gaia, accompanying Human on the mandolin. He and his wife Didi have known Human for years, and they too play lots of music together. In fact, they were the opening act that I missed that night, Coy Wolf. I wouldn’t get a taste of their style until the next weekend when we went over to their place for the joint birthday celebration, but I definitely had a feeling that they would be good friends for us.
After Human’s set, I-Star went on. Aradhana played the guitar and sang beautifully, while Truth-I did back up vocals, or, in some songs, rapped out some seriously inspired lyrics. Folk-hop indeed! I loved it! As a musician, I’m much more in the folk category, but, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I also have an affinity for hip-hop, and I thought that their blend of the styles was very well done.
They also played us a video they made for the internet promoting their chocolate business, which apparently was inspired by (and was at the same time a spoof of) some viral video called I can show you how to make lasagna or some such thing. Theirs was essentially "I Can Teach You How To Make Some Chocolate" (published under the title Healthy and Delicious Chocolate Recipe), which was a rap about how to make chocolate, and why to eat healthy, locally sourced foods and not support unethical chocolate industries or factory chocolates full of crap ingredients. It was both funny and informative, and musically speaking, it was pretty dang good for a spoof.
After I,Star an MC named Cosmic performed. He was quite good, with high speed, high consciousness raps. His sound was unique, and his songs varied from funny and absurd to deep and thought provoking.
The last performer of the night was Morphonic, a DJ who played my favorite kind of music to dance to. It’s hard to categorize it, though I suppose it would fall into the broad genre of electronic music. It was perfect for the kind of gathering we were at, with deep grooves and organic sounding compositions that made good use of real instrumentation with electronic rhythmic crescendos. I really wish there was a term for this kind of music, which I often think of as hippie electronic music, or neo-tribal electronic music. Perhaps there is, but I haven’t heard it expressed concisely.
The party probably went on quite late. Around twelve thirty I began to fade, so I said my goodbyes and headed home. I really wished Laura could have been there with me, as she would have loved it. I figured she’d meet Chad and Didi soon enough though, and Asheville is the kind of place where events like this one happen fairly often.
I still hope to get better plugged into the scene here in Asheville, though I’m stretched pretty thin between family, the need to make money, and my private pursuits of reading, writing, and maintaining Permagora. Still, things were progressing nicely, I thought, and many more good evenings like this one were sure to be ahead.