Posts Tagged ‘Michael Sternfeld’

Sunshine Superman Donovan is a Very Mellow Fellow, a Hurdy Gurdy Man with Loving Vibes

September 9, 2016

DONOVAN was here over Labor Day Weekend. He played two concerts Sunday night during Fairfest 2016, Fairfield, Iowa’s Roots Music Festival. The first was a fundraiser for Maharishi University’s Global Scholarship Fund at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center‘s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts, and the second was with Bonnie Paine and friends to close out the 3-day musical event on the Main Stage outside. Donovan had never played back-to-back performances like that, but it turned out very well.

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After arriving and having lunch, Donovan met the band at the Sondheim theater and went to work rehearsing with them. It was impressive! They consisted of Elephant Revival’s singer Bonnie Paine (percussion), and two from her group, top to bottom: Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo) and Dango Rose (bass), joined by Arthur Lee Land of Great American Taxi (guitar), and Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth (violin, organ).

The MUM concert in the Sondheim was special and intimate, filled mostly with meditators. Donovan then joined the band on the Main Stage after their performance. In both the rehearsal and the concert, Donovan encouraged each one of the musicians playing his songs. They all really enjoyed themselves, as did the audience, and drew the largest crowd of the 3-day event! See video clips below. After the concert, Donovan invited them back to his Green Room to share stories about the music business. What a magical treat for them all!!! Producer Michael Sternfeld took the group photo, choreographed by Donovan.

Donovan Day in LA

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Thank you Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councillor Koretz of City Hall Los Angeles for this singular honor to mark the Fiftieth Birthday of my song SUNSHINE SUPERMAN reaching number one on the Billboard Top 100. A love song for Linda yes, but also when we met we both knew we were on the same journey to raise awareness of a higher consciousness for the future generations. We are still on that journey. Come to my 21 city SUNSHINE SUPERMAN AMERICAN TOUR and share this birthday with me. — Donovan

New addition: Donovan Presentation–LA City Council Meeting.

Some News Coverage

Donovan left Fairfield early Tuesday morning to continue the American wing of his “Sunshine Superman” Tour, which was unofficially launched at East Hampton, Donovan: Flower-Power Icon of Change, then officially on Good Day LA, which discussed Donovan Day in LA. That night he performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, who said Donovan’s tour was starting in Fairfield, Iowa! After his performance, Jimmy whispered in Donovan’s ear that his interview with Howard Stern was the best ever. Fox News Video also posted this clip: Donovan shows no sign of slowing down.

Billboard later published: Donovan Reflects on ‘Sunshine Superman’ 50th Anniversary, Hanging With The Beatles & Jimmy Page, Flower-Power Era. And then this news, which is so appropriate: Donovan to Be Honored With John Lennon Real Love Award at Tribute Concert. “Donovan is a beautiful soul who was positively influenced by John,” Yoko Ono said in a statement. Read how this came about in this fascinating billboard article.

It’s interesting that Donovan will receive this award in John Lennon’s name. Donovan also had a positive influence on John when the Beatles were with Maharishi in India. John had asked Donovan to show him how he played his guitar. Donovan said it was the claw hammer style he had learned from another musician. It was based on a banjo-picking style converted to guitar.

In a way, it came full circle for John, since his mother, Julia, had taught him how to play chords on a banjo she had given him before he picked up the guitar. John wrote Julia and Dear Prudence using that style. Paul picked it up his way and wrote Mother Nature’s Child and Black Bird. George Harrison said Donovan was all over The Beatles White Album. Donovan mentions all this and more in a Rolling Stone interview (April 19, 2012) after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Watch the video: Donovan: On teaching guitar technique to Beatles.

Fairfield News Coverage

Some regional articles came out to promote the event. The Iowa Source published an article by Michael Sternfeld: Donovan: Sunshine Superman. Michael Braunstein wrote a very interesting article for The Reader in Omaha. Musician and journalist Bob Saar, who has covered David Lynch Weekends and MUM Commencements, wrote a great article for The Hawk Eye: Donovan to perform at FAIRfest 2016. Iowa City’s Little Village’s Arts Editor Genevieve Heinrich published: Musician Donovan Leitch talks legacy of ‘Sunshine Superman’ and importance of Transcendental Meditation, and showed up for the concert with her family. Mark Newman from the Ottumwa Courier dropped by during rehearsal: Donovan performance mends Fairfield hearts. Mark surprised me with a mention, helping Donovan set up.

Highlights of FairFest Roots Music Festival

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Werner Elmker posted this photo of Donovan from the solo concert, and these Fairfest 2016 Highlights of Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, which contains excerpts from Donovan’s Sondheim and Main Stage concerts.

Professional photographer Kim Green came down from Cedar Rapids and posted a slideshow: Fairfest ~ Labor Day weekend 2016 – Prairie Moon Media- An eclectic mix.

Andy Hayward posted clips from both shows of Donovan at FAIRfest ’16.

FairfieldRocksMe posted these videos:

Fairfield Celebrates Donovan

A Labor Day lunch was hosted by Mayor Ed and Vicki Malloy. Some guests brought their Donovan records and posters for him to sign, and took pictures. In attendance were Bevan Morris, John and Kara Hagelin, and other leading members of the Fairfield/MUM community.

After lunch, Donovan regaled us with stories from Rishikesh, India at Maharishi’s ashram with the Beatles, Mike Love, Prudence Farrow, and others. He told us stories of his times with Maharishi, and a vivid dream he had of him, a week before coming here for the America wing of his 50th anniversary tour.

Donovan then asked me to share the story of what Maharishi had said about him. When I was with Maharishi at Lake Louise, one of my course mates had asked Maharishi about George Harrison and Donovan. About Donovan, Maharishi said he was the most sensitive boy he had ever met.

A few months before he was to join the Beatles and the others in India, Donovan said he was interviewed by John Carpenter for Rolling Stone’s premier issue, (1st and 2nd issues, Nov 9 & 23, 1967). In Part 1, he made a statement that summarized his approach to music: “There’s only one thing in the end, and that’s singing truth in a pleasant way.”

Carpenter asked him about composing, performing, his phenomenal success, and his very recent meeting with Maharishi who had taught him how to meditate. He describes that experience towards the end of Part 2: You just spent three days with Maharishi in Los Angeles. What’s he like?

Read more posts on Donovan here. If you can, see him in concert this time around. Check Donovan’s website for a list of concert dates and locations.

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After his last interview for A Fairfield Documentary, a few of us had our picture taken with Donovan. He directed the photo shoot, taken by Werner Elmker. From the tallest to the shortest: Michael Sternfeld, who produced the Sondheim Concert, Bill Goldstein, who introduced the MUM International scholarship students, Donovan, and myself, Ken Chawkin. (Click photo to enlarge it.)

I must say, of all the times I’ve interacted with Donovan over the years, I found him to be most generous and patient with his time and energy while interacting with everyone. Not much ego there, but a very sensitive loving soul, who was kissed by the lord and filled with song to wear his love like heaven. He truly is an evolved Hurdy Gurdy Man, a gift of a rare flower to our garden! Looking forward to seeing him in Fairfield again, next time with his lovely wife Linda.

Update (March 7, 2019): Last year, January 11, 2018, Donovan sent us a link to his interview with Mike Greenblatt for Goldmine Magazine, which had come out the day before: Donovan: Psychedelia’s Poet Laureate. In it he tells the story of how he met the Beatles, shared songwriting with Paul, his spiritual friendship with George, his learning TM from Maharishi, and their trip to India to learn more. And the rest is history, our history!

Beach Boys concert ‘fun, fun, fun’ for all

September 8, 2009

Beach Boys concert ‘fun, fun, fun’ for all

 

By BOB SAAR for The Hawk Eye

 

Published online: 9/8/2009

You might guess a band almost half a century old would be populated with superannuated blokes of yore.

Ah, but there are no old guys in the Beach Boys.

There were a lot of “old” baby boomer fans in the audience during Monday’s outdoor concert at Fairfield Middle School, but they were as uninhibited as any bunch of today’s teenagers ogling the Jonas Brothers.

The Beach Boys, centered around originals Mike Love and Bruce Johnston, included lead guitarist and music director Scott Totten, keyboardist Tim Bonhomme, Randell Kirsch on bass, guitarist Christian Love — son of Mike Love — and John Cowsill on drums.

You remember the Cowsills. Sure you do — that family band with the hit “Hair.”

Cowsill provided perfect surf drums for the two-hour concert, keeping many of the more than 4,000 concertgoers up and prancing the entire time. Those “old” folks did the Pony, the Swim, the Shimmy — long-forgotten go-go dances called up from collective memory by the jungle beat of surf music.

Kirsch, who has the daunting job of covering Beach Boy guru Brian Wilson’s high parts, relishes his spot.

“That’s the funnest job in the band,” he said.

Iowa band The Nadas provided the walk-in music with a solid set of roots rock.

“They were spot on awesome,” Iowa City musician Jason Bolinger said.

The main show began when Fairfield Mayor Ed Malloy lauded Love with a proclamation, introducing the 68-year-old singer as “Fairfield’s Energy Czar Emperor.” The concert was a benefit for the David Lynch Foundation and the Fairfield Arts and Convention Center, as well as a kickoff for Fairfield’s new Green Sustainability Plan aimed at energy conservation.

Love practices transcendental meditation at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. MUM was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; the TM master was popular in the ’60s with the Beach Boys, the Beatles and other music and movie stars.

“Little Honda” got things up and running. At least a few aging Boomers recalled that the song is about motorcycles, not cars.

The vocals took a few songs to loosen up to the point of being totally tuned in and running smoothly, and that was OK — after all, the original band didn’t always hit all eight cylinders in concert.

And it was good and swell that this band didn’t do a clone routine, a “Mike Love Karaoke Hour.” They did all Beach Boy hits — my, those boys had a lot of hit singles — and they were the Beach Boys, without the Wilson boys, sure, but a real band, not some broken-down fossil staggering around the stage with the rights to a band name and a cadre of grungy sidemen to prop him up.

“Barbara Ann,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “California Girls,” “Surfer Girl,” “Sloop John B.” The concert list was seemingly endless.

“Wouldn’t it be nice” was quite nice: “We could be happy,” the band sang, and the crowd sang with them, extremely happy to be there on a storybook Indian summer day in Iowa.

Johnston’s lead vocals, especially on “Do You Wanna Dance?” were as clean and pure as any 25-year-old crooner touring today.

“Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “Good Vibrations,” God Only Knows.”

Children frolicked with their elders. Beach balls careened in the sky. Souls soared. People grew younger with each new tune.

A hotrod medley, of course: “Little Deuce Coupe,” “Shut Down,” “I Get Around” — one of surfdom’s best angsty laments — and “409.”

The old people knew the song referred to Chevy’s 409 cubic inch V8 engine coveted by hotrodders of the era. It is not known how many youngsters present wondered why this legendary group was singing about bathroom cleaning products.

The encore was not begged; everyone knew what was coming: “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

All had fun yesterday in Fairfield, all but the police, who had nothing more to do than direct traffic for the polite, smiling concertgoers.

“No fun for me today,” one Jefferson County deputy said. “I gotta work.”

Lynch Foundation Media Relations Director Ken Chawkin said the show was special for the band’s TM enthusiasts, especially Love.

“This must be a huge thrill for Mike, because he’s been coming here for years to meditate and take rejuvenation treatments,” Chawkin said of Love.

Perhaps that explains why there are no old guys in the Beach Boys.

Love was not too worn out afterward to echo the enthusiasm of the well-wishers who surrounded him backstage.

“I think it’s great here in Iowa,” he said. “This place is really special.”

The event producer for the David Lynch Foundation, Michael Sternfeld, was as upbeat as everyone else at the end of the show.

“There’s something about the audiences at Fairfield. … There’s something special here,” he said. “This was the ultimate experience. In terms of energy, we just nailed it.” He stopped to smile up into the blue. “We created serious good vibrations.”

Yeah, man. Good vibes and a whole lot of fun.

http://www.thehawkeye.com/story/beachboys-090809


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