Playing Well with Others

From a Hanukkah children’s song to a traditional Abenaki greeting song. From a live performance in a Seattle bar to a crappy little TASCAM 4-track set up in a friend’s basement. From silly to contemplative… This is a collection of hand-picked collaborations (admittedly, a couple are unwitting thanks to magic of sampling).

Untitled Improvisation
From the cassette vault. Early to mid 90s. Still one of my favorite recordings.

Mark Oppenneer: keyboard, flute
Donovan Curry: percussion
Erik Rockom: bass guitar
Bryan McGriff: shaker

Release Me
From the cassette vault. In 1995, my friend Havilah asked me to lay some flute on a track or two for her demo. This track from that session. She included a full version of this song on her 1997 album “Superfarmhouse“.

Havilah Rand: music, lyrics, guitar, vocals
Mark Oppenneer: flute

Kitchen Sink
From the cassette vault. Recorded at Erik’s folk’s house I think. Perhaps in the mid 90s. Possibly, we were thinking about forming a band called Unit 6 because there was a hot local traffic news reporter who went by that handle. Could be that none of this is true. Yours, the Unreliable Narrator. Co-written by us.

Mark Oppenneer: piano
Erik Rockom: drums, bass, guitar

This song borrows about eight bars of drumming from Mickey Hart’s song Light Over Shadow with Moreira, Olatunji, Flora Purim from his album Planet Drum. I added percussion of my own and then tracked piano over it. Pretty sure this was recorded in the late 90’s.

Mark Oppenneer: piano, organ, percussion
Mickey Hart: sampled drum loop

Bert the Gardener
This song was to become part of my wife Becca’s second children’s music album (following up her 1995 Walk Around the Block). But then we became parents and life steered us down other paths. Co-written by us.

Mark Oppenneer: piano, percussion, vocals
Rebecca Golden: vocals

This Song
From the cassette vault… Since this song isn’t on the 1995 Salamander “Catalyst” album, I’d guess it was recorded sometime late 1995 to mid 1996. Recorded live, digitized from the cassette recording straight from the board. Written by Salamander

Ryan Link: drums, lead vocals, lyrics
Bennett Keasey: guitar
Brian Sullivan: guitar
Justin Cayou: bass guitar
Mark Oppenneer: flute

About the World
From the cassette vault. In 1993, Erik Rockom played guitar on my song Oil Spills & Daffodils. Sometime later, he used the chorus and added his own verses to create this version and called it About the World. Not quite a collaboration in the traditional sense, but close enough. I love the line “The ship of state sails through the straits with a drunken captain.” Timeless and timely.

Erik Rockom: all instruments & vocals, verses

Emmanuel, God Be With You
From Joe’s 1995 Global Pacific album “Holiday Reunion.” I played flute on a couple songs from that recording.

Joseph Rojo: piano, composition
Mark Oppenneer: flute

8 Days of Hanukkah
A family affair. Written by my wife, sung and produced by my brother-in-law (with additional vocal support by Josh’s son), performed by my wife, my two sons, and myself. Recorded in 2016 at Downright Studios in Atlanta.

Joshua Golden: lead vocals, audio production
Eli Golden: counting
Rebecca Golden Oppenneer: music & lyrics, backing vocals
Sawyer Oppenneer: flute
Tynan Oppenneer: xylophone
Mark Oppenneer: piano, bass

Abenaki Songs #1 and #2
Recorded live in 2007 at the Saratoga Native American Festival with Jesse Bruchac. Jesse is an Abenaki linguist and musician. The first tune is a variation on a traditional Abenaki greeting song, Gwa New Day. I don’t know the name of the second song.

Jesse Bruchac: flute
Mark Oppenneer: piano

Question Mark
Another song that was to become part of my wife Becca’s second children’s music album (following up her 1995 Walk Around the Block).

Rebecca Golden Oppenneer: vocals
Mark Oppenneer: music & lyrics, instruments

Format Radio
A curious blend of samples from Frank Zappa, Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin, and Salamander. I like the combination of Zappa saying, “Guess you only get one chance in life to play a song that goes like…” and Brian Sullivan playing the first lick on Supernova.

Mark Oppenneer: vocals, keyboards
excerpt from Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin’ song Grace
excerpt from Frank Zappa’s song Joe’s Garage (quoting Joe)
excerpt from Salamander’s song Supernova