Andy Eversole – Banjo Earth: India – Day 7 – Making Movie Making Moves

Day 7

Making Movie Making Moves
This was the first full day of having my videographer for the project, Mr. Paul Byun, on the scene. We made the most of a full day. Just to get him acclimated to the feel of New Delhi, we set out on foot to explore the neighborhood. Winding back through the alleys and byways of Vasant Kunj, our home base for the trip, it felt great to get the share the sights, smells, and realities with one of my friends. I love traveling alone. I also love traveling with a companion. Sharing the experience provides a rich and deep layer with which to build a better understanding.
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You can never forget that first taste of India
The first order of business in Delhi is learning how to walk around without getting run over by a rickshaw, car, or motorcycle. It requires constant heightened awareness and clarity, making good decisions on when and where to cross streets. The first few close calls can be harrowing, but once you get used to it, a graze by a bike or truck doesn’t even register on the radar. This phenomenon shows the amazing adaptability of the human sensibility.
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There’s so much going on in the streets of Delhi
After our neighborhood jaunt, we stop by the mall for some incredible chicken tandoori and some necessity shopping. Rice, noodles, soap, toilet paper, beer, cereal, yogurt, you know…the essentials. Walking around in the heat and dust, carrying handfuls of market items wears us out a bit, and an afternoon nap is in order. We’ve got a meeting later in downtown Delhi with a band who will be collaborating on the album, called Shorthand, and we need energy for our adventures.
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This chicken tandoori was so on point!
Our meeting with the band is set for Connaught Place, and old english style circle right in the center of Delhi. This place has a “Central Park” in the very middle, and two circular roads going around the perimeter. It is very touristy, very happening, and very beautiful. After a wild rickshaw ride, we arrive about 1 hour early and break out the banjo in public for the first time. The park is filled with people hanging out together, enjoying the Delhi evening.
There are several music get togethers happening around us. As we finish up with our session, we walk over to the steps where there is a group of young people playing guitar, singing, and beatboxing. This is a great example of how, no matter where you are in the world, music is such a foundation of life and existence. Singing, Dancing, communicating together crosses all bounds and cultures. It is one of the foundational things people care about across the world. There is a great female vocalist and two beatboxers who really catch my attention, so I get their Instagram info for some future Banjo Earth collaborations.
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Meeting new friends in the park
Going straight from there, we meet up with 2 of the band members from Shorthand. Their vocalist is out of the country, and their drummer sprained his ankle playing futbol the day before. So these two fellas were the band representatives for the evening. The conversation with them was so much fun. They were very cool, young, hip, thoughtful people. Just about to finish up their university studies, they are really excited about going full time with their band for a year or two to see what they can do. Pursuing the dream. Obviously I gave them lots of encouragement and advice from a seasoned dream follower. We talked about music, politics, culture, the ins and outs of Indian life, and the possibilities for the future. I love sharing my optimism and positivity for life and work with young people I come across. For many of them, that is the one key ingredient that seems to be missing. It gives me great pleasure to impart the science of mindset to young talented people. Really, when you think about it, what’s the alternative?
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Meeting with two members from the band Shortand
After this amazing meeting, we stop by a nearby bar for one last cool beverage before going home. It’s been a long day full of hard work and adventure, and a Kingfisher, the people’s beer of India, hits the spot and puts a nice finish on an awesome day. We catch a rickshaw ride out on the street, negotiate a decent fare, and zip through the Delhi night, feeling the cool wind on our faces. It’s times like these that feel like the universe is in perfect order, the world, imperfect as it is, is getting better, and my place in it vibrates with harmony. Namaste.

Andy Eversole – Banjo Earth: India – Day 6 – Searching the Human Library

Day 6

Searching The Human Library
Improvisation is one of the finest skills any human can learn. It doesn’t matter whether it’s music, language, socializing, survival, problem solving, cooking. Any and all of these require a hefty dose of improvisation. Seeing what’s not working, thinking of new ways to make it work, and adapting your approach and methods. Things rarely go as planned, and the best way to salvage a great outcome from shoddy circumstances is being adept at improvising.
This is what I have basically been trying to accomplish all day as far as gaining access to the internet. Honestly, I find going days without being connected to the webs rather refreshing. I am reading more, seeing more, thinking more, scrolling less. In many ways it is an advancement in consciousness. The only problem is that my work is becoming near impossible. It’s hard to realize how much we connect and communicate with one another until it’s gone. Much like we take our fingers and toes for granted until one of them is missing. I found that out the hard way recently when I chopped off the end of one of my most used banjo fingers. Hey, I was using that!
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Can I have my finger back now?
In any case, much of my day today was spent traveling around on foot in search of a solution to my connectivity problem. The international plan I have through my American carrier is pretty much limited to text and email. The problem then, lies in the fact that all the work I did previous to landing in India was connecting with musicians and artists through Instagram. This is an amazing platform that has allowed me to reach some wonderful people right here in New Delhi before I ever even arrived. However, when the two times I opened the app, I was hit with a $25 charge each time for going over my allotted data. This made the app pretty much unusable. Thus, my meetings and communications with Delhi musicians quickly became obsolete. I had to improvise.
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Time to improvise
I found a cafe, bought a latte, and gained access to the internet for one hour. This allowed me to gather my contacts, communicate with them, and send them over to my email, which was working. Right as the hour ran out, I received a message from “The Human Library” saying that we will meet today. But before we could set a time, my internet was gone. Thus. I headed down the road for a couple of miles and found another cafe, this one called “Cafe Connect”, which sounded like just what I needed. Here I ordered a strawberry lasse, which was delicious, and finalized the plans that we had been trying to make. We would meet at the “mall”, just outside of Pizza Hut at 6pm. Improvisation at work.
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Strawberry Lasse at Cafe Connect
On the way to the mall, a very crazy storm began to stir. I quickly noticed that storms in Delhi are a bit different. They carry with it the severity of dust and trash flying through the air at remarkable speeds. It’s almost as if everything in the city that had been swept under the rug was immediately airborne. It was quite the spectacle, but also a formidable obstacle to moving through space. In need of an improvised plan, I threw on my sunglasses, which made the dark darker, and pulled up my shirt as a scarf. As I reached the mall, I was covered in dust and who knows what else. It felt like what I could only imagine as a bad trip at Burning Man.
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Coming in From the Storm
In 20 minutes it would all be worth it, as Alok, aka “The Human Library” came into meet me. He is a poet and photographer who I found on Instagram and we instantly hit it off. He called his Mom to cook us up a homemade dinner and invited me over to his family’s house. There I chatted in candlelight with the sweetest family you could imagine. We sat down on the floor, crosslegged, and ate some amazing chicken curry fashioned by his mother’s hand. She sang a traditional Indian song for us, we talked about life and love, and all was joyful.
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Alok, aka The Human Library
Sometimes obstacles aren’t impediments in your way, but rather opportunities to enhance your skills of improvisation.

Andy Eversole – Banjo Earth: India – Music and Travel Vlog Ep.5 – A Ballet of Chaos

Support the project at https://andyeversole.com/be-india

 

Andy Eversole – Banjo Earth: India – Day 5 – A Ballet of Chaos

Day 5

A Ballet of Chaos
Do you ever have one of those days, one of those experiences, that afterward, you know you will never be the same again? It’s like crossing a threshold, gathering some life-altering information, seeing something that you can never erase from your mind. For me, that was today. The parts of New Delhi that I saw and experienced today will forever change the way I see and think about the world. I already know that words will be insufficient to describe what I saw and felt, but I will try nonetheless.
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Hitting’ the Streets
The day began with a venture out to find some food. I’ve been putting it off by snacking on the oatmeal that was available in the apartment. But three bowls later that had finally run it’s course, and it was time to become assimilated. I’m normally a pretty adventurous eater when traveling abroad. The Chinese and Thai street foods stands I’ve frequented have been nothing but delicious. It’s just that prior to my visit here to India, everyone has done their level best to relate all the horror stories they could muster. Tapeworm, Delhi Belly, toilet water soups, even the security guard checking my boarding pass in Atlanta gave me some dire warnings. Regardless, I have to eat, and my Banjo Earth budget doesn’t allot 5 star restaurants for every meal. So, here we go.
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My first plate of Indian street food

My first taste was a street stand just outside of a half empty mall. Inside was a KFC, but they weren’t open yet. So I just decided to jump in. I saw they were serving Naan bread with some other goodies, so I said I’ll have one of whatever that is. He fixed me up a plate, brushed off a swarm of flies, and I sat down for some vittles. The food was actually very good. A small helping of beans, naan bread, raw onions with a pepper, and some brown sauce for dipping. It was very spicy and very tasty. The main issue was keeping the flies off of me and my food. From what I’ve noticed, that is something you just get used to, and eventually stop swatting. But I’m a long way from that point.

 A few guys sat around, amused at the sight of me at their street stall, and were laughing and being friendly. There are no napkins, and everyone pretty much eats with their right hand (the left is reserved for other matters of the body). So there’s this interesting mix of finger licking, clothes wiping, and shaking hands. I guess we’re all just in this together!
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We’re all in this together
Happy to have some food in my belly, I finished up and went on my way to further explorations. I flagged a rickshaw, which here is a motorized open air cart/taxi, and told the driver I wanted to go to the Chattarpur subway station. After driving around a bit, and seeing some confusion on his face, we ended up at a Subway sandwich shop. I soon realized my folly. Here, it is universally known as the metro. I will not make that mistake again. Around the corner was an amazing temple complex, so I had him just drop me off there instead. inside I found some exquisite temples and statues.  I wondered into one of the main domes, which was a tribute to Kali, one of the Hindu gods. Inside I was welcomed with an anointment of a red dot on my third eye, along with a string bracelet that is for “very good luck” by the residing priest. It felt as though I was baptized in the Temple of Kali. She is the goddess, toting a multitude of severed heads, who rampages through the creation mercilessly destroying evil. I guess that works out well.
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Checking out Hunaman, the Monkey God, at the temple
After basking in the glow of my newly befriended deity, I head for the metro and find my way to Chandni Chowk, or Old Delhi. This is where things get really interesting. After navigating my way through some bazaars and tight alley markets, I find myself in one of the most beautifully chaotic scenes I’ve ever experienced. Motorcycles zooming through waves of people, horse drawn carriages carrying loads of goods, a cacophony of horns, street vendors selling everything from spices to peacock feathers, Hindi music blaring, mazes of electrical wires streaming overhead, and me. An hour walking through these streets felt like a lifetime and an instant. It was the most psychedelic experience of my life so far, and I’ve had a few. Mind melting, inspirational, confusing, discouraging, hopeful. I was transported through time into the distant past and the brave new future. This few blocks of city activity will forever change my view of life, humanity, myself. It was all I could do to wiggle out of this maze and make may way home.
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Ballet of Chaos
For awhile after, and still now, I find myself in somewhat of a daze. Speechless, numb, like the morning after the wildest night of your life. The only thing to do upon returning home was to find the nearest bed and pass out. I needed to put my mind back together. I felt like Humpty Dumpty after his fall. I was warned that India might do this to me. I had no idea it would happen so fast and in such a beautifully chaotic fashion. I can hardly wait to go again.
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Old Delhi will change you

Banjo Earth w/ Abigail James- Omie Wise

The Story of Little Omie Wise

by Andy Eversole

North Carolina is a treasure trove when it comes to myths, legends, and the aural traditions that tell them. Musical storytelling, the method of conveying historical events through song, is one of these aural traditions. Through music, the story, which is often a true historical event, is able to be passed on, from generation to generation, allowing history to live and breathe. One of my favorites of this genre, and North Carolina’s oldest murder ballad, is the sad tale of Omie Wise.

The story is told a couple different ways, and there are at least 2 completely different versions of the song, but here is the gist. Naomi was murdered by John Lewis in 1808 in Randolph County, North Carolina. She was an orphan girl, who was being raised by Squire William Adams and his wife Mary. John Lewis, who lived in Guilford County, would ride his horse to work in Randolph Co. at the beginning of each week, then back home for the weekend. Along his route was the Adams farm, where he would stop by and court the beautiful Omie. This apparently continued until she became pregnant.

Coming from a well-to-do family, John Lewis’s mother had plans for him to court another woman, Hettie Elliot, whose family was also in “high standing”. Rather than deal with an illegitimate child from an orphan girl, Lewis decided to murder Omie and dispose of her body in the Deep River, near Randleman, NC.

Once everyone noticed that Omie was missing, Mr. Adams gathered a search group and followed the horse tracks down the spring. There they found her beaten, pregnant body floating in the river. A woman later testified she heard screaming in that area the night of the murder.

John Lewis was found and brought to jail. Only one month later, he escaped and traveled to Kentucky, where he soon started a new family. Several men, including the Sheriff, were arrested for aiding John’s escape.

Word soon got back to Randolph County concerning John’s whereabouts, and they demanded he be returned and tried for his crimes. He was brought back to North Carolina from Kentucky, and remained in jail from 1811 until 1813 awaiting his trial. Despite overwhelming evidence and eye witnesses, when brought before the court he was only tried for escaping jail, and not for the murder of Naomi Wise. He was found guilty and spent 47 days in jail, after which, he was a freed and traveled back to Kentucky.

No one knows for sure who killed Omie, as there was never a confession. However, legend has it that John Lewis confessed to Omie’s murder on his deathbed. He died on April 25, 1817 of unknown causes.

Special Notes
*Naomi Wise is buried at Providence Friends Home, in Randleman, NC. You can actually visit her grave, which is nestled in a cemetary right across the road from the Church. As we filmed the video, we were told by a member of the Church that back then her burial was very controversial. Because of her circumstances in pregnancy out of wedlock, none of the churches wanted to accept her burial. Providence Friends Home, a Quaker meeting place, took her in, and there she rests to this day.

*In this case, the song, Little Omie, could have actually played a part in the arrest of John Lewis. It is said that someone became quite agitated as a musician played the ballad in a bar in Kentucky. After a little investigating, it was found that the overly disturbed man was John Lewis himself, and the incident was instrumental in bringing him back to North Carolina to face trial. I’m not sure if this part of the story is true, but it does add a wrinkle to the tale…

*I first heard the song played by the great Doc Watson, a legendary North Carolina musician. My version is based on his, but with different instrumentation. The Banjo Earth version features Abigail James on vocals and me on banjo. The video was filmed in the graveyard where Omie is buried, and in the exact location of the Deep River where she is said to have been found.

Banjo Earth w/ Abigail James – Omie Wise
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzRYdTEb_2I

-sources found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omie_Wise
-historical consulting by David Long