Irene Oleksiuk ~ Soul
Irene Oleksiuk ~ Soul

Originally published August 22, 2012.

At the time, I wrote:

I made a big mistake tonight. I started going back more pages than usual to find tonight’s {daily pic} and I kept coming across picture after picture, thinking “THAT should have been a daily. THIS should have been a daily. THAT should have been a daily!” … and so on. Such is the quality of work here. And then I thought, “This is why you used to do the {second look} feature, which many people loved.”

Well, I will bring that feature back, hopefully after the Indiegogo campaign ends. For now I am busy pounding the network, trying to get people to share it with their own networks (Hint Hint!). I really enjoy writing about the work here, when I have the time, so I look forward to when we can resume the {second look} feature again. (Editor’s note: it never happened. Sorry!)

Now, I love this picture. I have no idea how Irene did it. But it’s weird, sweet, and funny all at once, i.e., irresistible.

It’s late and I’m low on energy, so, as I often do when this is the case, I searched out a video to go with the picture. At first, I thought “Lady Grinning Soul” by David Bowie, one of his finest and most haunting ballads, from Aladdin Sane. But I think I already used that here some time back. Then I thought “Soul Kitchen” by the Doors, off their first album. No. Just wrong for this picture.

So I just looked at the picture and simply felt it and suddenly thought of a piece of music from forty-three years ago that used to make me feel the same way: “Witchi Tai To” by Everything Is Everything, which was pretty big hit in Hawaii in 1969, as was “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. For some reason, both songs charted much much higher in Hawaii, where my parents had shipped me to get me away from the revolution, the drugs, and the bad influences in Berkeley (but that is a story for another day), than the mainland USA. This song was written by a Native American jazzman, Jim Pepper, who was a member of Everything Is Everything when they recorded this single. He later recorded it on his own solo jazz album, which many consider to be the definitive version. I prefer this one.

John Lennon once remarked how he had always tried to write a song with a one note melody. These guys came pretty close. It is based on a traditional Native American peyote song, handed down to Jim Pepper by his grandfather, who was a “road man,” a peyote priest of the Native American Church. If I were peaking on peyote, I tell you this is the song I’d like to be singing when Mescalito made his appearance.

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no wah

Water Spirit feelin’ springin’ round my head
Makes me feel glad that I’m not dead