JOMAMA JONES Our shows are acts of presence. Call and response. Part happening. Part revival. A whole lot of risk. Even more curiosity. Where we are and who we’re playing with - and playing for - will be woven into the DNA of the experience from the outset. What we know already is just our point of departure. What’s unknown makes the show exciting. We let go of our assumptions and welcome the electric present moment. We start with the songs that Bobby and I have recorded on LONE STAR (2010), RADIATE (2011) and the forthcoming SIX WAYS HOME (2012). We pick our set list, conscious of the questions of the day and of the overall composition we want to make. It’s very important that we be able to adjust the choices and the sequence in order to be truthful to the experience of a place or a moment. (The majority we’ve written together. Two are by Grisha Coleman. Sharon Bridgforth, Rhonda Ross and Amy Hunt lent hands with lyrics for four others.)
• ENDLESS SUMMERTIME • JOMAMASONG • DOWN DOWN DOWN • LONE STAR • OPEN • UNINVITED GUEST • SHOW PONY • LILAC TREE • ROOTS IN THE RIVER • THE MERMAID • SUNBEAM • EVERYWHERE • DARK MATTER • OUT OF TIME • EUREKA • THE GREEN ONE • RINGS OF SATURN • LESS OF YOU • SIRIUS • THE WORLD • SPRING COME EARLY • SUNFLOWER • RADIATE • PRETTY • RIVER •UNKNOWN • BONES • SUPERNOVA • SOUL UPRISING • We rehearse until we know it all like the backs of our hands. Then we let go. We dare ourselves to leap. One rule guides us:
IF WE EXPAND OUR SENSE OF WHO WE ARE WE CAN EXPAND OUR SENSE OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE IN OUR WORLD.
My stories… my wild success in the early 1980s… my discouragement as a result of the limits I encountered… my choice to leave the USA… my adventures around the world… my inner transformation… my choice to return… my stories form the spine of the show. I pick the stories to share in order to get the room moving in rhythm between the elevated tones of the songs themselves and the very real flesh and blood world of the room we’re all in together. The alchemy comes when I invite the testimony of the people into the mix…! Our stories…
Jomama entertains with joyous, infectious abandon that provokes the audience to shout their approval at the end of each song and to join in the clapping and the moving and grooving while she sings. Jomama is also a woman with a mission; her patter delivers hope and social faith that Jones carries off without sanctimony or excessive sentiment… It’s impossible not to be affected by Jomama’s example. She radiates the love and hope she wishes for us all. - Jill Dolan
Welcome. Welcome. We always ask somebody who is an integral part of the communities we visit to be the one to welcome people to the show. They help kick the energies up! They let everyone know from the outset that their presence is integral. It’s always fun when the foot stomping and testimonies get going straight away!!!
JOMAMA JONES ENDLESS SUMMER LIVE! SYMPHONY SPACE 2011
RHONDA ROSS GOOD EVENING EVERYONE! My name is Rhonda Ross and I welcome you to an amazing evening tonight. Feeling good? You're looking good. Everyone looks like they are in their own skins, wearing their own hair (smile) just feeling all good about themselves. I love that. And that's exactly what Jomama Jones is all about so sit back and enjoy the ride. But before we get started, I want everyone in the audience to please take out that postcard that came in your program. I want you to fill it out. It will hold its place later in the show. But it's really important that you fill it out. Right now, just the first answer that comes to mind. Something that would ease your way. So I'm here to introduce Jomama Jones tonight. I met Jomama Jones in the Seventies. I was still a little girl and she was still figuring out how she was gonna walk through this world. As many of you know, I grew up in show business, I grew up backstage at my mother's shows. And one night, Jomama Jones came back there to meet her. And it was really an amazing moment for me because I was told that this up and coming singer songwriter was about to make a really big splash in the industry. She was gonna come back and have a heart to heart with my mother. They told me that she was writing things and saying things that nobody else was doing in the industry at that time. So I got to be a fly on the wall. I listened to my mother and Jomama talk about work, and talk about art and success and how to handle it. And I remember in particular that Jomama was talking about what it meant to stand on her own, to really live in her own integrity. She was talking about loving herself and being herself and wondering what that was going to mean in her life and in her career. And I specifically remember her talking about two of the songs that my mother always does in all of her shows. God Bless The Child (That's Got His Own) and Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand). And it was as if at that early time in her career she already understood that just being the uniqueness of yourself could help bring everybody together. So by the 80s, which we all know, cause that's why we're all here, Jomama Jones was a huge hit. She was at the top of the charts with hits like Electrify and Afromatic - you remember Afromatic - was that hot?? And Ghetto in My Mind. And she was on the cover of Jet and Essence and Rock and Soul and I still watch her performances, granted they're on VHS Tape, but I still watch her performances on Soul Train and Solid Gold do you remember the one on Solid Gold? That was awesome... See, nothing beats that... That's why I keep my VCR. And then there came that time when the record industry tried to shut her down. And she refused to buckle under the pressure and so she left. She left the country and we were all left wondering if we were ever going to see her perform again. But that all changed last January. When her albums Lone Star and the followup album Radiate came out. It was really an artistic rebirth. And tonight, she's back, y'all. Starlight, Starbright, Wish I may, Wish I might hear our Lone Star sing tonight... Say "Yeah!" Say "Oh, Yeah!" Put your hands together for Bobby Halvorson, The Sweet Peaches and my friend Jomama Jones...
We begin before we begin – we ask people to meditate on something and write it down on postcards. The content will become important later in the show. For RADIATE we asked people to write down something they WISH for. Anonymously. These cards were collected… For ENDLESS SUMMER LIVE! we asked folks to answer the query “Name a random act of kindness that a stranger could perform that would ease your way.” There are many spaces of interaction in the show – but these, unbeknownst to the audience members, will allow them a much more personal connection later in the show, without making them feel exposed in a way that would be counterproductive.
To give you a sense of the structure of a whole JOMAMA JONES show, we present to you the transcription of a performance of RADIATEâ€Ś
“Radiate” glows, making it hard not to surrender to this sequin-encrusted earth mother’s soulful embrace. Critics’ Pick! – New York Times Fabulous… she has people literally climbing over the rows in front of them to dance with her onstage… The main draw [is] Jones’s wit and insight, and her clear vision of a world where people join together to celebrate what makes them each unique. - The New Yorker Critics’ Pick! Jomama Jones is back! Entertaining…heartfelt…delicious” - Backstage The feel good show of the year… From the moment that Jomama takes the stage, there’s an undeniable lightness in the air. - Theatermania
JOMAMA JONES RADIATE
A true theatrical original. - Backstage Created and Performed by DANIEL ALEXANDER JONES with Musical Direction by BOBBY HALVORSON and featuring SONJA PERRYMAN and HELGA DAVIS with JING XU, TED CRUZ, SEAN DIXON, KELLY ROSSUM and MICHAEL O’BRIEN Original Direction for the Stage by KYM MOORE Design by OANA BOTEZ BAN, LUCRECIA BRICENO, ARNULFO MALDONADO and NICK KOURTIDES Produced by SOHO REP in association with NEW DRAMATISTS’ FULL STAGE PROGRAM
While each of Jomama's albums is meritorious, Radiate is arguably her best. It is a deeply personal album that finds Jomama greeting new muses and visiting different soundscapes while retaining the accessibility of her previous work. - Christian John Wikane
A gleaming white space extends from the back of the room out into the house. A shimmering circular curtain hangs above a raised gleaming white platform. It should feel as though a spaceship has landed and welcomed you onboard. Saturated colors wash over the walls and permeate the curtain as need be. Jing has greeted everyone personally in the lobby as they entered. Now, with everyone tucked in, she steps down the stairs and the light shifts…
JING We know the deal. When you wish you have to move your feet. Sell cookies, mow a lawn, do a dance on the subway for a dime or a quarter. Do what you gotta do. 'Cause on Friday the record store gets the new Jomama Jones album, and we will be there! Carry it home, shut the door, peel off the plastic. Slip the sleeve from the cover, smell the fresh ink, run eyes over lyrics. Slip the record from the sleeve, onto the turntable, pull the switch... And as the needle hits the groove... stare into her eyes and make a wish... Oh, yeah! Now, it's surely another time. It's a very different world. Is there space for stardust? Do we dare to wish? Wish I may, wish I might hear that Lone Star sing tonight! If you want Jomama to come home tonight - say "yeah!" "Yeah!" If you want Jomama to come home tonight - say "Oh, yeah!!!" "Oh, yeah!" Put your hands together for the Soulsonic superstar herself, Jomama Jones!!! The curtains swirl back and open. Jomama and the Peaches are revealed in a burst of bright light…They sing…
SUNBEAM I've been here so many times but never quite like this. My heart remembers every crossroads, every kiss. All the truths I've ever known have synced inside, so deep. love this body, this life, this time, this me. Come, ride the sunbeam Bask in the dream Ride the sunbeam Bask in the dream
Don't you know you're free when you live in love, my dear. Follow the Angel prints. The path so clear. Here and now is what you make it Go within youâ€™ll see Bring your heart and love will wake it Then take a ride with me Come, ride the sunbeam Bask in the dream Ride the sunbeam Bask in the dream
JOMAMA Whoo-oo! Ladies, Gentlemen and Otherwise Defined. Good evening. I'm Jomama Jones. And it is a privilege and a pleasure to be back here with all of you. I join you tonight from Switzerland. Yes! Where I live a very modest life now. A very small villa, with my goats. Little Hans, little Ingebor, little Mayisha, and little LaQuonna. LaQuonna is quite cold now because I had her shorn to weave a most wonderful scarf that I wore on my journey here. But, I'm terribly proud and happy to be here with you because in part I never thought that I would return to America! No. I was quite happy abroad. But I kept up with the news about America because I left and I kept in touch with my fans. In the front room of my villa in Switzerland I keep a laptop computer. And I exchange electronic mail with all of my fans. Three, in particular, influenced my decision to be here with you this evening. 12
One, Manuel Rodriguez, from Mexico City. He is thirteen years old and he discovered one of my fitness videos from the 1980s, he's lost copious amounts of weight and he's now hugely popular in high school. To thank me he creates portraits of me with small grains of colored rice. He photographs them and sends them along over the internet. There's Jing Xu from Sweden who's a young woman who knows all of my lyrics by heart. She knows all of the producers on all of my albums, like Ghetto in my Mind, Afromatic, Electrify - all of the hits which you'll remember knocked even Michael Jackson off the charts in 1984. Yeesss??? Aren't you a dear. But perhaps most importantly for our evening tonight, is a young girl from Austin, Texas, she's eleven years old and her name is Melody Trice. And Melody wrote to me, she said, "Dear Jomama Jones, you look like me. You're very tall, and I'm very tall, you wear your hair in a natural style as do I. I'm very often teased for my appearance, but when I feel down I steal into my mother's bedroom and I take your LPs and I play them, I look at your picture and I feel better. But I have a question for you, Jomama. Why is it that all the good singers either go crazy, die or leave the country - especially the Black ones? Why, when we need you so much, did you abandon us?" Uh... oh. Why, I did no such... why... I immediately started to write dear Melody back and when I started, to try to put into words why I had been forced to leave America, why I had chosen to leave America, what I had seen, what I had experienced whilst I was away and why, even before receiving her missive I had been considering a return to the United States... I realized... that I needed to bring it to Melody and to dear Jing and to Manuel and to all of you in song. And that is precisely what we're going to do for you this evening ladies, gentlemen and otherwise defined, we're going to speak our truth. I needed to assemble my A-Team!
The Sweet Peaches! Miss Helga Davis... Miss Sonja Perryman. Now this peach over here (Helga) fell out of the tree! But don't you worry, we decided we would "bling her sling". Yes. SO, the first thing that I recall in thinking about why I left America was thinking about why I loved America. My neighborhood where I grew up... now it was the sort of place where if you did something bad on the corner by the time you reached your house you'd been disciplined by at least four people, you recognize that neighborhood. There were many wonderful things. We did care about each other terribly. And my favorite thing was the Summer. I love the Summer. I loved the Summer. Do you like the Summer, Sir? What is your name? Yes, you, don't look so surprised. What is your name? Christian, like the religion. Did you like the Summer? My birthday's in the summer. It is!? Did you have cake and ice cream? And cupcakes. Oh, that's wonderful. Helga, what did you like best about the Summer? HELGA Well, my parents are from two tiny islands in the Carribean, Montseratt and Nevis. And we would go there for the Summer sometimes and I think that's when I learned that things like pineapples and bananas and oranges actually came on trees and weren't already squashed into packages. So I loved the Summer for that because I could go into my Grandmother or my Grandfather's backyard and pick all the fruit from the tree. JOMAMA That's delightful. Indeed. And Sonja what did you like best? SONJA Well, Christian just reminded me because my birthday's in the Summer too, it's in June, yeah? Okay. I just love it. Because it always meant that school got out, number one and that my birthday was coming soon. JOMAMA I love that. My favorite thing was double dutch. I was a champion can't you tell? This is a song we wrote about the Summer and we'd like to sing it. It's imaginatively titled Endless Summertime.
ENDLESS SUMMERTIME Out on the corner jumping double dutch Skaters got that magic touch Take you on a trip to the candy shop Get you sucking on a cherry pop Water shoots up in the air Rainbows sketched out everywhere Short-shorts and my afro-puffs Show yâ€™all that I got the stuff
One, two, three and four Are you gonna open up your door? Fee, Fie, Fo, Fum Are you gonna let Jomama get some? Two, Four, Six, Eight, Ten When we get done we gonna do it again North, South, East and West Jomama gonna show you why she’s the best Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind Got a date to be with you Can’t wait to show you what we gonna do Music booming from the box downstairs Up on the roof without a care Under stars just you and I Fireworks and fireflies Light caught in your eyes Jomama gonna give you a sweet surprise Kiss your lips, your neck, your eyes Fingers stroke then move inside I don’t think you understood Lovin’ like this could feel so good Two, Four, Six, Eight, Ten When we get done we gonna do it again North, South, East and West Jomama gonna show you why she’s the best! Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind Endless summertime Dancing in the corners of my mind! 15
The songs are so well crafted and so ably performed that in the middle of each you find yourself unable to remember what song came before it, or even to imagine anything outside of the current tuneâ€™s broad universe. Flanked by her Sweet Peaches (a more beamingly energetic pair of songbirds it is difficult to imagine) Jo effortlessly both belts and coos the house down. â€“ Topher Burns, The New Gay
JOMAMA I was twirling double dutch when my Grandmother came and she grabbed me by the wrist and just took me. We left poor little Eulinda Mason hopelessly tangled in the ropes. Grandmother led me out, up and over into a field that was full of sunflowers. She pushed into the clearing looked down on me and said "look around you, look around you, look around you do you SEE?" Grandmother was even taller and more dramatic than I if you can imagine. I was terrified. Yes, Ma'am I said. "You don't see - but you will!" And with that she slipped her hand into her handbag. Why, she carried that handbag... y'all know that handbag. And she removed three things. Little Jo, she said, remember where you come from. And she handed me a library card. Remember where you are going. And she handed me the sweetest, sharpest little yellow knife, which I promptly nicknamed Miss Trudy, and finally she said Jo, remember who you are - and she handed me a map of the stars. I'm fixing to leave, Jo. I'm heading West, into the sunset and you're not going to see me again. I need to think about this. If you can remember who you are, where you are going, all at the same time, you just might be able to figure your way on up out of this. And with that, Grandmother was gone. Leaving me alone, in the field, weeping. Now, in the way that some little girls can do, I girded myself. I unfolded my map, as she had instructed me to do, and I began to match what I saw above, to what I saw below. Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Andromeda. Grandmother left me in the field with some important lessons that night. Of course I later found out she wasn't dying, but actually heading West to stay with her sister Cookie. Go figure. But I never forgot that evening. Nor did I forget the central lesson. It's not until the sky goes black that the stars come out. Bobby? DARK MATTER dark matter binding dark dreams blinding dark fears staining dark truths remaining dark earth containing dark seeds gestating dark longings emerging dark star returning
dark bodies sounding dark souls rebounding
dark voices calling dark future forestalling sink into the darkness make stardust of your bones dissolve into potential release all that you hold feel the endless burn of love in the crucible of love feel the angel force of love in the stellar womb of love dark losses haunting dark doubts taunting dark rage abating dark impulse creating dark feathers soaring dark need imploring dark dream manifesting dark clouds dissipating dark matter holding dark arms enfolding dark voices 18
ringing dark fate reversing sink into the darkness make stardust of your bones dissolve into potential release all that you hold feel the endless burn of love in the crucible of love feel the angel force of love in the stellar womb of love dark matter binding dark dreams blinding dark fears staining dark truths remaining dark earth containing dark seeds gestating dark longings emerging dark star returning dark bodies sounding dark souls rebounding dark voices calling dark future forestalling
sink into the darkness make stardust of your bones dissolve into potential release all that you hold feel the endless burn of love in the crucible of love feel the angel force of love in the stellar womb of love dark eyes glowing dark spirits knowing dark fires burning dark star returning dark matter binding dark sun igniting dark birth impending dark light vibrating vibrating higher vibrating higher vibrating higher vibrating higher vibrating higher vibrating higher
Lyrically, the entire project speaks of the need for personal revolution and it’s in no way approached with kid gloves. In that sense, the starter “Sunbeam” is much lighter in theme then the following tracks, “Dark Matter”, and the angry rock anthem, “Out of Time”, of whose lyrics uncannily mirror the sentiment of the people’s revolution begun on January 25th , 2011 in Egypt. Furthering the conversation, Jones sings about “The Green One”, the prophet/angel that has been referenced to appear at times of revelation and change in various sacred texts. - JW Richard, Groove Loves Melody
JOMAMA That song has an ominous feel to it. Did it scare anyone? Did it scare you, Sir? Even just a little bit? Me? No, not at all. Not at all! You're brave. You'll hold our hand through the night. We'll get through it together. It's wonderful to be together and to see all of you. Aren't you lovely? When I traveled across America I met many people in all of the 50 states. It's one of the reasons I fell in love. Sir, have you traveled all across America? What is your name? (Laughter) He's overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed to see you. Chris is my name, Miss Jones. Miss Jones at that. I went to all 50 states, you know. Alaska and Hawaii included. And I made many friends everywhere. Many special friends. Does anyone here travel for work? You know it's very difficult to maintain relationships when you have to travel, jet about. Yes. And so, I turned to a friend of mine, her name is Florinda Bryant, and she's a cowgirl. She's a black cowgirl - she can jump on a horse and ride it. Anywhere. It's true. And I turned to her for sage wisdom. Girls? And she said to me, you know, Jo, when you're moving about the country you have to leave things behind. Keep in mind that horses are a lot like men and men are a lot like horses. And I found that whether you like men or women or otherwise defined the rule applies. (To Sonja) You have a work horse... SONJA Oooh. A workhorse, right, is a really big strong horse that can work all through the day work all through the night and no matter what weight you put on its back it's gonna still keep working! AUDIENCE MEMBER Yes!!! SONJA That's right! You feel me! I need that. JOMAMA It was a testimony! SONJA Whoo - I'm sorry... JOMAMA It's a vivid description. And you have the racehorse, Helga? HELGA This is still a family show, isn't it? JOMAMA Most certainly... all sorts of family... HELGA 22
I am like you, Jo, I travel a lot and I prefer the racehorse. The racehorse is... AUDIENCE MEMBER laughs tall and lean and strong and will give you the best two minutes of his life... if you're in a hurry, like I often am... JOMAMA Another vivid description. The third type that Florinda let me in on was the Show Pony. Now, y'all know the Show Pony - that's the one you bring to a party. They go like this... (demonstrates step) That was my impression. So, Sir, right here with the glasses and the red sweater... yes, you! What is your name? DEAN Dean JOMAMA Hi Dean. Dean would you be so kind as to stand for me? DEAN Oh, my goodness. JOMAMA Thank you, Dean. Aren't you dashing, Dean. Dashing Dean, it's a mnemonic device ... And way back, all the way behind Dean in the last two rows in the very, very back what is your name, Sir, under the light... DJOLA Oh, okay, I'm Djola... JOMAMA Look at that Djola and Dean. Very tall. Fits one of the criteria. And right here, Sir. ERIK I'm Erik. JOMAMA Erik, how old are you? ERIK I'm twenty. JOMAMA Bless you. (laughter) One can dream. Audience, I need your help for a moment. Look at these three handsome gentlemen. With great courage to stand in front of you. And I want you to hazard a guess as to which of these 23
is our work horse, who can take the weight and carry it and keep on going... which do you think is our work horse? AUDIENCE MEMBER In the back! JOMAMA Djola's our work horse! And which do you think is our racehorse, nimble and quick 'round the track...? (Erik is chosen) JOMAMA Well I guess I know who that leaves as our Show Pony. Oh my, Dashing Dean. Thank you so much, gentlemen. So we wrote a song about it, it's instructional, there are life lessons, it's called Show Pony...
SHOW PONY No show No show No show No show
Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated when you don’t get what you want. Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated when you don’t get what you want It’s all type of horses in this world Just like there’s all kind of folks inside it It’s different steeds for different needs Don’t buy no horse if you haven’t tried it Just because it got a pretty face Doesn’t mean that it can run the race If you gonna saddle it up and ride it First you oughta take a look inside it
Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated when you don’t get what you want. Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated when you don’t get what you want Figure out what type of horse you looking at Then you’ll know what job you gonna put it at Don’t put your packhorse on the racetrack And then expect to win That horse wasn’t built to run real fast But for other tasks that horse was built to last Best if you keep you a stable Packed with horses of every kind That way you’ll have one to plow your field And another to help you unwind You might need one to conversate Another to help with bills A third one to help you tote your cart And a fourth one to give you the chills If it’s pretty in front make sure it’s stacked in back and got enough giddyup to make it round the track If it’s pretty in front make sure it’s stacked in back and got enough giddyup to make it round the track Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated 25
when you don’t get what you want. Don’t put no show pony on a workhorse job Ya just end up frustrated when you don’t get what you want. JOMAMA I love a testimony! Did you like our little dance? Thank you. I practiced. I did. Because I used to go on Soul Train. How many remember Soul Train? Yes! I was on so very many times but you had to keep up with the latest steps. You didn't dare risk not knowing the latest steps you'd be gravely embarrassed wouldn't you. And Don Cornelius was unforgiving. But do you know what I loved best about Soul Train? I loved all of those beautiful proud young people who came up with all of those dances week after week after week every color, every kind, as quiet as it's kept. I came up at a time when we said Umgawa, Black Power... Umgawa... Black Power... well Black Power got turned off somebody didn't pay the bill. Everbody got very still. When you talk about Black Power their eyes get wide... Well the sort of power I was interested in, and that these young people were interested in was the kind of power that would lead us all to togetherness. But the sort of togetherness where everyone in the conversation got to keep their spine. I remember something about the spine. When we went to the library, as I did with my Grandmother's card, you had to walk in with perfectly erect posture, or the librarians would send you right back out. The first thing you had to do was walk over to the large dictionary and pick out a new word and use it in a sentence. My first word? Conform. They laughed at one another and said, "we keep you informed, so you never have to conform.) I checked out books on music and choreography and fashion and physics, yes, and you mightn't guess, science fiction. I'm a lifelong fan. Do you know how they say that some people dream in a foreign language? Well I dream in science fiction. And as I watched the gradual erosion of the sort of images that reflected me and these young people and my community, I began to contemplate taking action - and I had a dream - where I was the captain, naturally, of a spaceship - we were traveling through space in search of enlightened beings from the star system Sirius. Transition to a bad sci-fi serial feel… JOMAMA Star Date 3648. We are pursuing a vessel called The Holy Grail, which was lost, trying to track down Sirians. I dare not tell my crew that their last transition said only we are melting, we are melting in the light of the enlightened ones. My communications officer, my navigator and I await word from our chief science officer, Halvy. BOBBY Captain, we've discovered an anomaly in the space time continuum. Prepare for turbulence. SONJA Captain. I'm getting some sort of signal, but it keeps popping and locking. I can't quite get a fix on it.
JOMAMA It may be the Sirians, for they communicate physically, through pops and locks. BOBBY Searching for enlightenment is dangerous business. JOMAMA A salient point, Halvy. HELGA Whoa! I'm just trying to get a cab out here. But seriously, Captain. I think something's approaching. Could it be... ALL The Holy Grail?
EUREKA Don't you understand the Holy Grail? Don't you know it's made from wax and thimbles? Watch it melt away and stain the floor, with it's knowledge. Don't you understand the Holy Grail? Don't you know it's made from wax and symbols? Watch it melt away and stain the floor, with it's knowledge. With it's knowledge... Eureka! I think I've made a new discovery. Eureka! Then it sticks, it gets so sticky... Your two sides are an illusion of a party line division. I see kaleidoscopes expanding in the corner of my vision. Where the two sides meet, next to my sister. Eureka! I think I've made a new discovery. Eureka, Then is sticks, it gets so sticky. Don't you understand the Holy Grail? Don't you know it's made from wax and symbols? Watch it melt away and stain the floor, with it's knowledge. With it's knowledge... By songâ€™s end, Jomama has made a dramatic exit. Guitar riffs fill the space, the light rocks out and she reentersâ€Ś
OUT OF TIME change change change and you want us to make it heat heat heat and you want us to take it soul soul soul and you’re trying to buy one life life life na-na you need to get one
hypnotized how you’re trying to keep us with your lies that you keep on repeating in your sleep there’s a nightmare inside you in the day who you gonna go cry to? free free free you don’t want us to be free free free cuz you know what we see free free free you try to define free free free running out of time images you keep manipulating work their way to the psyche, I’m hating what they do to the pride of the children poisoning them from inside history crushed in your teeth
faces names and truth beneath all the rubble of the wars won by your greed now what’s in store? free free free you don’t want us to be free free free cuz you know what we see free free free you try to define free free free running out of time does your reason have a price? is your conscience still on ice? out of bounds and out of mind your will is the hurting kind change change change and you want us to make it heat heat heat and you want us to take it soul soul soul and you’re trying to buy one life life life na-na you need to get one who are we to cast the blame? just cuz you control the game that don’t mean I have to play knowing there’s another way 29
free free free will we ever be? free free free are we gonna see? free free free what keeps repeating? free free free running out of time holding on to an illusion is the practice of collusion comfort is our motivation but there is no hiding place will I make the sacrifice change my ways and change my life let go of my call to glory write myself another story free free free are we gonna wake up free free free make the work of change? free free free are we gonna take up free free free responsibility free free free thatâ€™s what weâ€™ll be free free free if we tell what we see free free free we can never define 30
free free free now youâ€™re out of time
JOMAMA One of the first places I found myself when I left was London. It was the late 80s and I walked out of my hotel room and around the corner and smack dab into the middle of a riot. Yes, it's true. There was a young woman, at least I think it was a young woman, she was about this tall and she said: "Who are you, then!?" And she had a lead pipe. She handed it to me and I took it. And I used it. It was amazing to me because I was leaving my country because I felt people were becoming complacent the end of the Reagan years... you'll remember... "what can we buy" not "who can we help". This riot invigorated me and I went straight back to my hotel and I said let me give it one more chance. So I wrote an entire album of lyrics and I called it GET BACK. It was a protest album and I took this stance (gesture) on the cover. And I must tell you, and dear Melody, and Manuel and Jing, that the straw that broke the camel's back for me was when I was called into my record company and there were five executives - one, two, three, four, five - sitting at a very long wooden table and they said to me: "Jo, we've heard the new album... Relax! It's not the seventies anymore. We want you to have fun. We want you to dance. Put a beat to it. Relax your lyrics. Relax your posture. Shhhh. And we'd love to do some new photographs and we think it would be best if you'd relax your hair." Sister, you know what I'm talking about. Do you remember Miss Trudy? My little yellow knife? Miss Trudy and I made quick work of their contract. We released them from their obligation. And I released myself... from an income. It was the beginning of a great adventure. How many people in this audience have had the world tell them "NO" in no uncertain terms? You know what you want, you know what you're capable of, you know what you're going to do, but the world says: NO. And you have to dig down, deep, and find that resolve, to say YES to yourself. It's very hard work. This next suite of songs addresses this process. The first, about the moment you do need to draw a line in the sand and sever yourself, sometimes from something that's defined you. And the second song, about the moment after, when you're left along. We begin with THE RINGS OF SATURN.
RINGS OF SATURN you want to burn down the bridges cloud the morning sky suffocate the trees, violate the seas bend infinity to the limits of your fear oh, no, my dear
I’m so sorry that you fell I’m so sorry that you fell I’m so sorry that you fell But, I’m taking you out ‘Cause you’re not taking me down with you you want to fill every cell with the letters of your name lay claim to the laws of becoming you seek to break the back snap the spine crack the will of the future oh, no, my dear I’m so sorry that you fell I’m so sorry that you fell I’m so sorry that you fell But, I’m taking you out ‘Cause you’re not taking me down with you compassion seemed fair action but your willful deception corrupts all good intention I’m taking you out past the rings of Saturn to dissolve your rage through deepest night Out past the rings of Saturn where souls await the coming light Out past the rings of Saturn here, at last, we’ll break the pattern Out past the rings of Saturn
LESS OF YOU If I could take but words and turn them into worthy terms I’d show you skylines that I see I’d show you patterns that I see If I could know what saying “greying” pictures in your mind I’d show you twilights that I’d see I’d give you twilights that are mine Without you the globe still moves Ticking limbs will make their rounds Day to grey and grey to black The contrast of my world comes back But less of you time disregarded All the tint escapes the sky You leave my world colorless Everything is colorless If I could see you on the Earth document your common stops I’d give you dots for where you’ve been I’d make a map of what you are If I could pinpoint your location Mark the towns with pencil stars I’d sketch in lines between each one I’d make you into constellations Without you my world is moving Tocks still count the seconds down Black to grey and grey today Tints and shades the same the same But less of you a compass futile Missing your co-ordinates And my life is colorless And my life is colorless Everything is colorless
JOMAMA You think you know who you are until you have to leave it all behind. Now, don't worry, it doesn't stay dour. I left America for some very hard reasons, yes. But I also left because I was insanely curious about the world! I wanted to see all of it. To taste all of it. And I did. I wound my way across Europe, into Asia, back and down through the Middle East into Africa where I enjoyed a very long sojourn. You, in this beautiful multi-colored sweater, what is your name? Hi Hannah. Hannah, do you like flowers? What is your favorite? Lilies. I love Lilies - especially the way their petals curl outward, and back and a little bit of sap drips down inviting the buzzing bees to enter. Is that the sort of thing you like about them? Yes. And you, what is your name? Ana. I love your boots, quite snazzy. Do you like flowers, Ana? What are some of your flowers. ANA I have many favorites. One is the grape hyacinth. JOMAMA Grape? I don't think I've ever seen that flower, what is it like? ANA Oh, you know it looks a lot like the bluebonnet. JOMAMA I love bluebonnets. In Texas, and they smell like candy. Bluebonnets. Thank you. And you, right here in front of me. Yes, what is your name? Hi Clair. What is your favorite flower? Iris! It's a dignified flower. The most beautiful flowers I've ever seen were in the Souk, the market in Marrakesh. This is my dear friend Jing - she's from Sweden, she remembers all of my lyrics in case Jomama forgets. In the morning they bring in all of the flowers in baskets, along with fresh spices in burlap bags. Cardamom, cloves, and mounds of mint, for tea. I took tea every afternoon. And I had a special friend who joined me. His name was Hadi. Now you might call him a pony if you were so inclined. He had the most elegant fingers. And the longest eyelashes. We would greet each other quite formally, like so (gestures) and then we would commence to argue about everything. Religion, gender roles, philosophy, but our chief argument concerned a birdcage that Hadi carried with him everywhere. Inside sat Aïcha, the songbird. And she would spin the most succulent melodies every morning. I said, Hadi, you must free the bird! And he said, no, Aïcha must stay in the cage where she belongs. I said free the bird, he said stay in the cage and so it went. One afternoon, I noticed that Hadi was conspicuously late for our tea. When he arrived, his face was drawn. I looked more closely and the door to the cage was missing. But Aïcha was still there. Sitting. On her perch. Stock still. Her eyes were large. "I take your advice. Last night when I return to my room, I removed the door to the cage. Aïcha she flies out into the night in the city and I am alone. I make peace with my choice. But the next morning, Aïcha has returned to the cage. But whatever she saw, frightened her. She has not sung a note since." Oooops. Before I can apologize, Hadi leans forward with his dark eyes and says, "Not all of us are courageous enough to fly free. Those who are, must continue to do so"
THE GREEN ONE where there is one there are many where there are many there are few few who choose to see all that may be you are one you are one they walk around with blinders on the reach of their arms is their boundary line do not dare cross over do not venture beyond
where there is one there are many where there are many there are few few who choose to see all that may be you are one you are one you bang around skin and heart exposed marked by your encounters holding nothing in your hands running faster along
they need no-one to cage them theyâ€™ve already caged themselves another cannot save them locked away and hiding blind
your journey is your answer destination is unknown experience the teacher every breath your home
where there is one there are many where there are many there are few few who choose to see all that may be you are one you are one listen at the edges keep focus in your eyes I’ll be your soul on horseback riding right behind straight ahead and don’t look back trust yourself to climb I’ll be your soul on horseback riding right behind JOMAMA I sat in the market all night until dawn came. Thinking about what Hadi had told me. I had traveled the world. But I had I grown scared to fly free. The morning flowers came in and that day there were sunflowers. And I heard my Grandmother's voice. What you gonna do? She was very direct. Perhaps it was time to wind my way home. Jo leaves the stage… SONJA and HELGA (walk out toward the audience) And you, what you gonna do when the sky starts calling?
SOUL UPRISING whatchu gonna do? when the sky starts falling whatchu gonna do? when the ground starts shaking whatchu gonna do? when the wind starts whipping and fear starts calling your name?
you got to get up and claim your power you got to stand up release the past you got to rise up meet it eye to eye got to rise up cause its a soul uprising how high is your vision? can you see the future? how wide is your heart ? can it hold and soothe you? how deep is your strength? can you pull yourself through? these are the questions we're asking of you! JOMAMA re-enters watch the sun watch the sun watch the sun watch the sun watch the sun as it rises in the sky every bit of its light is consumed by the dark yet it glows from within even so we're all going to lose our light there's nothing more to it but what you lose you gain it comes around again but not if you hold on to it! you got to rise up set your fire to burning you got to rise up command your time you got to rise up 38
meet it eye to eye got to get up cause its a soul uprising got to stand up cause its a soul uprising got to rise up cause its a soul uprising! I don't call them my Sweet Peaches for nothing! Miss Sonja Perryman, Miss Helga Davis. May I introduce you to some gentlemen... (BAND INTROS) Everywhere that I went, I was told that America had changed for the worse. I didn't want to believe it. I'd paid attention, of course, to the election. Everyone voted for hope and change, and hope and change came and everyone seems perfectly miserable. But I wanted to see firsthand. I began my return about a year and a half ago. And something gave me great inspiration immediately. I began to meet some extraordinary people from this younger generation. Only slightly younger than Jomama. One of them, is my collaborator, Mr. Bobby Halvorson. Not only is he young, but he's from California, which accounts for his easy demeanor. I gave Bobby one of my old songs, so you know I trust him, and we re-recorded it. We rearranged it. And we sing it now as a tribute to all of those women who have come before me. Who have cut a way out of solid rock. In particular for three that are no longer on the earth. Miss Josephine Baker. Miss Lena Horne. And we honor the recent passing of Teena Marie. Sister Moon.
SISTER MOON sister moon you be so quiet hanging back in your infinite sky your soul it spins in silence you turn your face to the darkside to cry The part of you we see hides all that you be. In the shadow do you feel at home? let the angels kiss your hair wipe the silver from your eyes bring comfort to you by and by sister moon we are so fragile spinning blue through the infinite dark faces, names and memories crest and fall as we circle the sun Will all who fall to stardust? Become such heavenly things as you? Sister moon you guard the mysteryâ€Ś Sister moon you be so lovely as you wax and wane above you illuminate the deepest night guiding lovers to ecstasy you are our lonely witness may the angels kiss your face comfort you through time and space
SUNFLOWER if we become what we behold hold a flower in your mindâ€™s eye just as I held you inside me sure of our reunion can you feel my love surround you? winding green and strong can you feel my arms around you? they have been there all along you are my sunflower you are my golden halo you are my midnight center you are my sunflower unexpected joys suffuse and then enlighten blushing like the stars our faces brighten the swell of twilight in your eyes the taste of apples on your kiss in the rapture of your smile Iâ€™ve never known such bliss constant as the northern light can you feel my love within you love transforming through and through feel my love renew you if we become what we behold hold a universe inside healing every paradox in the fire of our eyes you are my sunflower you are my golden halo you are my midnight center you are my sunflower if we become what we behold
hold a flower in your mind’s eye just as held you inside me sure of our reunion can you feel my love surround you? winding green and strong can you feel my arms around you? they have been there all along you are my sunflower you are my golden halo you are my midnight center you are my sunflower You are my sunflowers. All of your faces. You see, I started to gather evidence, everywhere that I went. I believe that something is alive and buzzing at the center of our country and I realized that I needed to come home and take responsibility too. I had to sing, I had to stand and I had to tell my truth if I'm going to encourage you to do so. Jing? (Jing brings cards). And so I began to ask people, everywhere I went, what do you wish for? Mmmmmm. Look at each other. You beautiful people. Look around the room. These are things that you wish for: (nightly, Jomama and the Peaches read the collected wishes… overlapping like a river…) I WISH… to know what to wish for for world peace and a man that looks like or is Boris Kudjoe for this show to be a great success for my daughter to find her mate for infinite wishes that Jomama records another album with Bobby and Helga and Sonja that I find peace and joy within myself to learn how to love myself that all education was free for $100,000 that I had enough money to pay all my bills for a noble death for more sensible gun control laws the world to be overcome with love that people gave one another the benefit of the doubt for more time in the day the NRA would wake up and smell the heartache 42
for more energy, a bigger heart, and a long healthy life for love and pleasure for more poetry ... (CONTINUES) I wish to live awesomely, always... All of these things, buzzing around inside all of you. Quite something. Evidence. I would say. Jomama wants you to do one more thing for her, will you please? It won't hurt, I promise. Take out the envelopes that we gave you. Don't open them yet. And it's not like Oprah, there's no car. Besides I think people should be able to pick their own color for the car, or skateboard or bicycle or if you're like me you can walk, to keep your fitness, yes. What is your name, Sir? Craig, that was a deep knee bend, it keeps me fit. I'll demonstrate it for you later. Now I'd like for you to look in this room and find the eyes of someone you don't know. And if you're terrified by that request you may look at me. Find the eyes of someone you do not know, just for a moment. And what I'd like you to do is make a wish for them. And now, just as I circulate my eyelashes after every show, let's circulate the papers, just hand them around. It moves the energy and seals it. Inside you will find wishes from me, from Bobby, from the Peaches, from our friends. The chief wishes are these three - that you remember where you come from. Remember who you come from. That you remember where you're going - and if you don't know where you're going, imagine something splendid for yourself. And finally, remember not only who you are, but who we are. You can read later, we're going to dance! Jomama wants to dance. Will you dance with me?
EVERYWHERE ooh you took one look at me now you just canâ€™t look away you open up your pretty mouth but you donâ€™t know what to say your beguiling beauty shines out in the silky heat hunger grows between us both out on this city street our bodies give the signs say we were meant to be the pulsing flowing force of electricity when love comes down in this direction it reveals our intersection so are you gonna stand and stare with lightening in the air? Baby, I want you everywhere Baby, I feel you everywhere
Baby, I need you everywhere Put your fingers in my hair put your lips upon my breast Lay your body on my bed then let me do the rest divine sensuality of eros in our eyes baby this night is destiny let’s fill it with our… Hmmm cover your skin with hearts and arrows desire rising from the bone marrow sweet strawberry and ba-na-na part your lips and ooh-la-la Baby, I want you everywhere Baby, I feel you everywhere Baby, I need you everywhere and the rhythm makes you move it like this and the rhythm makes you shake it like this and the rhythm makes you drop it like this and the rhythm lets you ride it like this feeling atoms spin around in circular formation feeling pleasure build in the endless rotation outside all our boxes beyond our rules and schemes everybody’s loving makes more space for all to dream but right now I taste cinnamon and sugar on your lips I feel the pressure as we climb up higher and higher sparks wheel out around us like a thousand wishes seal the promise of this night with a thousand kisses Baby, I want you everywhere Baby, I feel you everywhere Baby, I need you everywhere Baby, I want you 44
everywhere Baby, I feel you everywhere Baby, I need you everywhere Baby, I want you everywhere Baby, I feel you everywhere Baby, I need you everywhere
RADIATE Here at the top of the world A breath before the coming dawn The long night stretches back behind me bleeding purple
Trembling I begin again Closer than Iâ€™ve ever been Feelings welling up inside Knowing what I cannot see will be I will radiate You will radiate We will radiate This world will radiate Our world will radiate So far away from my home Lost the key and lost my way grown empty as eggshells cracked open long ago skins were shed names were changed in service of my hope ran so far from what I knew lost all sense of what to do So afraid to touch the pain So afraid to suffocate So afraid to fade away then without warning comes a warming flower petals fill the air
I will radiate You will radiate We will radiate This world will radiate Our world will radiate Here at the top of the world Sun rays lick my face Fingers stretch into the light Alright, Alright, Alright I will radiate You will radiate We will radiate This world will radiate Our world will radiate I will radiate You will radiate We will radiate This world will radiate Our world will radiate
JOMAMA Take care of one another's wishes. JING We know the deal. Morning light fills the room. Music is for dreaming and our imaginations are full. Wake up. Slip the spinning record back into the sleeve. Make our way into the world. Find our people. Share the song. Make a dance. Bring forth the day!
“Unlike many performer-audience relationships, ours was reciprocal, inclusive, and warm. Jomama
took great care to make certain that we felt wanted and important, like we were all huddled under one giant, sparkling, lilac Snuggie together, defending one another against the wicked sub-freezing temperatures that floated in icy swirls down the soil-and-snow-laced sidewalks outside. “Find the gaze of someone you don’t know,” she gently suggested. “Oh shit,” is always my dread-ridden first reaction to this type of audience directive. While tonight was no exception – I still muttered it in my head – I was mollified by Jomama’s Snuggie effect, and smilingly did as I was instructed. Trying to choose a rogue direction, I turned to the row behind me, and immediately locked gazes with a set of expansive bluish-green eyes that seemed intent on finding connection. As I continued looking at my new stranger, I marveled at how beautiful she was, and how I never would have noticed as much otherwise. A stark reminder that I really don’t see everything, even when I’m damn sure I do. “Now,” I imagined Jomama waving a graceful finger in the air, “make a wish for this person.” Taken aback by the surge of – love? – that I experienced for my beautiful stranger, I dived into a full-fledged wish for her, with heartfelt hope that it would come true. I cradled the thought, and beamed it forth: I wish for beauty and peace for your whole life through. Since Jomama gave us ample time for all to make their wishes, and mine didn’t take long to say, I repeated it in my head like a mantra as the bluish-greens and mine held each other in earnest. All the while I wished I could phrase my wish more innovatively. Despite the discomfort of melting walls, I kept breathing. Then, Jomama released us, and ascended – all aglow in Lucite and glitter – to the show’s next ambit. At the beginning of the evening, before we entered Jomama’s house, we were asked to pen a specific desire on a lovely blue postcard; to complete the postcard’s preprinted header “I wish…” Like polite houseguests, ostensibly we all did so – evident in the amount of wishes that Jomama and her Sweet Peaches read to us toward the end of the show as they flipped through them one at a time. They ranged from wishes for gun control to hoping that one’s new car wasn’t a lemon, from world peace to a wish for one’s loneliness to cease, and finally ended with a single wish for an excess of love. Suddenly, we all knew one another.” - Kris Lew
Jomama Jones is a wonderfully unique creation: a fusion of retro-funk, camp and theatricality. â€“ David Cote, NY1, Time Out New York
Jomama Jones is the best in everyone of us. -Brandon Lacy Campos, My Feet Only Walk Forward 49
Published on Oct 2, 2011
A guide to the JOMAMA JONES show experience focusing on structure and content and featuring a transcription of a full perormance of RADIATE.