Donnerstag, 1. Januar 2009

Talkin' Trash

Hi class,
Speaking of Disasters, Toxic Hazards and Pollution, I just finished writing this song about pollution called "Talkin' Trash" for the upcoming documentary film "Recycle Circus", part of the trilogy of documentaries about our Circus Guy Musical Goodwill Ambassador Program. Check out if you want to see the first documentary, Solar Circus, and parts of the second documentary, Water Circus.
In a week or so I will hopefully finish a demo recording (a scratch version) for you to hear. Meanwhile, here are the chords and lyrics (any musicians among you?).

Talkin’ Trash c 2007 T.H. Culhane Cairo, Egypt
(Bb6/F arpeggio to F#7/E arpeggio twice)

(Bb6/F) Look beyond the garbage in the (Gm) streets to find the (Gm7/F) garbage in your (F#7/E) mind…
Then (Bb6/F) rise above your prejudice of (Em7b5) class to see there’s treasures there to (Ebmaj7) find… (Ebmaj7/C) in (Gm9 pull off )garbage… (Ebmaj7b5 pull off) in garbage… (Gm9 pull off to Ebmaj7b5 pull off)
(Bb) Everyone is told (Everyone is told) (Bb/A) that one man’s garbage is another’s gold
But (Gm) why’re we never told (why’re we never told) (Gm/F) that one man’s gold creates another’s (Cm) garbage? (Ebmaj7) (F#7/E)
(Bb) Lies are often told (Lies are always told) (Bb/A) If they obscure the facts they think our hand will fold (Gm) We’ve got to lay it on the table’n BOLD (Gm/F) that “Pollution is always someone else’s (Cm) profit”… (Ebmaj7b5 pull off) (They’re makin’ lots of money off it…)

Dm / Cm / Dm / Cm / (with cello)
(Dm) (spoken): “It’s a fundamental idea in economics that surplus value creates profit. If that (C#m) surplus can no (Cm) longer be extracted from labor then it must come from the externalization of production residuals – what we call (C#m) “garbage”.

(Dm) This means to both the firm and the family that ‘negative externalities’ must never be paid for, (Cm) must never be accounted for, must (Cm) always be thrown into, dumped into, someone else’s back yard…” (Gm pull off)

(sung): (Dm) When we gonna learn (when we gonna learn)
That one man’s gold creates a-(C#m) nother’s (Cm) garbage?
It’s an adage we recycle, we reverse the lesson that we all earn our
(Dm) Livings from a dustbin from a trash heap of worn ideas (C#m) gleaned from (Cm) garbage

(Cm!)that one’s man’s trash can be another’s gold obscures the (Cm!) darker story that’s never told

(Ebm!) For all that glitters, new or old, is (Ebm!) in the mind, spun into gold by
(B!) those who learned “sell high, buy low”,
the dogma (B/A) behind the status quo is (Bb) garbage… (F#7/E) just garbage… (Bb) (F#7/E)

And it’s (Gm) more than mere frustration

without (F) point-source (Cm) separation

we (Gm) enforce immiseration

having (F) no appreciation

(Cm) that there’s a (Gm) downstream side relation to it (F) all… (Cm)

There (Gm) persists a sad delusion

that the (F) problem of (Cm) pollution can be (Gm) solved by mere dilution –

but that’s (F) not the right (Cm) solution

and there’s (Gm) still too much confusion about it (F) all…

(Cm) We’re now (Gm) plagued by concentrations,

(F) caused by bio-accumulation (Cm)

for many (Gm) toxins simply don’t disperse at (F) all (Cm)

(Ebm) There’s two spheres in which we should operate
One well established, one inchoate
(B) An ecosphere and a technosphere
put organics there, inorganics here (B/A)
this industrial ecology’s the (Bb) way… (F#7/E) to…

(Bb6/F) Look beyond the garbage in the (Gm) streets to find the garbage in your (F#7/E) mind

Then (Bb6/F) rise above the blindness of your (Em7b5) past to see the profits men have (Ebmaj7) mined…

(Ebmaj7/C) from (Gm pull off) garbage…

from (Ebmaj7b5 pull off) garbage…

It’s all (Gm pull off) garbage…

(Ebmaj7b5 pull off) garbage…

We’re talkin’ TRASH…

Bb5 A5 Gm6/9 !!! Bb5 A5 Gm6/9 !!!

Maey Oh Maey! (Water, oh Water!)

Maey Oh Maey! (Water, oh Water!)
copyright 2005 T.H. Culhane, Melodic-Mnemonics

This is the song we performed in Kuwait (2005) and Morrocco (2006) on our Circus Guy Goodwill Musical Ambassador tours. This video (powerpoint) was projected on a screen behind the band as we played the song. We also performed this in a Palestinian refugee camp during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006. The recording was done in Dobbs Ferry, New York in January 2007.

This is one of the two songs (along with "Springtime by Design" that will be featured in "Water Circus", produced by James Dean Conklin and Elissa Zazzerra at

In the goodwill concerts we did during Education Week in Kuwait with the U.S. State Department, before our song and presentation, we thanked the Kuwaiti people and government saying the following:

"Through Hurricane Katrina, we have seen the power of water for good and ill, in its various forms as rain, storm, flood, contaminated sink of dangerous pollution and, of course, life sustaining blessing for drinking, irrigating and cleansing. From this tragedy we have learned much about the importance of respecting and taking care of water, and we have learned much from the international goodwill response to this terrible event.
“Circus Guy would like to personally thank the government and people of Kuwait for their generous financial and humanitarian support, helping the people of America recover from the environmental and social tragedies that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.
It is in that spirit that we offer this song about that most precious of the world’s resources… something every Arab knows very well!"

Then we began the song:

(tempo 118 bpm, 8 beat)

Verse I
Fmaj7 add G arp, Fdim add G arp, Em7, Am7, Dm, Dm/G G7
Allah made *{of water every living thing}* (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:30),
...و جَعَلنا من الماءِ كُلَّ شَيءٍ حيٍّ أفلا يُؤمِنونَ (سورة الأنبياءِ ٢١:٣٠ )
The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion cubic kilometers, but only 41 million of this is fresh water that we can drink and use. We must protect this precious heritage. We must recycle it, we must purify it and make it good to drink again, as Allah intended. We are the stewards of the earth.. and the water…

(Am) There´s lots of talk about (F#m7b5) disasters that are coming down the (F) pike…
(D7) We´re told we´ll soon run out of water and we´ll one day have to (Bb) fight (E7) (riff e g# b e, ´live and let die!´)
(F) But water´s not like oil, it never disappears…
(Dm) It´s so abundant there´s no need for all these fears
(Bb13) Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?
(E7) Purifying water, friends, is easier than you think…
(F) Making new fresh water is as simple as can be
(D7)Through Distillation and osmosis and some fun technology, You’ll see… (E7) … Because we´re…


(Am) Living on a water planet
(F) Blue and green on top of granite… (Am) Maey! (bass and horn riff a e g a c a)
(Am) You may call this planet ´Earth´ but
(F) Water is our place of birth…
(D7) A hypersea of living liquid (G7) LIFE!… We´re alive…
´Ashan Maey! (Am) (bass and horn riff a e g a c a) (´Ashan Maey means ´because of water´)

"About 80% of the diseases that plague humanity are water-borne – cholera, typhoid
Amoebic dysentery, diarrhea, and other pathogenic diseases, not to mention
arsenic, lead, mercury and other forms of heavy metal poisoning. These are all completely avoidable. All we have to do is stop dumping our biological and chemical wastes into our water supply. Drinking quality fresh water should NEVER be used to carry our filth. Polluting our water supply is an inexcusable and criminally dangerous practice. Nobody should ever have to get sick or die because of dirty water"

Verse II
(Am) Khilafah means earth stewardship, to (F#m7b5) keep our wastes and filth away from (F) Maey
(D7) Amana is the trust Allah bestowed on all of us to learn and (Bb) try… (iqra!) (E7)Try to do right!)
(F) We must learn from Allah´s plan…, the balance, `Al-Mizan`
(Dm) Learn the hydrologic cycle as water goes through plants to man
(Bb13)Wastes don´t belong in water, not in the toilet nor the sink
(E7) Filth must be composted, water must be fit to drink
(F) Our rivers can´t be sewers, not for home or industry
(D7) We can keep our water pure and clean for all eternity, you’ll see (E7) … because we`re…

(Am) Living on a water planet
(F) Blue and green on top of granite… (Am) Maey? (bass and horn riff a e g a c a)
(Am) You may call this planet ´Earth´ but
(F) Water is our place of birth…
(D7) A hypersea of living liquid (G7) LIFE!… We´re alive…
´Ashan Maey! (Am) (bass and horn riff a e g a c a) (´Ashan Maey means ´because of water´)

Am-F Am Am/B C11, C9


There are (F) Living Machines that can (F#m7b5) make water clean again… (C)
Plants and (F) algae, it seems, like to (F#m7b5) play on our team…
(G) Cleaning our wastes, puri- (E ) fying our streams…
(F) Wind and sunlight can power desalinization, making
(F#m7b5) salt water fresh water through distillation

(C ) Maey…. oh… (Am) Maey….
(F) Oh why can´t we (F#m7b5) see it´s the (C ) reason we thrive (Am)
(Am7) Allah gave us Maey! (Fmaj7 add G arp) But we have to be wise… Fdim add G arp)
(Em7 arp) We must practice Amana, be the viceroys of life! (Am 7 arp) Allah gave us (Dm7 arp) Maey, oh maey oh maey! (Dm/G) (G7)

(C) Living on a water planet
(Am) Blue and green on top of granite… (Fmaj7 arp) Maey! (bass and horn riff a e g a c a)
(C) You may call this planet ´Earth´ but
(Am) Water is our place of birth…
(F) A hypersea of living liquid (G7) LIFE!… We´re alive…
´Ashan Maey! (C arp) (Am7 arp) (C arp) (Am7 arp) (Fmaj7 arp)

When we performed the song, singing to hundreds of schoolkids (including the children of the Sabah oil sheikh family) in front of the IMAX theatre screen in the Kuwait Science Center, with our video behind us on the 70 foot screen, we made the mistake of having the slide with the Qur'anic quote showing while the musical intro began. This deeply offended our fundamentalist hosts, who told us that one must never associate the Qur'an (Koran) with music or entertainment of any kind! We thought we were honoring Islam! In subsequent concerts we remedied the problem by simply showing the slide before the music began and after it stopped. As long as there is no music playing while referencing the Koran, we were told, things are okay.

Quranic environmental science quotes from various Arabic web sites:

*{Then set your face upright for religion in the right state-- the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know.}* (Ar-Rum 30:30)
In the Quran, men and women are viewed as God’s vicegerents on Earth. (2:30). God created nature in a balance (“al-mizan”) and mankind’s responsibility is to maintain this fragile equilibrium through wise governance and sound personal conduct."

"The Quran also describes the believing men and women as those who “walk on the Earth in humility.” (25:63). Scholars have interpreted this verse, and others like it, to mean that Muslims are to protect nature’s many bounties given to them by the Almighty. Preservation is therefore more than a good policy recommendation - it is a commandment from God.
Allah has blessed the earth on which we live with abundant natural resources, and He has given the human race intelligence and power to use these resources for its benefit. At the same time, Allah has bestowed upon human beings the honor and responsibility of khilafah (stewardship) of these natural resources. The concept that it is our sacred duty to respect, preserve, and sustain the animals, plants, and inorganic resources of the Earth was revealed to the Muslims 1400 years before the term "human habitat (environmentalism)" was coined in the West. Allah has revealed, "Behold, thy Lord said to the angels, 'I will create a vicegerent on earth.' They said: 'Wilt Thou place therein one who will create mischief therein and shed blood?' ..." (Surah Baqara, ayah 30), for, unfortunately, man has been learning the hard way the lesson that wanton exploitation of natural resources leads to irreversible destruction."