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Interview with
Doug Adams

Part II
(Part I is here)

by Lynette Harris
paintings by Doug!

What have you been doing since putting out Dark Fire?

Much of the last decade was very tumultuous. My personal melt down started around the time that Dark Fire came out. De Ann and I separated. The unraveling of our life together was a long and hellishly difficult process which ended abruptly and tragically with her death in December 2000. Death took other very close family members and friends. It was a time of deep inner exploration and questioning; an avalanche of emotions.

Regrettably, we never got good professional video or film of De Ann when she was at her peak. That was before someone was pointing a video camera at you everywhere you went, and film was very expensive for a couple of struggling artists. But after Dark Fire was released De Ann and I put together a documentary type video of her dancing called De Ann's Dream. All we had to work with was a collection of amateur videos taken by different people at some of our shows. De Ann's Dream is a collage of the very best moments that we could find from that collection. We edited them together to try to give people a glimpse of what it was like when De Ann was dancing. It's a beautiful remembrance of De Ann but falls far short of her impact as a performer. The movie Gamil Gamal has a few seconds of her dancing back when we were performing on San Francisco streets. That film has some of the very first music that became Light Rain.

After Dark Fire I kept writing music, but I didn't feel like I had a firm enough foundation to start on a big project like a new CD, so my creativity went into a huge variety of other people's projects. I did some work as a studio musician, contributing to over 25 albums and 2 videos.

I traveled to Oregon to work with Gypsy Caravan, playing on their album Migration, for which I wrote some music (Gypsy Rain). I went to Utah and joined forces with Allen Bachman of Desert Wind to co-write 'Desert Rain' for his album Sarasvati. Wonderful friendships were forged during these excursions. I flew to Los Angeles to make an appearance in Raven and Zephira's video where I actually dance in a sexy, romantic duet with Zephira to 'Moonrise' (from Dark Fire). Mesmera, in Los Angeles, and I have done a couple of fabulous collaborations and I always love going to Austin to perform with Lucila and her entourage. In fact I'm going to Austin to do a performance with Lucila and the Austin Dancers this February 22 (2003). Along with the show Lucila and I are going to be selling some of De Ann's costumes--the ones I can part with, including what she was wearing on the cover of Valentine to Eden. I don't think they should be hanging in the closet, they should be out dancing!

I've done yearly performances at the Rakassah Festival in Richmond, California and at the Chamizal Theatre in El Paso, Texas sponsored by Lorraine & Dance Alive. Dance teachers around the country have brought me in to play with their dancers and percussionists for a night of Light Rain music. I went to Seattle where I played for Delilah, and to shows in Phoenix with Yasmina and Albuquerque with Jennette Benadon. There's an annual belly-dance cruise to Ensenada that Light Rain has performed on (we're going again September). I love my job!

There are a couple of albums on which I sang some of my songs. One was Leaving Yesterday by the Highway One Ensemble, a beautiful acoustic album with a celtic feel. Another was Doug Adams & Dan Hayes-Blues Duo in which Dan Hayes and I play guitars and harmonicas and sing blues.

I wrote three songs that were recorded by Dr. Elmo of 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer' fame. Those songs are titled 'Bernardo's Serenade', 'Uncle Johnny's Glass Eye' and Chucky Got A Chainsaw for Christmas' (he he he).

Easter, spring 2002, I quietly celebrated what felt like a rebirth for me; like I am on the other side of a trial by fire and the phoenix is surging out of the ashes. I have new projects that I have been wanting to do for a long time that are starting to happen. There are some new Light Rain songs that I am looking forward to recording. One is "Secret Song", a guitar piece that I know that dancers are going to love. I want to do a "Light Rain"" version of one of the songs I wrote for Gypsy Caravan; "Gypsy Rain".

In conclusion I would like to say that Light Rain has been described as pioneers of World Beat music and, indeed, we were among the first American's to record our own, original music specifically for belly dancing. This was really as much an accident of fate as anything else (if you believe in accidents of fate). Many ingredients combined to make it happen; not the least of which were simply lust, love, a desire for magic and fun and an irresistible pull to the exotic. There was something else at play, though; something that I haven't written about before, but now seems like an important time to do so.

Underlying our boldness, or foolishness, to set off into something 'new' was a fundamental feeling that we, worldwide, are all of one family; that music knows no borders. Music truly is a universal language. And when you speak, hear, or dance to the language of music, borders can truly be dissolved.

Music is the language of the heart, and if the heart knows anything, it is love. As artists, as musicians, we can send messages across borders. I choose to send a message of love and of peace.

There are powerful forces at work right now that would convince us that war is good and necessary, that peace will be gained by violence, and that conquest will make us safe. I hear those voices---and I don't believe them.

When I first started playing for belly dancing the album I listened to the most was by an oud player named Munir Bechir. I don't know anything about him other than the deep soul that I felt on that recording--and that his home is Baghdad.

There's much I could say about the struggles the world faces now. There's much to be learned that requires research; the kind of information you will never, ever get on the evening news. It's helpful to do a bit of study of the cultures whose dance forms we love so, and our own country's interactions with those cultures. For now I'll simply say that my prayer is that the light of love will grow in the hearts of people here, in the United States, and that love will give us courage to say 'no' to the killing and conquest of our sisters and brothers across the world. I've always hoped that the music of Light Rain would, in some small, magical way, help build the bridges of understanding and peace.

Since the completion of this interview, Doug Adams has composed and recorded three songs that speak out against war. They are titled 'War Is Not The Answer', 'Ain't Gonna Fight Your War' and 'Contempt of Court'. The three songs are available on a CD from Magi Productions P.O. 356 Larkspur, California 94947 (415) 892-0181

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