1. Catching up….

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    Billie & Mingus in the Studio

    It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch; thanks for your patience, and thanks to all of you who emailed to see what we’re up to.

    We’ve been cloistered in the studio for this first quarter, working with wonderful clients and new projects, and it’s been a thrilling and creative time. In the works are a followup album to Joël’s Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands (which we’ve just learned is a nominee in the New Age category in this year’s Independent Music Awards! Read more here); another collection of modern interpretations of the Great American Songbook, to follow up the award-winning American Sampler; and new explorations in original songwriting, composition, and sound design. Joël continues to produce music licensed widely for film, television, web, and ambient settings. (If you need music for a website, a fine arts production, or commercial purposes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us; you may be surprised at how affordable it can be.) 

    We recently finished collaborating once again with filmmaker Guillermina Zabala. Read about it here.

    We’re back performing again, starting this weekend with a showcase at South by Southwest. See details here

    We’ve also welcomed two new additions to the Mandala Music Production family: puppies! Sibling boxers Billie (as in Holiday) and Mingus (as in Charles) arrived all the way from Wisconsin in January and have brought great joy and laughter to home and studio. They’re in training now, and the process of shaping their behavior (and ours) in positive ways is keeping us on our toes. They’re enjoying meeting many of our studio clients and are doing well in puppy class.

    As always, thank you for keeping in touch with us and for supporting our work and music. We wish you love, joy, health, happiness, and beautiful music!

    Peace & best wishes,

    Bett & Joël

  2. Friday, March 14: Poet Laureate Short Film Project Screening

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    We recently collaborated with filmmaker Guillermina Zabala and actress/musician Azul Barrientos on music for another short film (see Joël’s prior Artist Foundation-funded collaboration with Zabala here). Supported by the Department for Culture and Creative Development (DCCD) and Three Chord Media, seven area filmmakers produced short films based on poetry by San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla. Join us for a celebration of poetry, film, and music. A reception will follow.

    Filmmakers - Poems
    Ray Santisteban - “The Storykeeper”
    Daniela Riojas - “Warning”
    Guillermina Zabala - “Yanaguana Woman”
    Ya’Ke Smith - “Marked”
    Erik Bosse - “Feeding You”
    Joey Fauerso - “Rattlesnakes”
    Jim Mendiola - “Aqui”

    Poet Laureate Short Film Project Screening
    Friday, March 14, 2014, 6:30 pm
    Say Sí, 1518 S Alamo, San Antonio TX
    Free and Open to the Public

  3. Saturday, March 15: Bett Butler/Joël Dilley Group @ SxSW

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    We’re honored to be chosen once again for a showcase at South by Southwest in our favorite Austin venue, the Elephant Room. Joining us will be premiere Austin drummer Mike Koenning and percussionist Nina Rodriquez. The evening ends with a performance by Stanley Jordan; see the full schedule here.

    Bett Butler/Joël Dilley Group @ SxSW
    Saturday, March 15, 8 pm
    The Elephant Room, 315 Congress Av, Austin, TX 78701
    Admission with SxSW wristband
    www.sxsw.com

  4. MANDALA MEDITATION SERIES: LULLABY OF THE FLATLANDS Nominated in the Independent Music Awards!

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    We’re delighted and honored to learn that Joël’s latest CD has been nominated in the New Age category of the 13th annual Independent Music Awards. 

    Voting is now open through July in the Vox Populi/People’s Choice portion of the contest. We’d greatly appreciate your vote for us here. Just scroll down to Joël’s entry and click on “Login or Register to Vote” on the right. (You’ll have to register, but they won’t spam you.)

    You can preview Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands on iTunes here. CDs can be ordered directly from our online store at www.dragonladyrecords.com. You can also check out music videos from the album at http://www.youtube.com/MandalaMeditation.

    Thanks for your support!

  5. Thursday, October 24: Chicks Dig Jazz @ Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe

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    A note from Bett:

    Carmen’s de la Calle owner Paula Sullivan poses to us the question, “What do chicks dig about jazz?”

    The answer is manifold: the opportunity to engage with skilled players in a musical conversation; the challenge of instant composition over a harmonic form; the satisfaction of supporting others with a strong musical underpinning as they solo; the joy of melodic flight; in short, the adrenaline rush of the risk, as saxophonist/composer Steve Lacy describes it: “Risk is at the heart of jazz. Every note we play is a risk.”

    This will be our last scheduled public performance together in San Antonio for the rest of this year, as Joël and I embark on some very exciting projects which will keep us holed up in the studio, along with performances out of town. We’ll also be saying farewell to the stellar performance venue Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe, which will close its doors at the end of the year. Owner Paula Sullivan has been instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing nationally-acclaimed jazz to the local audience, and we wish her well as she embarks on her next venture, which is bound to be exciting. Stay tuned….

    (If you missed hearing drummer Kevin Hess trade solos with percussionist Nina Rodriguez in our set at the Texas Jazz Festival last weekend, here’s your chance.)

    Chicks Dig Jazz
    featuring Bett Butler, Nina Rodriguez, Joël Dilley, Kevin Hess
    Thursday, October 24, 8:30 pm
    Carmen’s de la Calle Cafe
    720 E Mistletoe Ave
    San Antonio, TX 78212
    210.737.8272
    $10 at the door

  6. "I caught the happy virus last night
    When I was out singing beneath the stars.
    It is remarkably contagious
    So kiss me.”
                   ~Hāfez

  7. The night is generous
    it can give you
    a gift of the full moon
    it can bless your soul
    with endless treasure
                   ~ Rumi, Ghazal 947 (translated by Nader Khalili)

  8. "Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river."~Jorge Luis Borges

  9. "Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls." ~Khalil Gibran

  10. "We are surrounded by secrets hidden in plain sight.”~Joël Dilley

  11. Join us at Jazz’sAlive Saturday, September 21st, 2:30 pm

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    We’ll be playing music from our latest albums, along with some of our favorite jazz classics, in a high-energy set with Austin saxophonist Paul Klemperer, the inimitable Kevin Hess on drums, and guest percussionist Henry Brun. A portion of vendor proceeds benefit the San Antonio Parks Foundation, whose mission is to provide enhancements to city and county parks which improve the quality of life for all citizens.

    Tune into KRTU 91.7 fm Thursday, Septermber 19th, 11 am, when we’ll talk with host Kory Cook about new music and our upcoming Jazz’sAlive set.

    Listen Thursday, then come on out on Saturday; it’ll be a great hang! 

    Bett Butler & Joël Dilley @ Jazz’sAlive
    featuring Paul Klemperer, Kevin Hess, & Henry Brun
    Saturday, September 21, 2:30 pm
    Travis Park, San Antonio TX
    Free
    www.saparksfoundation.org/

  12. Coming Saturday, October 5: “Every Story Tells a Picture: A Night of Music, Video, & Conversation at the Esperanza Center

    We’ll celebrate Joël’s new album Lullaby of the Flatlands with a live concert and music video premiere at the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, Saturday, October 5, at 7 pm, featuring musicians Bett Butler, Azul Barrientos, and Nina Rodriguez. The evening will include the premiere of a new work by filmmaker Guillermina Zabala, inspired by Joël’s music and funded by a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio (www.artistfound.org).

    Intrigued by the narrative power of music, Joël always writes with a story in mind. He is fascinated by how that story may change drastically once it reaches the ears of the listener. His compositions, assigned to various music libraries, have been used to enhance story in TV and film, commercials, documentaries, cooking shows, and more. In each case, the client’s story is central; music is used only to enhance it, like illustrations in a book.

    He decided to turn the tables. Funded by a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio, he partnered with award-winning filmmaker Guillermina Zabala in a video project where, instead of the story determining the music, the music itself determined the story.

    In the project entitled "Every Story Tells a Picture," he invited Zabala to choose from five music tracks from his upcoming album Mandala Meditation Series: Lullaby of the Flatlands, hear her own story, and translate it into film. The track’s title and original story weren’t revealed to the filmmaker until after she had formulated her own scenario. Says Zabala, “As a filmmaker I felt immediately connected with the cinematic aspect that is so integral in Joël’s music…. What truly fascinated me about this piece of music was its dichotomy: While calm and serene, this musical track also carries inherently a sense of wonder, confusion, expectation, and even fear. Its movements are extremely subtle. They are like subliminal messages that touch you, just strong enough to make you fly, expectant and in peace and then, at the end, surrounded by joy.”

    The resulting music video, “A Night in December‚” will premiere Saturday, October 5, during a live concert at the Esperanza Center. Pianist/vocalist Bett Butler, percussionist Nina Rodriguez, and vocalist/guitarist Azul Barrientos (who is also featured in the video) will join in performing music from his new solo album. The audience will be invited to engage with the artists in a conversation about the project and about storytelling with music and imagery.

    The concert will also feature music and video from Butler & Dilley’s Mandala Meditation Channel on YouTube  (http://www.youtube.com/MandalaMeditation).

    Please join us for an evening of beautiful sights and sounds!

    Every Story Tells a Picture: A Night of Music, Video, & Conversation
    Saturday, October 5, 7 pm
    Esperanza Center for Peace & Justice
    www.esperanzacenter.org
    922 San Pedro Ave (off West Evergreen)
    San Antonio TX  78212
    Suggested donation: $5

    View a video preview on YouTube here.

  13. :: Introducing the Mandala Meditation Channel on YouTube ::

    A great deal of our work at the studio involves sitting at a computer for long stretches of time. We’ve always known instinctively that frequent breaks are good for creativity, and we found ourselves searching for a place where we could escape from a given task momentarily with beautiful thoughts, sights and sounds.

    The Mandala Meditation Channel on YouTube came out of our own desire for a peaceful, positive place in the virtual world where we could take a five- or ten-minute break in the middle of a stressful work day. With music from the Mandala Meditation Series and our limited film editing skills, we’re engaging in a virtual collaboration with videographers, photographers, and artists from all over the world who have generously made their work available under a Creative Commons license to create short videos that we hope will brighten your day.

    Please check out our first two videos, String of Tranquility and Morning in Tibet (above). Additional videos are in the works, and our first professional music video, directed by filmmaker Guillermina Zabala and funded by the Artist Foundation, will premiere October 5th in Every Story Tells a Picture: A Night of Music, Video, & Conversation at the Esperanza Center (click here for more info). Subscribe to us on YouTube here, and we’ll keep you informed as new videos are up and running.

    We hope the Mandala Meditation Channel will become a place you’ll visit frequently and share with friends, family, and co-workers.

  14. "String of Tranquility" is the first in a series of videos on the Mandala Meditation Channel, offering a peaceful place in the virtual world to rest and renew. Subscribe at www.youtube.com/mandalameditation.

  15. Coming Saturday, August 24: Joël’s LULLABY OF THE FLATLANDS

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    We are proud and happy to announce the release of Joël’s latest album Lullaby of the Flatlands, Saturday, August 24.

    This is the first release in the Mandala Meditation Series, a new offshoot of Dragon Lady Records: affordable music for meditating, relaxing, concentrating, thinking, walking, running, driving, flying, working out, dancing, living, loving, creating, and all the other stuff we do every day. (A note from Bett: I’ve lived with this music in my iPhone over the past year, and it’s helped me stay calm and focused in some pretty stressful situations.)

    A solo effort a year in the making, Joël wrote, arranged, produced and performed all the music on acoustic, electric, fretless, and piccolo basses; piano; keyboard; guitar; drum loops and synthesizer programming; percussion; celtic harp; and accordion. He explains his storyteller’s approach: “I’ll have a narrative in mind, place myself in that emotional moment, hit the record button, and improvise. I think in terms of voices rather than instruments and try to find the voices that will most effectively tell the story.” (Read Jim Beal Jr.’s interview with Joël in the San Antonio Express-News here.)

    Those voices range from worldly to ethereal, from the soothing cathedral bells of the title track “Lullaby of the Flatlands” to the energizing temple drums and lighthearted whistling of “Morning in Tibet” to the joyous South African rhythms of “Happy Song.” Listen to sound clips here.

    Lullaby of the Flatlands will be available from iTunes, CDBaby, Bandcamp, Rhapsody, and other online providers. A limited number of physical CDs are available from our online store at www.dragonladyrecords.com, where we’re celebrating this new release by pricing all of Joël’s CDs at $10 for a limited time.

    We’re making the title track “Lullaby of the Flatlands” available free from http://joeldilley.bandcamp.com/track/lullaby-of-the-flatlands. Click “buy now” and enter 0 in the “name your price” box. We hope you enjoy it!