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Roben Kosek Jazz & Blues: News

The weather outside is - frightful? - February 4, 2012

Well, February is upon us already, but for the last several days it's mostly felt like spring. Watching the weather forecasters scratch their heads and grin nervously about this "great" mild season, it's obvious they're not totally sold that its a good thing to skip winter. Europe and Alaska are being dumped on big time, while we wonder if we should stow our snow shovels, wear light clothes or heavy.
Of course, I got really good snow tires in early November, having been caught in the first snowstorm in Vermont and New Hampshire without them. Now that I think about it, I remember telling friends that that was enough snow driving for me to last the whole winter. Hmm, maybe I have some kind of power I didn't know I had...
So as much as I get tired of snow and ice and cold by mid-January, this weird record- breaking weather creeps me out a bit, as I have read articles written by experts/scientists for decades predicting this kind of thing if we didn't change the way we do things. Well, we havent, and the predictions are coming true. Earthquakes, floods, melting glaciers and ice caps, more extremes in temperature and precipitation, weather patterns reversing - the end of predictable, seasonable weather.
The results will be less water, particularly drinking waterl, less clean air to breathe, more insects and disease, more difficulty growing food in the south and west, decimation of several species of animals and plants that depend on weather cycles and interconnections in the environment, etc.
I don't know if we should hope for more snow or not. We always get dumped on in February so it will be truly creepy if February is as dry and mild as January. I guess that is when I will start to wonder if the Mayans were really predicting climate change and all the problems arising from it when they said 2012 will be the end of the world as we know it.

So I should probably go back to singing "Let It Snow" and make up a parody - "I'm Dreaming Of A White Winter". After all, water is the number one requirement for life on this planet. If we keep screwing it up, we are all in trouble,

A quick reminder - The Flurry (Dance Flurry) is February 17-19! Go to for info.

Happy February!

Occupy your Holiday! - December 2, 2011

Fed up with the crass corporate commercialization of the winter season's celebrations? With Halloween being advertised in August, Thanksgiving in September, Christmas in October and now at the end of November, a 50% off sale on Christmas items, with Spring clothing decking the racks? It's enough to make you swallow those purple pills for all the social and pyschic anxiety created by feeling you're in a time warp and never quite in sync with the culture.
You ask rightly, "Culture? What culture?" Well, the culture of Consumerism, Materialism, the Bottom Line, "I'll get what's mine" culture.
Let's occupy our holidays, our traditions, our celebrations, our values, our beliefs and our SOULS, and JUST SAY NO to this major and malicious manipulation of our weaknesses. Don't buy stuff because you saw a flyer advertising 40% off. Don't look at the flyers. Don't go in the malls.
Go home, walk around and write down everything you have; organize it into categories. When you're halfway through, see how much you have and see if you really NEED anything else. Take a break, sip some coffee or tea or eggnog and realize how much you have to be grateful for; how the important parts of life are not things we can buy in stores. Friendship, family, love, health, music, dance, nature, children, home.
And speaking of home, why not put our money into helping those without homes for the holidays, instead of buying more stuff we don't really need. Watch " The Story Of Stuff" online to get a real consciousness-raising about our consumptive practices. Check out the book, "Plastic Ocean" while you're at it, to see why we really need to live consciously and intentionally. Don't buy the notion that you aren't helping the economy if you aren't out shopping. Our government spends $2.1 million a minute on war. Think about that the next time they say we can't afford to fund health care, education, social services, infrastructure, green energy programs.
Occupy yourself and make this the year of reclaiming your life and your power to choose how to live it!

Hard Rain's Gonna Fall * - September 9, 2011

My heart goes out to the people who have been suffering from all the devastation caused by tropical storms and hurricanes, as well as wildfires and drought. As in all the other tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes that have affected so many around the world, we have to acknowledge the interconnection of everyone and everything on this planet and the effects we have on it and each other.
With these disasters and the radiation danger in Japan that is spreading from the earthquake and ensuing nuclear power plant breakdown there, I hope our world leaders and more importantly the citizenry of this world awakens to the urgency of living consciously and carefully in a global ecosystem. We must do everything we can to tread much more carefully on the earth.
We need to relearn the 3 R's again; reduce, re-use and recycle. Use less, need less, want less. Share more, care more. Be grateful more. Look outward and ahead more. Live simply so others may live. Educate and arm ourselves with information and compassion and determination to work for good and what is best for those who come after us.
Hydro-fracking, mountaintop removal, nuclear power plants and oil pipelines are not the way to protect our children and grandchildren's futures. Neither is runaway consumption and unproductive endlesss war driven by short-term greed and a corporate and military industrial complex.
Let's really push against those who would destroy for profit and join in pushing forward those who can lead us to a sustainable and healthy future for our one and only earth.

Spring??? - April 9, 2011

Yes, it is spring, and we are prepared to go wild and celebrate the return of green, birds, flowers, outdoor festivals and farmer's markets, kids concerts and cafes with the windows and doors open, fresh cool breezes and warm light sunshine!
Have a ball, see you soon, and welcome spring and summer!!

People Have the Power! - February 14, 2011

What a wild and wacky winter we have had this year! Climate chaos is upon us, with heavy and deep snowstorms in all the wrong places, wind that knocks your socks off, thundersnow and deep cold along with brilliant sun. And then the chaos erupted in Egypt, and the people won their freedom from a 30 year old dictatorship, in a matter of 18 days! Led mostly by the young, with the aid of high tech communication and social networking, this historic event amazed the world and showed us all that people really do have the power to change things, when they are committed and working together. Now it spreads, this need to throw off the shackles of old and outdated ways of living and governing, and become inventive and creative with new systems and new forms of government.
The world has changed and hopefully will never stop changing, along with the human species, who can only hope to stay organic and full of possibility for the future.
I don't know if you can tell, but I'm psyched and excited by these wonderful upheavels of humanity! I sang Patti Smith's anthem, "People Have The Power" at our gig on Feb 11th at the Flavour Cafe in Troy and it felt so good to be singing a victorious and positive political song! We so need these times of inspiration to counteract the persistence of war and poverty, corruption and disillusionment. Thank you young Egyptians, for lighting the fire under your citizenry, risking your lives and having the courage and the patience to hold on to your dreams. May you continue to stay strong in the hard struggles facing you in setting up your own democratic form of government and being a beacon of hope for the rest of the Middle East.

Holidays and Lights in the Fog - December 21, 2010

What a crazy year it has been - hopes for change dashed, economy and health care still blitzed, wars zooming on like comets, politicians still getting caught with vixen - and then, out of the fog appears a light, beaming harshly and shockingly on the truth - Wikileaks, leading the way to the people, showing the rich, the mighty, and the warmongers with their pants down. But do the people shout with glee, saying to Julian Assange, "You'll go down in history, for shining the light on the dark murky truth?" No, the corporate press makes him out to be a traitor, a dangerous muckraking insubordinate who should be sought out and stopped. Even most average folks don't buy this easily, so out of nowhere we hear of charges against him for sex abuse, brought by two women from Sweden. Gee, this is better than the Simpsons!
Really, folks, when will we ever learn? If the planet doesn't just implode from climate chaos, the powers that be will try to make sure we stay confused so they can do what they want with us and the earth's resources, mainly, hoard them for themselves and their insatiable appetite for power.

Here's hoping 2011 will bring something better and good from the majority of the people on this earth who have too much power. Maybe wikileaks is the beginning of a new awareness that will lead to freedom and forced honesty from those who sit in power. We all need to keep our lights shining on them! Happy Holidays and let's give peace a chance someday soon, yes?

Beyond Halloween and the elections! - November 1, 2010

I don't know about you, but I for one am greatly relieved to have Halloween over, and the elections too, as of tomorrow. What a combination - too much commercialism and adult fouling of one of my childhood favorite holidays; too much scary, angry, tired crappola from the ever-more creepy political contestants with their pandering, muckraking, lying, exaggerating, littering the landscapes with signs and the airwaves and our phones with incessant advertising.
I will vote Green as I always do, glad there are some sane, sensible, decent candidates to vote for who aren't beholden to any one except their loyal followers. Check out the Green party platform and think about voting next time for candidates you can believe in, instead of candidates you know are controlled by special interests.
Anyway, I am busy with music and loving it, and Dangerous On Decaf, our trio, is continuing to have fun and grow little by little every gig we play. We really appreciate our friends who keep egging us on and we hope to keep making new ones!
Stay warm and watch out for the nasty high fructose corn syrup that's out to get us! It's in everything processed, so if you want to be healthy, stick with the most basic and natural food and drink out there. We want to see you out there having fun with us for a long time to come!


Summertime and the livin' is greasy... - June 22, 2010

We have been doing well, but not so the ocean we continue to spoil with our lack of foresight, caution, wisdom and humility. Only when the crisis is in our face do we seem to care and realize that materialism and greed are unhealthy for all living beings. How much pollution will it take till we know that clean healthy systems are gold?
Anyway, I am feeling the need more and more to sing political music as well as fun, danceable music that gives us some balance and relief. So that's what you can depend on when you come to see us.
We look forward to a busy July and may take part of the month of August off!
Swim clean, don't cook in the sun too long, enjoy the summer!

It's Spring! - May 12, 2010

It's spring - the farmer's markets are outdoors, the earth is smiling with flowers, greening with grass and trees and erupting with veggies and herbs!
We will be all over the place, from Schenectady to Delmar, Troy to Albany, Stephentown to Schaghticoke. Never enough time to do all there is to do, but we are having fun doing what we can!
Hope you all have a great spring and summer and we'll see you at our gigs and maybe the GottaGetGon, Old Songs Festival, or Falcon Ridge. No, we're not performing at them, but yes, we will be playing and having fun along with everyone else!
Enjoy the sun and puddles!

Steady as she goes... - February 21, 2010

Dance Flurry wonderful and over, super cold coming to an end, where's the snow - oh yeah, in the south, no such thing as climate change - (denial is a river in egypt!) Music Together with those toddlers saving my sanity as always, having a lot of fun with Dangerous On Decaf taking shape, back to Planet Fitness (the no judgement zone!) standing for peace on fridays with a few Schenectady neighbors, continuing cleaning out clutter, (Gawd, who knew there was so much?) loving the farmer's markets, loving my friends, nothing like a warm bed on a cold night, playing ukelele, rehearsing Bach's Mass in B Minor with 100 plus others, what a trip - when did corporations become people, why do we have a Supreme Court in a so-called democracy - looking for the resolutions I misplaced - megabus to NYC is great and affordable - NYC is a blast! People's Music Network conference was dynamite- looking forward to going to the Dulcimer Fest in Latham, a children's music workshop at Lesley U in Cambridge MA, a women's singing retreat in April, NEFFA festival later, perhaps- and then, GottaGetGon and Old Songs...mmm, mmm, mmm, life can be sweet when it's filled with music! Happy birthday Mandy & Joyce!

Happy New Year - Here's to Eternal Hope! - December 31, 2009

I am making and hopefully not breaking some New Year's resolutions. I want to learn to speak Spanish at least enough to get by, knit and crochet maybe, get in better shape, always; practice more and play music with more people for fun and money, stay as healthy as possible, have fun as always, and just live love laugh and learn! Not too much to ask, right?
I hope we can evolve as a species
and get the idea of non-violence as a way of life into our collective heads someday. Wouldn't that be something? Imagine....

Giving Thanks - November 28, 2009

I am grateful to have the privilege of sharing music with others, leading children and parents in music and movement classes, playing with friends and other musicians, singing Bach in a choir, and finding out that music and movement is so healthy and good for our bodies and brains. I thought it was just fun all those years I was growing up!
Hope we see you around at a gig or two, and that we can all remember to be grateful to wake up every day and know we pretty much live in a place of privilege in this world. Let's keep trying to get a little greener too, for the next generations and our own health!

A Fast and Full Fall! - October 13, 2009

Wow, things are flying around in the wind, and I'm one of them! Life has been hectic, but good, and I have a nice big Music Together class in Saratoga keeping me hopping and dancing on Mondays, as well as two in Clifton Park on Thursdays and one in Schenectady on Fridays. Those little folks are what keeps me going, and I feel so lucky to have them in my work and life. As my husband the chimney sweep tries to keep up with the annual demand of people getting ready for the snow and cold, I am trying to keep it together while learning music for children, for my duo, "Dangerous On Decaf", for an occassional band date with Steel Street Rose, and for the Burnt Hills Oratorio Society and our concert performing JS Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" with orchestra and soloists! Then there's the last of the outdoors farmer's markets and looking forward to some new venues...
Keep warm, drink some cider to celebrate the season, play no tricks but savor some treats, and stop by and see me sometime!

Music Together Of Saratoga - September 3, 2009

Exciting news! I will be directing my own Music Together site in Saratoga Springs, beginning October 5th 2009. I will offer 10 and 11am classes for newborns to 5yr olds and their caregivers. The classes are 45 minutes each, and the semester will run for 10 weeks. I will offer two free demonstration classes on Sept 21 at 10 am and Sept 28 at 11:15 am. Look for upcoming publicity and details about this, and tell anyone you know in Saratoga with infants and toddlers about it! For more information, go to

6 song sampler cd coming to a place near you! - August 12, 2009

Hi Folks,
Because I began recording a new family cd and because I will be singing at a Vets For Peace peace conference this weekend, Aug. 15 and 16
( I decided to make a sampler cd of political parodies to sell at the conference and while I am continuing to record. I have had requests to record my funny stuff and political stuff, so I am doing that at the same time. I will have these 6-song samplers on hand at my gigs, asking donations of $1 - $5 for them. Hopefully there will be a full-length cd in the near future, on which these may appear, either the same or fancier. The songs are:
1.George Bush, Goodbye
2.All Of Me
3. Little Boxes
4. Waking Up Is Hard To Do
5. Crime After Crime
6. Home On The Earth
They are suitable for adults and adolescents. Let me know if you are interested by speaking to me in person, or emailing me at
Thanks and have a happy August!

Bye Bye July! - July 30, 2009

Wow, almost August already!
Well, Wednesday the 29th the rain held off for my kids concert at the Troy Riverfront Park and a good time was had by all. However, it came down in buckets in the evening but that didn't stop us from having a good audience and a great time at The Moon and River Cafe in downtown Schenectady. Linda Hartman and I debuted a bunch of songs we'd been practicing together, and though it was hot and muggy, we were given a response for our efforts! We will go with the name "Dangerous On Decaf" from now on when we duet, compliments of friend Alice's casual comment during a giddy coffee conversation. Hope to get Chrys Ballerano to join us next month at the Moon and River to turn it into a trio for a few songs at least!
Have a good weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing the musical "Rent' tomorrow at Proctor's theater in Schenectady.
peace and keep on!

Summer of Cool - July 22, 2009

We had a wonderful performance in Harvard MA of "Come Round Right" the dance Marta Renzi choreographed with her Project Company dancers, along with 10 young dance students from the area. The rain held off until after we had cleared the forest site, so we felt blessed. We had some nice pre- PR, including this piece from the Boston Globe -
Summer has been cool, sunny, rainy and beautiful in my book. I love biking 7 miles every morning without feeling drenched in sweat, but I am hope all the folk festivals don't get rained out!
My friend Linda Hartman and I are cooking up a mix of blues, jazz, jug music and folk. We have decided on a name for our particular blend - Dangerous On Decaf! - so expect to see that name floating around in the future as we try to break into some new venues as well as our familiar spots.
I am also excited to announce that I will begin work on a new family cd and hope to have it well before the holidays. And a new partner in children's music may be appearing on the horizon for me...keeping my fingers crossed!
Please tell your friends with small children in Saratoga to stop by Caffe Lena's on August 23 at 3pm for a children's concert of wonderful Paul Strausman music, performed by myself and Andy Morse, and a few other surprise guests. Proceeds will go to the Strausman family college fund.
Enjoy the rest of July and see you around the Capital District!

Accompanying dancers! - June 15, 2009

I am truly honored to be singing and playing some guitar, dulcimer and banjo for a brand new Marta Renzi dance project entitled "Come Round Right" to be performed June 28 at the gorgeous Fruitlands outdoor museum in Harvard Mass; September 6th at The Yard in Martha's Vineyard, and September 20th at the Natural Bridge in North Adams, Mass. Three generations of dancing girls and women, appalachian music, and a play party game! At the Fruitlands it will be performed in the woods, at the base of an amazing giant tree sculpture in the shape of a woman, named "Oracle". To top it off, my daughter is one of the dancers! An interesting, fun and enriching experience for everyone involved. Thanks to Marta for the opportunity!

I am also pleased to be exploring some new forms of performing with my friend Linda Hartman. We played some new pieces at the Moon and River Cafe recently to enthusiastic applause and were excited to see what our weekly practice sessions yielded. A couple of jug music songs, a parody, a jazz number, a couple of instrumentals with banjo/ guitar, and lap dulcimer/ guitar
were among our new numbers.
Looking forward to our next time out, and we might even take it to the streets!
The farmer's markets are thriving and still lots of fun to play music at so don't forget to stop by and share in the local bounty of food, friends and music, at the markets and cafes and have a wonderful summer!

A Pleasant Surprise! - May 2, 2009

Wow, look what I stumbled on -
thanks Greg Haymes of the Times Union for the compliment!
The sounds of '08
Music community offers high notes of the year

First published in print: Thursday, January 1, 2009
I shared my opinions about my favorite music of 2008 last week. Now it's time for some Capital Region musicians and music scenesters to weigh in.

...Favorite Capital Region CD of 2008: I always have a hard time picking favorites, but Annie and the Hedonists' new CD, "Good Old Wagon," and Terri Roben's "The Path We Make" really stand out for me...

(He listed many other Capital region artists and cds, but to be mentioned is such an honor!

Spring! - March 18, 2009

The mallards are mating, the breeze is almost balmy, the shoots are showing, the sprouts are greening. Must be spring, dare we hope?
Come and share some musical good times at the cafes and coffeehouses, farmers markets and libraries and support local music and venues, while escaping the madness of tv!

Longer Days A-Comin? - February 24, 2009

Well, the days are getting longer, if not warmer! Winter is real this year, with lots of snow, ice and wind but we will get to spring, yes we can!
The farmer's markets have been bustling and the music has been lots of fun. Despite the economic and world bad news, there is much to be grateful for and to enjoy while we wait for the easier and warmer days to arrive. Keep on pushing and persevering and we will all get there, by and by! As the fire department sign I saw today said, "Tough times don't last but tough people do!"

Some fresh air! - January 29, 2009

An exit plan for Iraq, equal pay for women, a stimulus package for the economy, a mass transit shot in the arm, controls on lobbyists, beginning to shut down Gitmo, and that's just in the first couple of weeks! Many things to be grateful for, but mainly a new president who is fluent in English and has brains!
Hope the winter weather takes a vacation soon! Stay warm and keep on singing and supporting your local businesses and artists!

Brrrr!!! - January 10, 2009

Hope everyone had a fun and enjoyable holiday. Happy New Year and may it be a heck of a lot better than the last one, for the planet and for all of us!
Now we are in the deep freeze, the part of the year that many of us in the northeast wish were a month or two shorter. Ah, to be a snowbird. And by the way, how do those little birds who come to my pitiful birdseed-scattered deck survive out there anyway? It's hard enough inside, with a furnace!
Well, come venture out when the cabin fever gets to you, and have a cup of something hot at a local cafe or farmer's market, while catching me or someone else playing their hearts out for you!
See you around, and keep warm!

Don't let the turkeys get you down! - November 21, 2008

Well, let's be grateful for this new incoming administration, or at least for what it stands for. Let's be grateful for the planet and all the life on it, and our good fortune to be a part of it. And let's be grateful for the eternal hope that is the good part of our humanity, that shines a path in front of us and gives us the strength and imagination to continue in the quest for peace and understanding in this patchwork quilt world of ours. Who knows, maybe there will be a woman president someday, now that we have broken through the race barrier!
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Let's hope for no tricks this election! - October 28, 2008

Hope you all are able to stay warm and comfy in the cold days coming. Based on fat birds and early snow, it looks like we may have a lengthy winter to remember, with the election of a new president and all the changes we hope that brings. If we're lucky, we'll see the beginning of lots of green businesses sprouting, growing many new job opportunites, and replacing excessive consuming with some thoughtful and smart conserving. I recommend Frances Lappe's book, Get A Grip for some inspirational ideas.
Maybe we will start thinking more globally, keeping our interdependence with the whole world community in mind.
We could think about how to give more and buy less this holiday and every day, particularly in regards to who really needs our money. Wal-Mart, Wall Street, or people on reservations, refugee camps, prisoners of conscience or local non-profits...?
Hope to see you around the cafes and farmer's markets.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,
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