The Wizard

The Story

Of the songs I've written, this may actually be my favorite one.

It's about a wiiiiiild street peddler that I met in a plaza in Medellin, Colombia, on a nondescript Sunday in time. He was selling artisanry from a hinged wooden case that he would keep closed, then spread open as people walked by, avoiding the ire of the police. He gave me a tiger's eye necklace in exchange for a song, and the whole hour or so that I sat talking with him, I was completely transfixed by the depth of his eyes.

They were a light hazel, similar to the mellow tones of his skin. His hair was long, wavy and dark, with strands of gray that accented the veins of texture in his eyes. His eyes, eyes that burned life at everything they saw. He couldn't keep them from darting around the plaza, searching. They were always moving. He was a world. Every human is a world, but he was somehow more, and I couldn't shake the scene all day.

I went back to my hostel and wrote. I think I had already been playing with that intro part for a few days. I built on it, and the song just sort of spiraled out. To be fair it took another few weeks to actually finish it, but it was one of the few songs that have come relatively easily to me....

Notes on the Recording

This was one of the first songs I recorded on all open-source software. I used Ubuntu Studio and Ardour 2, plus a few little edits in Audacity (like the reverse cymbal at the beginning). I wasn't doing a very good job of improvising the harmonies, so I ended up using MuseScore to score the whole thing and read from.

The open source community is totally amazing! It should be said, too, that I donated to all of the projects that I used. I hope to write more about that soon....

One more funny fact: I had originally intended to somehow accomplish a full trumpet solo during the giant floaty ending of this song. Upon attempting and largely failing at a two-note trumpet solo earlier in the song, I decided I would just rip it on cello. Upon realizing that I had no idea how to improvise or otherwise play a meaningful cello solo, I decided maybe I'd do it on voice. Upon realizing that I just wasn't good enough to get what I wanted out of a voice solo, I just decided to beat on the drums a little to fill the space.


Beneath the bearded trees among the passers by
The Wizard drinks himself a calming lullaby
He earns a dime that buys him time
To paint a picture in his mind
Then he spreads his wings to fly

He's wise and world-knowing well beyond his years
A perfect portrait of a man beyond his fears
And in his world of wild and wonderful surprise
The Wizard spreads his wings to fly

And he flies
And in a wink I see the world in his eyes
The wizard spreads his wings to fly

And in his eyes I see a lifetime flicker past
Blurry colors in a bottle made of glass
Sixty years a day gone by
Now he spreads his wings to fly

And in the wrinkles in his face I see a man
Who's lived a day too long from someone else's hand
And as his castle in the clouds begins to fall
The Wizard spreads his wings
Of gold and multicolored rings
The Wizard shuts his eyes
and turns his face up to the sky
For one last time, the Wizard flies

And he flies
And in a wink I see the world in his eyes
And he flies
Through swirling clouds of rainbow colors will he rise
And he flies
Reading fortunes in a crystal tiger's eye
And he flies
Among the moonbeams he is sacred, pure and wise
And he flies....