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The Rayna Sense
59 minutes | Dec 23, 2020
Big Thoughts in Small Spaces (feat. Catherine Glynn)
Catie Glynn started off as a mentor of mine, but I quickly recognized in her a friend and fellow performer whose work and spirit I respect a great deal. Based in the picturesque little art town of Lanesboro, Minnesota, Catie shares the story of The Root River Anthology, a play she originally began writing for the stage in memory of her father, and adapted as a lyrical, musical, whimsical radio play in response to the pandemic lockdown. It was recorded rather creatively in closets and on iPhones, and the Commonweal Theatre Company Resident ensemble and the members of Catie's theater company, A.R.T. (Audacious Raw Theater) are the featured voices. The music is by composer Eric Carranza. We flex and flow in our conversation, meandering through metaphorical waters both calm and turbulent, finding moments of delicate and profound wisdom along the way. I hope you'll feel as restored as I did listening to this conversation here on The Rayna Sense.
59 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
A Little More Looseness (feat. Eric Carranza)
My guest today is Eric Carranza, a gifted musician, artist and educator based in the Lowertown district of St Paul, Minneapolis. In our conversation, he reveals how his ancestral language of Spanish poured forth somewhat spontaneously in him as he was writing a recent piece of music for his project Root River Vibes, even though he barely spoke it before. We allow the moment to take us where it will, dancing and flowing with subjects including spontaneity and improvisation in art, and how we might all do well with being in the present, and having a little more looseness in life. It's all coming up right here on The Rayna Sense.
62 minutes | Sep 2, 2020
Do By Doing (feat. Max Bent)
My guest Max Bent and I must have known each other in a past life. We've never spoken before this conversation, but we don't miss a single beat. Calling in from Baltimore, Maryland, Max is many things: beatboxer, deep thinker, spirit man and music teacher of gifted artist James B. Good, featured on an earlier episode of this show. We waste no time in getting into a big, easy flow, touching on subjects including mystical numbers, making meaning in music, learning by doing, and the sacred silent space in between two beats. Heavily influenced by hip hop, Max surprises me by performing "Hinei ma tov" live, a traditional Jewish song sang in Hebrew in a reggae style and looped live on his loopstation. Max translates the meaning of the song as “It's so good to be here together.” I agree.
69 minutes | Aug 12, 2020
Rough Edges (feat. Shraddha Hattangady Mehta)
I meet a LOT of people in my life. Several of them tend to be eccentric, offbeat, apart from the mainstream. Some of them are also creative, musical, funny, artistic, wise and deep. But few of them have grabbed my attention right off the bat, from the get-go, as immediately and undoubtedly as my guest today. Calling in from Ahmedabad, the capital city of the state of Gujarat in India, Shraddha Hattangady Mehta is a versatile, sensitive singer with emotional awareness, spiritual depth, and strength of character that blows my mind. She's open, honest, blunt and bold -- my kind of woman -- and, I'm guessing, yours too. This podcast is the first time we've ever spoken and the experience for me was profound as I learned about how she's navigated life's breaks and blows with grace, humor, wisdom, self-acceptance and gratitude. Without further ado, here's the conversation you didn't know you were dying to hear. Featuring the song "Rangi Sari Gulabi Chunariya," an ode to a beloved pink sari sung by Shraddha in the dadra style, a light vocal form of Hindustani classical music.
73 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
First Farter (feat. Sophie Crafts)
Have you been putting off a burning desire? Are you afraid of being judged negatively, of not being "good enough?" My guest today is the thoughtful, eccentric and utterly creative accordion player, street performer and world-travelling puppeteer Sophie Crafts, of Sophie's Smokin' Squeezebox. We speak about her journey into street performance, the massively understated worth of getting oneself out there messily, imperfectly and quickly, and Sophie introduces me to the hilarious and highly useful theory of being a First Farter. (Yes, you heard that right. No, it isn't a typo.) She also shares a personal story about her wake-up moment to race relations, white privilege, and taking intentional action. I hope you can find a little tidbit of wisdom just for you right here on The Rayna Sense. Featuring the song Stayin' Alive with Sophie on accordion and her marionette Sylvie on bells and percussion.
69 minutes | Jul 14, 2020
A Great Pattern (feat. Nancy & James Burrows)
Has life ever thrown you a curveball? James Burrows was born with perfect pitch, and autism. Today I speak with his mother Nancy in Baltimore, Maryland, about the incredible musical journey James has had with the support of his whole family: from how his gift showed up in infancy, had him eating meals only in the car because the sound of the refrigerator compressor would startle him, finding the perfect mentor in an up-and-coming local beatboxer, graduating from high school during a pandemic, and being featured on NPR. James joins us on the interview briefly towards the end, talking about synesthesia and doing an impressive mental scan of his entire SoundCloud catalog to pick out a tune that features his current favorite note, F#. The episode includes two original tunes by James: This Connects to my Happiness, and A Great Pattern. It's a timely story of acceptance, resilience and adaptability, right here on The Rayna Sense.
65 minutes | Jul 8, 2020
Pieces of Us (feat. Diti Kotecha)
It's Plastic-Free July! My guest today is Diti Kotecha, co-founder of the sustainable, vegan, eco-friendly plastic-upcycling initiative Thela, which she runs out of Athens, Greece. She is one of the few people in the world I know who REALLY walks their walk, standing firm in her values and beliefs without being rigid. Her company rescues discarded plastic bags, turns them into plastic yarn (or "plarn"), and uses traditional techniques like crocheting and weaving to make gorgeous, useful stuff like housewares, pouches, purses, jewelry and accessories. Not only does she significantly delay plastic from entering landfills, but her work also helps revive traditional handicrafts in the state of Gujarat in India, provides respectable employment to village women, waste collectors, skilled artisans, senior citizens, and prison inmates; saves cattle and other roaming animals from choking on waste plastic; and educates collaborators and consumers around the world on how to REALLY live a more sustainable life. I couldn't be more proud to count her as a friend, and have her as an ally for the planet. I hope you're inspired to make a change by this special episode of The Rayna Sense.
68 minutes | Jul 5, 2020
The Best Version of Me (feat. Kaajal Badlani Choppra)
What were you like when you were young? It's been over a decade since I spoke to my guest today, my cousin Kaajal Badlani Choppra. We were kindred spirits as kids and, while our lives have changed wildly since, nothing about our deep connection has. We delve into the past, discover so many forgotten and untold stories about ourselves and each other, exchange mutual admiration for the courage, boldness and madness that's a signature for strong women in our lineage. Kaajal shares parts of her tumultuous journey into herself: hard truths, honesty, healing, and growth. She's my people, and so are you if you're here with me on The Rayna Sense.
72 minutes | Jun 26, 2020
The Great Letting Go (feat. Walter Sickert & Edrie Edrie)
My guests today are the psychedelic, intergalactic, time-and-space-travelling love warriors and sparkle-fiends Walter Sickert and Edrie Edrie, of long-standing Boston art house band Walter Sickert and the ARmy of BRoken TOys. Their stage shows are legendary: bizarre and delightful and dark in equal amounts, with a badass band family of the most stylish and gifted circus freaqs you'll ever see. You should definitely check out their massive catalog of music on Bandcamp, and also check out Bunker Buds, a nightly freestyle quarantine show they stream live on Facebook from Witch Castle. We go deep fast, like old friends, talking about the importance of joy and silliness especially in dire times; about pipe cleaners and space bats and tribe-finding and love healing, and both Walter and I share aspects of ourselves that we haven't really done publicly before. Featuring the song Whole Way Down from the Toys album Come Black Magic. It's one weird trip coming up right here on The Rayna Sense.
72 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
Bring Your Floaties (feat. Anthony Avila)
"Bring your floaties, cuz we goin' deep!" My guest Anthony Avila calls in from Tucson, Arizona. We met a few years ago at an, ahem, "business conference," which was basically a weekend festival of self-development nerds, and got along right away. We've been meaning to talk ever since, and it took me starting a podcast for that to actually happen because, well, life. Yet we dive right into the deep end without missing a beat, as if we'd known each other all our lives. Anthony is quite an extraordinary person, as you'll discover, especially in his dedication to help other grown men and male-presenting youth get to know and express their feelings. It's all warm and wet and fuzzy, coming up right here on The Rayna Sense.
69 minutes | Jun 23, 2020
Hold The Line (feat. Jake Tringali)
Establishing a good connection is hard. Holding on to it sometimes feels impossible. I talk with my guest Jake Tringali, aka Jake the Poet, about finding and holding on to connections (and also, letting them go). We broach the subjects of childhood slights and insights, names changed intentionally and accidentally, and he shares the story of discovering the Iceland Phallological Museum—essentially, a dick exhibit—and how he chased his dream of making a contribution. The show opens with the improvised mandolin tune “Little Ditty” by Jake.
81 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Mean Streak (feat. Lisa Said)
Oh my goodness there is SO much I can say about this episode. Lisa and I go way, way back: not just years, but probably lifetimes. She's a cool cat, a true punk, a moody and marvelous purple Egyptian queen with attitude, sass, and the wisdom that comes with age and scars. My sinistah twisted sistah from another mistah joins me from Lisbon, Portugal, and we have a BLAST exploring our dark sides, our shadow selves, our mean streaks honestly and openly together. If you've ever wondered what it's like when mischievous witches meet in secret, well, this is it. Featuring the song MEAN STREAK by Lisa's former band Piramid Scheme from their 2020 EP "Seen This Before".
57 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
The Devil’s in the Doodle (feat. Brett Davey)
PR pro Brett Davey is somehow simultaneously warm as a hug and cool as a cucumber, especially under pressure. We talk about door-to-door salesmen, the appropriate age at which to start wearing Velcro sneakers, his time in front of a grand jury, and his failed career as an ice-cream truck driver. We even talk about the weather, a topic I only reserve for special occasions. It’s all a delightful mess, coming up next here on The Rayna Sense.
51 minutes | Jun 13, 2020
Groove is in the Heart (feat. Nat Hefferman)
My guest today is Nathaniel Hefferman. Nat and I share a love of playing in bands, of embracing change and taking chances and getting past perfectionism to find the fun in creating stuff and putting it out there for others to enjoy. We swap musical origin stories, theorize about instrument personalities, and talk about the bliss of being out of our heads and deep in the zone when improvising. And finally, Nat shares a song from a VERY creative audiovisual project he made from 0 to 100 in a single weekend, involving him playing 10 different instruments in 10 different outfits while his wife was out, because this is the kind of joyful mischief that makes brass band players tick.
60 minutes | Jun 2, 2020
The Noise in our Head (feat. Meghna Vakada)
Several attempts to establish a clear connection fail, so my “wise of heart, light of spirit” guest Meghna Vakada and I roll with the punches: going deep in spite of—or thanks to?—the disturbance in the force.
49 minutes | May 30, 2020
“La Partida” (The Parting) (feat. James Gerke)
A soothing, rambling chat that touches on many things lightly, from ASMR mics and Bakelite telephones to living in the woods and avoiding the “should” trap. James plays an accordion tune about lovers parting, and Rayna mourns the lost art of slamming down the phone receiver.
55 minutes | May 26, 2020
“This Is Not Kugti Pass” (feat. Kruti Saraiya)
Adventure and wisdom come in many forms: from high mountain passes crossed in school sneakers, and lonely tears shed on a dusty street in a foreign land. Listen in on my convo with feisty goddess Kruti Saraiya on this episode of The Rayna Sense.
58 minutes | May 22, 2020
Vegetable Vendor / Fig Tart (feat. Mom!)
A tech test inadvertently turns into a first episode! The sounds quality is very poor (lots of scratches and drops), but I LOVED this spontaneous chat with my mom about her unlikely, long-standing relationship with someone she's never met in person. She also recalls a dessert I made on the fly many years ago that she stressed about at the time, but has thought about fondly ever since. Mom rocks.
1 minutes | May 20, 2020
The Rayna Sense
The Rayna Sense is a weekly podcast that features freeform conversations with eccentric guests about the very big stuff and the very little stuff. Hosted by Rayna Jhaveri.
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