This is part of my meandering summer episode series, which don’t necessarily come out each Thursday, but rather when inspiration strikes. I might be in a cool café in London or an East Kentucky Holler when I record, or maybe just in my cozy living room drinking a cup of tea as I was for this episode.
I begin with a reflection on tours past and future, and share one of my zaniest tour stories from the road.
I then share my monologue from a project we’ve been sprucing up lately, the Cornbread & Tortillas Folk Opera. It’s about all the things my Granny taught me, including how to make cornbread.
I finish with a sneak peak from the new CornMaiz Stringband album, and a toast to all my friends!
CornMaiz String Band
Cornbread & Tortillas Folk Opera
Appalachian Flatfooting & Clogging Academy
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welcome to the what dreamers do podcast. i’m your host carla govan and appalachian musician flatfoot dancer, mama creative and dreamer from kentucky. i’m on a mission to inspire others to realize their dreams and live their most creative lives. grab your mason jar full of sweet tea or something a little stronger, and pull up a chair, because it’s time to get your dream off.
that’s what dreamers do. hey, there dreamers, i am happy to be back with you again, today. it has been a really busy season. and i am going into a slightly more erratic schedule for my podcasting. but i promise i will still be here with you, we’re just going to do a little bit of a summer schedule for the next month or so because i have a lot of shows coming up. and that has caused me to ruminate about something. you’ve heard me talk before on this podcast, or if you know me, you know, i really like to write down my intentions and manifest and i’m into all that stuff. and this touring that i’ve got coming up this year, because my band coordinates is going to, as i said, the uk and ireland, but then we’re also going to serbia, we just found out in august, and then later in november, we’re going to a festival in misha con mexico. and it’s a lot of dream come true kind of travel trips that i’ve wanted to take for years. and recently, this facebook status popped up from 13 years ago. and, you know, back when you first got on facebook, and you always talked in third person, or at least i did, because the prompt it would give you is, you know, carla go over is and you’d say you know washing her socks, or you talked about yourself in third person. so i put a facebook status they said carla go over is through her powerful mojo creating a musical tour of the british isles. now at the time, i was really dreaming of it. but i was i just gone through divorce, i had two little kids, i was working at starbucks, you know, it wasn’t really looking great. that time for me to do that. but i still i was like, i’m gonna write down what i really want to manifest. and i had forgotten all about it. but as these tours and the shows started to come together, that memory popped back up. and it just reminded me that not only number one, and i’m talking to you, is it important to write down the things that we want to do in our life, the things that are important to us the ways that we want to craft both the little everyday stuff and the big bucket list kind of goals. but that even when we do write them down, sometimes it just takes time for all the pieces to line up and everything to come together. so i guess it’s just a little bit of encouragement for me to you about not giving up when you have something that you’ve been wanting for a while. and it hasn’t shown up yet. don’t assume that it isn’t coming, just because it’s not here yet. i mean, think about it like this, when you place an order on amazon, you just forget about it, right? you just know it’s coming. you assume it’s coming. and then at some point, it’s on your doorstep, you don’t place the order with amazon and then like, oh my god, when’s it coming? is it still coming? is it really going to come? i don’t believe it’s really going to come you have faith in it. so that’s kind of the approach i’m trying to take with the things i’m creating in my life to just have faith. i’ve placed my amazon order. thank you very much. and now i’m just going to wait with positive expectation that is going to come to me. so anyway, that’s the little pep talk for today. like i said, i’ve been really thinking and planning this tour and what i want to take on it and just wondering what kind of people i’m going to meet when i’m out there on the road. i’ve been reflecting a lot about the people that i’ve met in the past and all my years of touring because i’ve been doing this folks for almost 30 years now. i’m telling my age there. but there’s always something unexpected. no matter where you go, no matter what the tour is. life always has little surprises for you. i was thinking about recently how my band back in the early 2000s toured for a whole month in denmark. and we stayed with a variety of people and places and locations and hotels. but this one really memorable place we stayed was on a farm in the countryside
with a danish pig farmer. it was a couple husband and wife and it was very different than the farms here. they were very focused on sanitary condition the pigs stayed inside all the time. it was wild. they were very colorful and interesting. i remember the farmer would get up every morning with breakfast and have a couple shots of aquavit, which is better squeeze some kind of clear liquor, i couldn’t hardly drink it, it’s really strong. but by golly, before he went out and worked with his pigs, he had him a shot or two. anyway, one morning, when we were there, we got up. and he comes in the room dressed as a woman and not like, i mean, he was really dressed as a woman for commitment, wig, makeup, shoes, stockings, everything. and this hadn’t been talked about. and, you know, we’re just confused kind of looking each other. and his wife kind of came in the room. and she was like, ah, yes, sir. good morning, you know, life is just his name was life, life, has some unusual interests. and that was about all that was said about it. we had breakfast and he went out the door got on his bike biked away, but i never forgot life, the danish pig farmer. and i’m wondering if we’re going to meet anyone like that in the countryside of wales or ireland, i hope so. because people that don’t, that march to the beat of their own drum are always more interesting to be around. and if you like stories like that, i did want to mention, you should go to carla grover.com. and hop on my email list because i really love to write to you i enjoy communicating with you in this means, but some things, i tell my email list that i don’t necessarily include on the podcast. so if you want to hear more stories like that, just go hop on the list, and i promise it’s not just another boring email, and you’re gonna get some goodies when you sign up, you’re gonna get my mountain mamacare package. so another thing that we’ve been working really hard on behind the scenes lately is the cornbread and tortillas, full gabra that i’m a part of, and it’s a really magical production. we just got to perform it in lexington, kentucky. and there’s a cast of seven. and we’re from all different parts of latin america and appalachia. and we’re adding a few things into it. we’re refining some of the process. and i thought i might just take a moment on this podcast, and do my monologue from the show. because it’s a bilingual folk opera. it’s a theatrical performance. and in one of my cast mates, marlon ovando, does a monologue about making tortillas with his grandmother and nicaragua and his mother and his sisters and brothers and his whole family. and i do a monologue about making cornbread with my grandmother. and so i know a few of my regular listeners of this podcast have been to a show, but many of you haven’t. so i thought i would just do my monologue as kind of the central theme of this show. and i hope that you all will enjoy it, and maybe get to come out and see us sometime because the theme of the show is about showing the shared traditions and connections between different parts of appalachia and different parts of latin america. and we tell that story through actual stories from our lives, but also through songs and through the platforming and blogging that i do and the ballet folklorico style from mexico, that one of our cast members, paulina does. so it’s a really beautiful experience, and i just wanted to give you a little taste of it. this is my cornbread monologue. my granny taught me how to do so many things. it’s hard to pick one as being the most important. pretty much everything you need to know how to do to take care of yourself or your family. she taught me. she taught me how to raise food, how to find food and the words and the fields and the rivers, how to dig roots and herbs to make medicine. how to sew and quilt and make dolls, how to sing, how to pray, how to grieve somebody you’ve lost when you loved him more than anything. she taught me how to listen to the trees to see if it was going to rain. how to watch the birds for news of deaths and births. how to heed my dreams for the warnings and prophecies they could give me. she taught me how to catch a swarm of bees and put them in the have how to raise chickens and ducks and geese. how to rock a baby when it’s firstly how to love somebody year after year for your whole life.
she taught me how to can and cook just about everything. fried apple pies rhubarb pie stack cake blackberry jam, apple butter ham gravy, green beans, shuck bean soup means pickled beans, pickled corn, sauerkraut, cute lettuce and anything else she could raise in the garden. so yeah, you could say my granny taught me a lot of important things. but i think the most important thing she taught me was how to make cornbread. see migrating believed in feeding people. of course everybody needs to eat but it’s more than that feeding somebody. when you make food for somebody, you’re not just keeping them alive. you take in a little part of your heart and a little part of your love and you’re mixing it up. if you’re giving it to him, and they’re eating it, and it’s becoming part of them, if he’s more than just the body when you cook with your heart, it’s kind of like medicine or magic. when you feed somebody, it’s just another way of living them. now honey, when i was coming up, there was just two kinds of bread, baskets and cornbread. there is a few people that knew how to make that bread, but it was rare. my sister lizzie learned how to make light bread and she got herself a husband out of it. your great uncle elder used to sneak up to the back door the school where she cooked, lizzie slipping loves a lot right out the back door. next thing you know he’d murdered her and took her off to miami and made a fortune in real estate. but most of us didn’t make light bread. we made an eight biscuits and cornbread every single day. i like both but if i had to choose just one or the other to eat for the rest of my life, cornbread would win hands down. i’ll show you how i make it. first off, you need your good cast iron pan and you don’t never wash it out with soap. you turn your oven up good time you put you some good grease in the skillet. bacon grease, butter, lard or all. just put plenty of it. start to heat in that skillet before you begin to mix up your dough. then think about your cornmeal. i always use white corn. some people use his yellow corn but i like that why you get you about two scoops out and put them in the bowl. now some folks put flour in their cornbread but i don’t use a drop. and don’t never put any sugar in there. that’s cake not corn bread. now sturdy and some salt baking pattern. pinch a saudi kraken egg in there and put it in a cup cup and half of buttermilk. you can use sweet milk if you don’t have buttermilk, but your cornbread won’t never be as good. don’t stir it too much, your dog will turn out tough. then your pants should be just about ready. you want it hot enough that when you pour the battery in, it just starts to sizzle and pop for that dough in there and then you put it in the oven. wait till it looks good and brown. then you grab it out and put it right on the table. slice it into that steam coming off of it. spread some good cow butter on it. my granny made so much magic in her kitchen in her mixing bowls in her cast iron skillet with her two hands and the love in her heart. and i like to think she passed on a little bit of that magic to me. my granny made the kind of cornbread you can only make if you’ve spent the last 80 years of your life making it day in and day out. so i watched and i did my best to imitate just how she did it. i make pretty good cornbread if i say so myself. it might not be as good as ali gilbert’s but i’ve not had any complaints. and i guess i must love cornbread even more than i realized because i named my daughter after it without even knowing i was doing it. her name is maisie, which is something else i learned from my grandmother. when i was a child, i asked her what was the oldest mountain name she knew and she said it was maisie. i love that name and i swore i’d have a daughter named maisie sunday. and i did when i was big and pregnant. instead of the middle name grace that i picked out for her. i heard a voice in my head saying mana, so i use that as her middle name. later, i took her to meet my sunday school teacher. she looks up and says well, maisie means corn and manna means bread. i guess you’ve got yourself a little corn bread. and i thought to myself, of course i do. and i’ve got my granny to think so that’s me talking about making cornbread with my granny and you can tell i turned into my granny there for a minute in the middle of it. so i do hope that you can come out and see us sometime when we’re in your neck of the woods. and i’m gonna let you go here but first i just want to mention our new chord my string band debut release.
depending on when you are listening to this episode, if you go to our website, corn maize string band, and that’s maize with m ay ay ay z coin, a string band.com. you can order our music and also some really cool merchandise. we had a folk artist named taylor rushing to design the cover and the t shirts and logo and stuff like that. and it looks really cool. it’s also very corny. i’m going to warn you in advance. there’s corn cobs everywhere because i’m kind of obsessed with corn. but we would love it so much. you know, it’d be so helpful. if you could go and preorder a little something for yourself. there’s a whole bunch of different price points. again, that’s corn maze stringband.com and just to remind you, i’m going to be on a slightly more erratic summer schedule for a little while yet. so if you want to make sure to keep up with these episodes, hit subscribe and that way they will automatically appear. wherever you listen to your podcasts. if you want to go leave me a review on apple podcasts, i would love it, it helps so much when you guys do that, if you feel like you have a minute to go and leave a review over there. and i am going to leave you with a little taste of one of the tunes from the upcoming corn maze album. it’s an original song by my honey yanni bozos and it’s called drink a beer. and it’s kind of a funny drinking song. even though he wrote it a long time ago, it just recently bubbled up to his the surface of his mind. and we decided to record it and it’s perfect because we’re planning you know, we’re playing a bunch of pubs when we’re in ireland. so we’re planning to sing it there and to do some toasts. so i’m going to leave you with a taste of the tune. and i’m also going to leave you with a toast. so a taste of the dune and a toast. i was alliterative and i didn’t even mean to be but here goes. the song is called drink a beer. and i’m going to raise a toast to all of you. there are good ships and wood ships and ships that sail the sea. but the best ships are friendships and shall they ever be days guys thank you so much for joining me this week. if you want to make sure you never miss an episode, please hit subscribe wherever you’re listening now. or visit my website to get on my email list at www dot karla dover.com when you sign up, you’ll instantly receive my milton mama digital care package, a bundle of music and videos to help you wring every drop of the heart of life. you’ll even find a dance lesson as well as my granny’s cornbread recipe with new goodies being added all the time. i’ll see you next thursday on the what dreamers do podcast
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Carla is currently based in Lexington, KY, ancestral lands of the Adena, Hopewell, S’atsoyaha (Yuchi), Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee), ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), and Wazhazhe Maⁿzhaⁿ (Osage) nations.
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