Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show

by Jean Rohe

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Henry Wilson
Henry Wilson thumbnail
Henry Wilson The vocals on this album are incredibly expressive. The lyrics are singularly well-chosen. Umbrella in particular is stunningly happy, perhaps one of the the happiest songs I've ever listened to. Favorite track: Umbrella.
Christoph Steinrücken
Christoph Steinrücken thumbnail
Christoph Steinrücken It was just the New Year that I discovered "New Year"! That should be...
I'm very glad to hear this! Favorite track: New Year.
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05:31
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03:11
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05:44
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04:07
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03:37
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about

Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show was produced collaboratively with Jean's long-time artistic partner, Liam Robinson (Becca Stevens Band), and mixed by Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Anaïs Mitchell). It is a travelogue, relating stories in several languages from her lone journeys through her city and beyond. The eleven songs on the record blossomed from melodies heard outside apartment windows, excerpts from Jean's journals, snippets of poems, and street vendors' cries. Much of the arranging came together through an exploratory process with her 8-piece band, comprised of Richie Barshay, Christopher Tordini, Ilusha Tsinadze, Skye Steele, James Shipp, Rogério Boccato, and Liam Robinson. Physical copies of the album are accompanied by companion essays for each song, enfolded in a custom designed package by Ilusha Tsinadze and Melanie Ida Chopko.

credits

released November 27, 2014

Jean Rohe – mandolin, guitar, lead vocals
Ilusha Tsinadze – acoustic and electric guitars, dobro
Christopher Tordini – acoustic and electric bass
Liam Robinson – accordion, keyboards
Skye Steele – violin
Rogério Boccato – percussion
Richie Barshay – percussion
James Shipp – vibraphone and percussion
And everyone sings.

Ljova Zhurbin – viola on 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11
Dave Eggar – cello on 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11

Tony Hdez – radio announcer on 4

All songs by Jean Rohe
Produced by Jean Rohe & Liam Robinson

String arrangements on “Fisherman”, “Pacific Street”, “Water”, and “O Bright Star” by Liam Robinson.

“Who Shall...” incorporates part of a Russian children's song in translation, “May There Always Be Sunshine (Пусть всегда будет солнце)”.
Field recording in “Umbrella” from Uskudar, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011.

Recorded by Chris Bittner at Applehead Studios in Saugerties, NY
Additional recording by Oliver Straus at Mission Sound, Brooklyn, NY, and Aaron Nevezie at The Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, NY.

Mixed by Todd Sickafoose at Earycanal

Mastering by Alan Douches at West West Side Music

Illustrations by Melanie Chopko
Photo by Jen Painter
Layout and design by Ilusha Tsinadze

Humble gratitude to the bearers of the folk traditions from which I've drawn so much inspiration for this music.

Thank you Liam, Ilusha, Chris, James, Richie, Skye and Rogério for making the music. Your skill, creativity, collaborative spirits, and dear friendship mean the world to me. It's the dream band and so much more: kitchen staff, garden party, event planning agency, entertainment department, legal aid, mental health services.

Thanks to my family for their unwavering love; to Andy and Nicole for providing provisions; to Yggdrasil and its inhabitants for hosting so many rehearsals; to Melissa (and Timor and Marquette) for sharing the war room; to Lizzy for the car loan; to Becca for the No Work guitar; to Tony, Vitor, Rogério, Julia, Ashley, Skye, Jake, and that guy on the train for language help; to Andy, Liam, and James for reading the essays; to Melanie for her keen visual translations and fierce belief in the music; to Nitzan for helping me stay on track with loving nudging and support; to the Blue Mountain Center for the gift of stillness.

Thank you to the venue bookers, radio Djs, concert inventors, and friends who made space for this music to have a life in the world.

Thank you, Ima, for saying yes. This whole process would not have been nearly as good without your help. You show me how to live the life every day.

Thank you, Spilo, for being ever by my side, even when I'm no fun to be beside. You're the real deal and I love you.

www.jeanrohe.com

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about

Jean Rohe Brooklyn, New York

“A sure-footed young singer-songwriter,” in the words of The New York Times, Jean Rohe has been captivating audiences for years with her one-of-a-kind narrative songs. Her writing concerns itself as much with the internal world as with the external. Her latest record, Jean Rohe & The End of the World Show, won three Independent Music Awards in 2014. ... more

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Track Name: Umbrella
Umbrella

We come from a place where the rain never fell;
Can’t you see the sun straining at the empty well?
The clothes were always drying out on the laundry line
And it was always picnic weather but our mouths were parched and dry.
We were thirsty all the time.

Now, Noah had a house where God kept knocking on the door;
Can’t you hear him hammer away on his two by fours?
We all thought him harmless but unusual, too,
and all the children loved his polar bears, giraffes, and marmosets
Oh, his goats and his kangaroos.

Then, so it was, a great miracle came.
First, we saw the lightning and then we felt the rain
And as the children danced and moistened their tongues
That’s when we first saw that man
Alone beneath the falling rain
He silently surveyed the scene; oblivious to the revelry he called out singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…

The man held aloft an object we had never seen before
A thing to keep us dry in our first downpour.
But no one paid him mind, no one paid him any heed
And all the people marveled as the dirt made mud beneath their feet
Oh, the mud beneath their feet.

Then, so it was, the waters began to rise
And for days the rain kept falling down from the sunless skies
And as the children shouted, searching for air
Our neighbor Noah sailed away—we saw what kind of guy he was
He never turned a tender eye to the people screaming, babies crying, and somebody singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…

I’ve been called a skeptic and I’ve been called worse
And they say the sins of humans brought the water curse
A sinner and believer as I stand before you now
In the power of a peddler to spare our lives somehow
Oh, he saved our lives somehow.

Then, so it was, we floated on for days
In our overturned umbrellas, braving rain, and wind, and wave
And as the people shouted, sighting the shore
We knew we’d found the way back home, that God could not just kill us all
Though Noah’s stony heart was cold, but those who love this life of ours
Will always find a way to live it, long as there is joy and awe and somebody singing:

Umbrella umbrella umbrella umbrella…
Track Name: La Coqueta
La Coqueta

Una copa más de vino
Una botella más
No jires aún los ojos
No mires pa’ atrás

Cuando tú me llamaste
A través de tu canción
Fue cuando tú me atrapaste
And you didn’t let go

And I always get my way
In a tug of war
And I won’t let you forget
What you’re pulling for

Oh, the quickness in my hips
A flash of tongue between my teeth
Cómo yo te encontré
y cómo me perdí

la la la la la

Te traigo una semilla
Y un caracol
Pa’ que nasca en tu pecho
El mar y el sol

No dejes de hablarme a mi
My clever words, my hands, my face
Dáme todo lo que puedas,
I’ll let you win this race

(Another cup of wine
A bottle more
Don’t avert your eyes
Don’t look behind

When you called me
Through your song
Was when you trapped me









How I found you
And how I lost myself



I bring you a seed
And a snail
So that the sea and the sun
May flower in your chest

Don’t stop talking to me

Give me everything you can)
Track Name: The Fisherman
The fisherman heads out by moonlight
Leaving the city behind
The music in the bars is still playing
And the shanty lights illuminate the yellow line

"Vem, menina, vem," he calls me.
"O mar não te vai esperar
As cores da água se mudam
com as transformações do luar

Vivo do pescado
Morro da pesca
Mas minha vida não é só pescar
Conheço a paciência das estrelas
Conheço os caprichos das ondas
Conheço a graça dos ventos
E eu sei que há sal e há solidão,
Que cada dia o sol vai raiar de novo
Eu sei que há sal e há solidão,
Que cada dia o sol vai raiar..."

The boat wears its early winter mornings
In the chipping of its paint and its wood
Silver nets hang down to be mended
Bridal veils for mermaids he would catch if he could

"Tão velhinho sou," he smiles
As the waves shift the sand along the shore
"O mar já viu todos os meus dias
E um dia destes vai levar toda a dor."

Vivo do pescado
Morro da pesca
Mais minha vida não é só pescar
Conheço a paciência das estrellas
Conheço os caprichos das ondas
Conheço a graça dos ventos
E eu sei que há sal e há solidão,
Que cada dia o sol vai raiar de novo
Eu sei que há sal e há solidão,
Que cada dia o sol vai raiar..."

(“Come, girl, come,” he calls me
“The sea won’t wait for you
The colors of the water change
With the moonlight’s transformation

I live on fish
I die by the fishing
But my life is not only fishing
I know the patience of the stars
I know the playfulness of the waves
I know the gracefulness of the wind
I know that there’s salt and loneliness
That every day the sun will rise again
I know that there’s salt and loneliness
That every day the sun will rise”







“How old I am,” he smiles
As the waves shift the sand along the shore
“The sea has seen all my days so far
and one day soon it will take all the pain.

I live on fish
I die by the fishing
But my life is not only fishing
I know the patience of the stars
I know the playfulness of the waves
I know the gracefulness of the wind
I know that there’s salt and loneliness
That every day the sun will rise again
I know that there’s salt and loneliness
That every day the sun will rise”)
Track Name: Red Rover
Red rover, red rover (Send your best one over) (4x)

If you ever come to my side of the town,
You will know me by the jewels in my crown
I am the princess, I’m the mattress, I’m the pea
I can charm the stripes right off a bee
All of the little children want to play with me
All the ladies want to take me out to tea
All the gentlemen want my company
And the sailors want to row me out to sea

CHORUS

You can see it in the sparkle of my eyes
That I wander through this world without disguise
It’s in the fire of my convictions when I fight
And the quiet of my breathing in the night
I will rewrite all your philosophy books
And rival all the city’s famous cooks
Run a marathon and never break a sweat
And some other things I might live to regret

CHORUS

You will tell me everything I want to know
About your dreams and your life and where you’ll go
And our laughter will bubble up to the skies
You will lie awake at night and not know why
When you ask me to marry you I’ll say no
I got oceans to leap, orchids to grow
But by then you will have rearranged your life
And left your job and your mortgage and your wife

CHORUS

But one day I will wake up and realize that I have grown older
The beauty of my younger days has gone to find another one
A shiny shock of flowing hair was traded for a rocking chair
For feeble knees and raspy wheeze, still you have to admit that there’s
A force that draws you to my side, attraction that you just can’t hide
A fire burning in my eyes and something sneaky in my smile
Now it all makes perfect sense that they were jealous when they said
A woman like that will come to no good.
Track Name: Pacific Street
Some people like their alcohol
They drink too much and then they call their gods
As they walk down Pacific Street
They stop beneath your window where
They laugh too loud and they pull their hair in anguish
‘Cause the world has made them weak
But mysteriously last night
Through the window came a streetlamp light
And with it came a singing voice, so sweet.
The moon, the stars, the autumn air
Some other drug, I don’t know or care but there she was
She sang angelically

No secrets here, I like to drink
I stay up late and I start to think of all
The other places I could be.
In Edmonton or Bamako
Somebody’s mom or all alone, a farmer
Or a seahorse out to sea.
Any memories of home
Start to sink beneath the barley foam
And swim around somewhere where I can’t see.
Then I’m unsure where I belong
And all that’s left is a wordless song that bounces
Off the brick walls back to me.

I do believe you’ll live a life
That’s long and sweet and each day rife with boundless
Whimsical cacophony.
And I will fall for other men
And leave for good or come back again, chaotic
And unlikely symphony.
But this moment all that’s true
Is a song I hear; you hear it, too.
It rouses us from sleep into a dream.
For just a while I feel the ground,
Our lives are joined, aware of sound, a matrimony
Made by melody.
Track Name: Who Shall Bring Him To See What Shall Be After Him?
May there always be sunshine, always be blue skies
Always be Mama, may there always be I.

Little child, your questions are enormous
And little child, my words don’t seem to satisfy
You ask, “Why was I born? Why will I die?
Oh, why don’t you know, oh why?”

Little child, your path is for the curious
The way is paved with rare and heavy stones
Far too many to turn in this lifetime
So the questions will only grow

Go ahead, I cannot follow with you
The stones are there to be turned by you alone
There’ll be happiness and much sorrow
For a boy who just needs to know.

And all I know for sure, nothing lasts forever
But everything that’s here has been here all along
Planets born of dust, and the moon pulls the tides along the shore
Suns will die, continents slide
And a heart beats in a chest
Pulse pumps an ancient tune
Music fills a room, till the people are singing, their dances ringing
Calling, oh they’re calling, to the silent sky.

Halla, halla, halla ya…

And all I know for sure, nothing lasts forever
But everything that’s here has been here all along
Planets born of dust, and the moon pulls the tides along the shore
Suns will die, continents slide
And a heart beats in a chest
Pulse pumps an ancient tune
Music fills a room, till the people are singing, their dances ringing
Calling, oh they’re calling, to the silent sky.

Don’t lock it up, now
Go and we’ll follow
Wash your head in the river
And call me tomorrow

And who shall bring me to see what shall be after me?
Track Name: Water
Birds tell of the coming flood
Clouds descend into fields of mud
The rain, the rain, the hurricane
Oh, the rain, the rain, the hurricane.

Give and take and the undertow
Arrive with your dinner or arrive down below
The salt, the roar, and the unseen shore.
The salt, the roar, and the unseen shore.

She who rocks you, she who can knock you down.

Late summer; the fields are cracked and dry
The river is low but the temperature is high
Oh, the river, the river, the life-giver
Oh, the river, the river, the life-giver

Count the steps from the village to the well
Count out your pennies or they’ll give you hell
Oh, the road, the road and a heavy load
Oh, the road, the road and a heavy load

She who rocks you, she who can knock you down.
And you so thirsty, you who’d drink her dry
Oh, there’s poison in her tears when the mother of the waters cries
You so greedy ‘till there’s nothing left to buy

Voda, paani, maya
Agua, agua, aqua, water
Maaji, una
Ob, su, nsuo, shue

Crystal bubbles flowing down the mountain
Better bottle it and sell it like your own private fountain
What’s mine is mine is mine is mine
What’s mine is mine is mine, that’s fine.

Turn the tap and you’ll hear a rush
Miracle of waters but you don’t listen much
To the water, the water to her sons and daughters
The water, the water talking to her sons and daughters

She who rocks you, she who can knock you down.
And you so thirsty, you who’d drink her dry
Oh, there’s poison in her tears when the mother of the waters cries
You so greedy ‘till there’s nothing left to buy
Track Name: Forget/Remember
Forget
Remember
I’m forgetting to remember anymore
Indispensable details of a human life
A line of years, months, and days
Family faces and places and names.

Tying a shoe
One loop then two
Gotta bring it around and pull it through

Forget
Remember
It’s a vicious tug of war between the two
But the less you remember
The more I forget how I could remember you

Forget
Remember
The piano and your tools upon the floor
The smell of your work shirt, orange marmalade
And the letter opener at noon
If I looked in your head would I find those things, too?

Body and soul
Which stays, which goes?
Ties are untied, the book is closed

Forget
Remember
Still, a song can fill your empty eyes with dew
But the less you remember
The more I forget how I could remember you.
Track Name: New Year
All the trees are bare and brown and the frost has covered everything
Be near me now
There are longer days awaiting in the new year.

As the hollow weeks wore on, still, the puddle on your pillow grew
Be near me now.
There are brighter days awaiting in the new year.

You will find the missing key (it shall be, it shall be)
And you’ll reveal the hidden door (it shall be, it shall be)
You will banish all the demons to a sparkling glow (it shall be, it shall be)
No one said it would be easy but you’ll find your way home (it shall be, it shall be, it shall be)

Oh, you raised your voices high and still the mighty shot your banner down
Be brave, my friend
There are peaceful times awaiting in the new year.

And the light within your eyes from the flame of life ablaze in you
Stay close, my friend
I will need you more than ever in the new year.

You will find the missing key (it shall be, it shall be)
And you’ll reveal the hidden door (it shall be, it shall be)
You will banish all the demons to a sparkling glow (it shall be, it shall be)
No one said it would be easy but you’ll find your way home (it shall be, it shall be, it shall be)

You will paint your palette green (it shall be, it shall be)
And you will mend the broken shoes (it shall be, it shall be)
We will walk into the sunlight of another broad day (it shall be, it shall be)
With our pockets full of juniper and nothing to lose (it shall be, it shall be)

You will find the missing key (it shall be, it shall be)
And you’ll reveal the hidden door (it shall be, it shall be)
You will banish all the demons to a sparkling glow (it shall be, it shall be)
No one said it would be easy but you’ll find your way home (it shall be, it shall be, it shall be)
Track Name: No Work
There is no work on these streets anymore
Where is the harbor for the weary?
Many are the nights my heart feels hard as a bone
A quiet drone.

I told him, “Don’t come back until you’ve found work.”
I told him, “I’m caring for your babies.”
Family’s far away, out on an island in the sea
Oh, mercy me.

He tells me it’s different, he tells me he’s changed
And I know that he’s doing all he can
But sometimes all he can is stumble home after dark
A burning spark

Once we had eyes that shone brighter than the stars
And we lifted them up into the sky
But now we are so tired from all the strength it takes to live
No more to give

There is no work on these streets anymore
Where is the harbor for the weary?
Many are the nights my heart feels hard as a bone
A quiet drone
All alone
A sinking stone
Track Name: O Bright Star
Some days I wake up in the morning
With a hole in my heart
There’s a hole in the place where my heart should be

And I think that I could be happy
I could plug it up and go on.
But on days when I wake with a hole in my chest,
it’s to hell with the future, the present, the rest
is the part that will matter until I get dressed
and it’s all I can do not to cry for the longing.

Those days, I wake up in the morning
With your face on my mind
There’s your face in the place where my mind should be

You are standing out in the pasture
In the light of shimmering stars.
On the days when I wake with your smile in my eyes
We are standing again under widening skies
Where I’m slowly removing my careful disguise
And I swear by my life, I could stand there forever

O bright city. O bright star.
I cry for water to heal my heart
Down, bright bucket, down deep well
Arms hold steady, can we pull it up full?

There’s a slick of oil on the ocean
There’s a war ablaze overseas
There’s a tide that’s tugging my body down

And there we are in the pasture
Where the words are leaving my lips
Even if it’s worth saying it can’t be unsaid
Still there’s no point in holding it till we are dead
Even if I might find myself pinned to the bed
Every morning from now till the end of forever.

O bright city. O bright star.
I cry for water to heal my heart
Down, bright bucket, down deep well
Arms hold steady, can we pull it up full?
Track Name: National Anthem: Arise! Arise! / Fanfare for the Weary (Digital ONLY-not on physical CD)
Atlantic and Pacific flow
The Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico
The land between sustains us all
To cherish it, our tireless call

Arise! Arise!
I see the future in your eyes.
To a more perfect union we aspire
And lift our voices from the fire.

We reached these shores from many lands
We came with hungry hearts and hands
Some came by force and some by will
At the auction block, in the darkened mill

CHORUS

We died in your fields and your factories
Strange fruit hangin' from the poplar trees
With an old coat hanger in a room somewhere
A trail of tears, an electric chair

CHORUS

Our great responsibility
To be guardians of our liberty
'Till tyrants bow to the people's dream
And justice flows like a mighty stream
Track Name: Nobody Told Me to Dance (Digital ONLY-not on physical CD)
They told me what to think, they told me what to do
They told me who to scorn and who to bow down to
They told me who was righteous and who could never win
They told me my defiance was tantamount to sin
And they told me what to say and what to keep inside
They told me to be obedient; there was nothing I could hide
They told me they were everything, everything I'd ever need
And they told me what I'd find in store if I ever disagreed, but

Nobody told me to dance (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to dance, it just started.

Rahmani wrote the music, Ibrahim sang the song
'Till they found him in the river with his vocal cords gone
But the fire was lit already in the hearts of everyone
And so we'll keep on singing 'till our victory comes:
Yalla erhal ya Bashar, yalla erhal ya Bashar
Yalla erhal ya Bashar, yalla
Yalla erhal ya Bashar, yalla erhal ya Bashar
Yalla erhal ya Bashar, yalla

Nobody told me to sing (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to sing, it just started.

Now we tell them what we want from every window, every door
Their lies and their barbarities aren't secrets anymore
We write it and we stream it, show it in our videos
We paint it and we play it until the whole world knows
And they wonder how we do it, how we brave their guns and tanks
With our ragtag band of singers dancing dabke in our ranks
Well, if I meet a reporter from the Times or BBC
I'll look him in the eye and I'll explain so he can see that

Nobody told me to dance (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to dance, it just started.

Nobody told me to sing (it just started)
Open up the door into the streets (and the clouds parted)
Feel the pulse of freedom move our hands and feet (open hearted)
Nobody told me to sing, it just started.