Castro: Diamond Dreams
Castro, "Diamond Dreams"
iTunes is featuring a list of notable singers/songwriters of the early 21st century. I started listening to song after song on this list, group after group: I found the music to be unoriginal and uninteresting—but then I heard the band Castro sing "Diamond Dreams," a song from the group's first album, also called Diamond Dreams.
Castro is made up of two brothers, Jason and Michael, and their younger sister Jackie. Their voices are soulful, and their songs are lovely. Jason and Michael competed successfully on American Idol. Interestingly, they had never sung before college; their sister Jackie, however, began singing at age five, and she has sung all her life in churches and school choirs. Each member of the band enjoys different musical tastes, and they combine these different styles in unexpected ways. "Diamond Dreams" is a happy song, despite being about living in poverty; in the song, the singers do not know themselves to be poor "with their empty pockets and worn out jeans": because they have their dreams to sustain them, dreams worth more to them than diamonds.
The band writes about themselves on their webpage, and they give hints as to what their "diamond dreams" are. Jason writes: "Music has the power to transform a day, and the power to define a time. That’s our goal: to be that for somebody. To be the song.” One of their dreams, in other words, is to create transformative art.
The group posted "Diamond Dreams" on YouTube, and you can listen to the song here:
Here is a link to Castro's extensive website, filled with videos, photos, and songs:
And, finally, here is a link to the song on Amazon.com, in case you want to download it:
I could not discover whether Castro is the last name of these siblings, though I suspect it could be. Whatever the case, it is fitting that an American band would launch a band and call it "Castro" in the same year that America normalizes its relations with Cuba.
In the early 1990's, I bought a Jeep. The first weekend I had it, my buddy Mark and I drove it to Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. It was Memorial Day weekend. We took backroads—and, at high elevation, we ran into snowdrifts blocking our way south.
The map showed an unmaintained road veering off to the east, winding its way down Thousand Lake Mountain and into Cathedral Valley. We took it. It was sleeting, and the muddy "road" got steeper and steeper. Eventually, we careened to a stop in a camp of heavily armed, burly men wearing camouflage uniforms. My friend and I had left Salt Lake in shorts and tank tops. We dug coats out of our duffle bags, and asked directions and advice. "None of us are going back up that," one guy said, motioning to the muddy mess of road. "The only way out is to keep following this road down into Cathedral Valley, and on to park headquarters."
The road was one of the most spectacular I have ever driven. Barely the width of a car, the road hugged a cliff edge and looked down hundreds of feet into canyons below. The skyscape was a glory of lightening, sunset, and oncoming storm.
My buddy and I reached Cathedral Valley in last light and falling snow. We rushed to put up our tent before the full force of the storm hit. We built fire and cooked supper in a bitter wind. A blizzard raged around us all night, and snow half buried our tent.
We woke to bright sunlight. The majestic red-rock formations of the stone cathedrals in the valley—Temples of the Sun and Moon—stood surrounded by white snow and blue sky. We were snowed in that day, but hiked and explored on foot. The next morning, early, a park ranger came looking for us (we had registered with park headquarters before leaving Salt Lake). "You guys all right?" he asked?
We'd had the time of our lives.
The photograph, above, is of Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (Credit: NPS/Travis Lovell; used courtesy of the National Park Service). This is the ninth of twenty photos of National Parks that I will feature in this blog to honor the centenary of the National Park Service.