Just in – hot off the presses – a press release about Dave’s solo album, which, by the way, is awesome:
For Immediate Release:
Teacher Releases CD Based on Experiences Participating in BGSU Holocaust Study in Europe
This summer, Penta Career Center and Lourdes University teacher, Dave Harms participated in the Walking Witness: Civic Responsibility in the Shadow of the Holocaust Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad trip for educators. The study investigated Northwest Ohio’s living Holocaust survivor’s experiences. The participants traveled through Poland, Hungary, and Greece making stops in Aushwitcz-Birkenau, Gross Rosen, the Warsaw Ghetto, and Project Reise. During the trip, Dave Harms wrote the songs that would become Fall In Love With Me Again. “In order to mentally balance the intense and emotional studies of what happened during the Holocaust, I would write light songs about differences in culture or people and places we visited”, said Harms.
Dave Harms has been performing in Northwest Ohio for years as a founding member/ singer/ songwriter/ guitarist for alternative rockers Tinfoil. Over the years, Tinfoil has released music that could be categorized as punk, metal, alternative, and rock that maintain the Tinfoil sound. Even though Dave continues to be a member of Tinfoil, he is currently promoting his first solo album Fall In Love With Me Again.
“The Song Is Gone” is one of only two songs on the album written directly about the Holocaust. “We were studying in Przedborz, Poland where 75% of the population before the war was Jewish. Our guide explained that the people he grew up with, people he remembered, never came back. His father had hidden one of the Torahs from the Nazis and had it on display in the museum. It was really moving. Later we toured Birkenau and one of the exhibits was a collection of family photographs the victims left behind. A picture of three girls playing musical instruments caught my eye and these experiences blended into the song”, explained Harms.
Other songs highlight the differences in culture between Europe and America. “In Warsaw, I took a picture of graffiti that said “Moob.” Our guide explained that “moob” meant nothing in Polish and she believed it was ‘crazy talk.’ I couldn’t get the word out of my head as I walked around the city. I also couldn’t fit it into a song. Another Fulbright participant suggested using a type of Palindrome (words that are forwards and backwards). That is where the song idea for “Moob Boom” came from.”
“Rambling Soul” came out of a friendly competition between Fulbright participants. “As we traveled from Poland to Hungary in a bus, one of the other participants said I should write a traveling song. The entire song was written while bouncing on a bus through the Polish, Slovakian, Czech Republic, and Hungarian countryside.”
“Gyöngyi” was written in Pécs, Hungary. “I had been itching to play a guitar for weeks and found an artist coffeehouse style establishment that had a cheap acoustic
for patrons to play. When I started playing, I decided to write a new song. The place was relatively dead, but Gyöngyi was sitting at the bar alone. I wrote the entire song in that coffeehouse. Gyöngyi means pearl in Hungarian, but is difficult to say in American. It’s kind of a song about nothing…but maybe that is what makes it interesting.”
“Koloscian Paprika” was written in Kalocsa, Hungary which is famous for its paprika. “Paprika in the United States is usually sweet, but there is also spicy Hungarian paprika. The idea behind the song was to take the idea of both sweet and hot and apply it to a girl from Kalocsa. Koloscian paprika is an important ingredient in authentic Hungarian goulash”.
“Hollow” was written while Harms was on a walk in Krakow, Poland.. “One of the ways I processed what we learned every day was to take long walks alone. The song came to me as I was listening to the rhythm of my steps. The lyrics all came out during the walk and I recorded them into my phone as I was walking. The lyrics just flowed out as I was walking. Sometimes, the songs seem to find you instead of you writing them.”
“Blue Mascara” was written on the last night of the trip. “We were in Thessaloniki, Greece and I was on crutches because I had sprained my leg in Volos. I wrote the song at a restaurant on the water. I couldn’t move very well and I was seated at the end of a long table with the bus driver who only spoke Greek. Our Greek guide had blue mascara on that really highlighted her eyes. The bus driver, through an interpreter, suggested that I should write a song about the dinner. The song about the end of the journey.”
“Na Zdrwowie Piwo” was written on the last night we were in Krakow, Poland. “We spent two weeks in Poland studying and really felt comfortable there. The sayings are Polish and were taught to us by our guide. The song was written as a tribute to Polish culture. I was able to borrow a guitar and write this song in the hotel room before we started our journey to Hungary.”
One of the more unique songs on the album is a song called “Robobootie” which came about after Harms saw a Polish Men Working sign (Roboty). “For some reason, I thought it said Robobootie. I was looking inside a cemetery trying to get in. The gate was locked and the sign was in the distance. Robobootie struck me as very odd, and I decided to try my hand at writing a dance number. Later, we found out that I had misread the sign….but the name stuck. Knowing the sign meant Men at Work…I built work the dance floor into the song. I did a dance version on the bus in Poland, but when I played actual instruments, it took its current form.”
“The title track, “Fall In Love With Me Again”, came to me on the bus in Greece. When I got home, I almost scrapped the song because it only had two parts that were very similar. I usually have lots of chord changes and sections. I decided to finish it and started adding the different musical instruments. The arrangement really made this song shine”, said Harms.
The last track on the album is an instrumental called “White Rain”. “We were in Thessaloniki, Greece interviewing a holocaust survivor who had lived through Auschwitz. He explained that the Auschwitz memorial site we had visited was not representative of what he remembered from Auschwitz. He said when the camp was in operation there was no grass…only mud. He said you could never see the sky. From the sky, white rain was always falling. The white rain was the ashes from the crematoriums. I was asked to create a television show theme to play during the introduction that had a sad theme. When I completed the song and listened back to it, the quote about the white rain came to mind and it really captures the sadness and the feeling of flying.”
Currently, Harms is mixing out a Tinfoil reunion album called Donde Vas that features the original three members: Dave Harms, Dave Smith, and Cher Bibler. “The tracks are all completed. We are spending some extra time mixing and mastering it.” In addition, there are also more songs from Harms’ Europe trip. “When you do an album yourself, it is easy to keep working on all the parts forever. I wanted to have a deadline for “Fall In Love With Me Again”. Because of the deadline, I limited the songs to 11. I wrote 43 songs in Europe. The rest of them will be put in future projects.”
Besides music, Harms used experiences on the trip to design a curriculum unit for students. The unit introduces students to a framework investigating genocide applied to the holocaust, and then has students research and use the framework to explain other genocides. The unit was presented in September 29, 2014 at the Ohio Council of Social Studies State conference and October 10, 2014 at the Ohio Department of Education Social Studies Regional Leaders meeting.