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We Are Shangri​-​La

from Quartered: Songs of Palimpsest by S. J. Tucker

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S. J. composed "We Are Shangri-La" as a direct result of time spent and adventures had in the Black Rock Desert before, during, and after Burning Man, which is where she wrote the original poem which grew into this song. She dedicates it to all Burners, and to all those who dance with fire in any form. In this incarnation, she gives "We Are Shangri-La" as a celebratory anthem for the city of Palimpsest, which truly has much in common with the fleeting wonder that is Black Rock City, Nevada.

This is the single version of "We Are Shangri-La", the Secret City mix.


We raise and raze our city like the strangest house of cards, a ghost-breath mist of snow;
A ghost-breath mist of snow where no snow falls,
For we are Atlantis, and the town of Prester John.
Three weeks apart from never, we dance and do not fall.
We are Shangri-La.

History has dreamed of us. History has dreamed of this.
Those who know the way, many times return.
History has dreamed of us,
building up our city just to watch it burn.
We are Shangri-La.

We carry Goddess-dust upon our skin,
wherever we go, rising with bright feathers
in the Desert.
Blessed by the wind,
we dance, we thrive, we shimmer in the never-was.
We are Shangri-La.
Burn it down.

Relieving saddened sleep and fitful visions, we return.
We raise our city high, we watch our city burn.
We raise our city high to watch it burn.
Burn it down.
We are the mirage for those who dare to come and see.
The burning in our blood will set us free.
We are free.
We are Shangri-La.
We are Shangri-La.

Words and music copyright S. J. Tucker 2007-2009; all rights reserved. Spread it like the pretty plague it is, folks. Dance and enjoy.


from Quartered: Songs of Palimpsest, track released February 24, 2009
Programmed, performed and mixed by S. J. Tucker, Rolling Minstrel Ltd. Lead vocal tracked at Eagle Audio, Austin TX--special thanks to Ginger Doss.


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S. J. Tucker Perry, Arkansas

“Without our songs and stories, we are nothing.” S. J. Tucker has been captain of her own music career since 2004, when she left the workaday world behind to sing songs and change lives. Tucker is the voice of lore at the campfire and the sharp laughter of modern myth. With one hand anchored in her art and the other held out to us, she is songs and stories, community and wit. ... more


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