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Hello there, cosmic cats. Welcome back to Music Land stories coming to you live from the origin point for all music and adventure stories in the known universe and some of the unknown ones. And we're here at the Music Land concert hall.


I'm your trusted narrator, the conductor, and it is so good to have you back. I know you've got stuff to do, but it was weird to leave me.


Here the whole time.


Or maybe I left you out there. It reminds me of the time I was supposed to play with the tribe called Quest, and they thought the show was in El Segundo, and I was sure it was at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. I never did get my wallet back. When we left Mo, she was faced with a choice in storytelling. We call this moment the call to adventure. In a song, we might call it the first verse, and Mo gets to pick the melody. Standing in a field outside the capital city of the planet syncopia were moe with the gnarly bone branches she was using as drumsticks, and the entire orchestra obscura. All twelve members and all their finest billowing robes in bright purple and yellow, embroidered with platinum threads that glow like the sun in the desert. Their shining metal instruments, brass and silver horns, dark mahogany cellos and guitars made of pale ash, keyboards carved out of meteoric plastic. Their leader, the great Toots uncommon, was ready to blow his mighty horn. But there was something missing. The orchestra had lost its drummer a year before. Krupican was a genius on the skins, but one day at a tour stop on Diogenes delta, he just didn't get back on the bus, or the spaceship, as the case may be.


Nobody knew what happened to Kuka Khan. Some people thought it was the end of the orchestra. They almost packed it up, back to their home planet on Osiris nine. But toots got them back on the road, and since then the orchestra had been without a drummer, a tune in search of a beat. Krupa left behind his drumsticks, and the orchestra carried them from planet to planet, hoping to find the right person, alien or other sentient sack of protoplasm, to take the drummer's seat. Toots listened to the out of control arrhythmia of this very whacked out planet. In the middle of it all was Moe, with her heartbeats playing a steady four on the floor, a pulse you could dance to. Toots uncommon asked Mo the question any young musician wants to hear from an expert, a titan, a legend of music.


Hey, kid, you play?


I told you that Mo was going to have to make a choice. But you don't make every choice with your head. Life keeps some vibration going there in your heart, and that's you. And if people find you can play, then play you must for all your life. In Mo's head, voices said, mom, dad, school. They called out the names of her sisters and brothers. They reminded her of homework assignments and chores. But in her hearts there were two beats, and the beats found their way to her hands and into the gnarly bone branches. Moe was banging out a killer rhythm on the trees and the ground, stomping her feet and clacking the branches together. She was lost in the beats of her own heart. She made her way around the circle of the orchestra obscura, drumming on their instruments and trilling to the bangs and clangs and hollow bodied thumps. She drummed a roll and a riff on Toots uncommon's own horn, which nobody, and that means nobody, was allowed to touch. And when the other branch broke, Mo reached for the nearest thing she could find, Krupa Khan's drumsticks. She started wailing away on Krupa's snare.


Mo forgot the orchestra was there. She kept going, and the drumstick started to glow in her hand, pale pink at first and then hot pink. The glow filled Mo's head with new patterns, new rhythms. She drummed faster and wilder than she ever had in her life. When she was all out of breath, she wrapped her epic solo up with.


A boom of the bat.


Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow. There wasn't a sound in the field. Even the breeze held its breath. Mo was embarrassed. She'd never played like that before. She handed the drumsticks back to Toots, and as soon as they left her hands, the glow went out of them. Toots uncommon examined the sticks. He looked Mo up and down, and then finally he spoke.


Members of the orchestra obscura, he said. It seems I have been woefully misinformed regarding the overall unhypness of this planet. At the very least, there are gems among the general population. You, tiny sister and child of the universe, most certainly play. Do you have a name?


Mo said.




Little Mo, said Toots. You are a little mo than what we expected to find on this generally barren bummer of a planet. It so happens we are in need of a drummer since the mysterious departure of my friend and mentor, Krupa Khan, one year ago. But I want to be straight with you, because in the orchestra obscure, we keep all settings at 100 and set the controls for the heart of the sun. This isn't a weekend tour. A seat aboard the orchestra is a long term gig, and I can't guarantee we'll be passing this way again. We would be thrilled to take you on board, but you've got to be sure.


Two tended mo back the drumsticks.


Take these with you, he told her. Our ship will rest here for three days to recharge. At the end of that three days, if you're sure, find us and we will sway you in as the drummer in extraordinary of orchestra obscura. If you decide it's not the gig for you, we will wish you all the best, and we will all continue upon our unique and elliptical orbits.


Mo took the sticks and tucked them into her backpack. There was so much she wanted to say to Toots and the orchestra, but she didn't have the words. Sometimes words just aren't the best way to say something. I once had a talk with my friend John Cage and we didn't say a thing for four and a half minutes and change. Best conversation I ever had. Moe took off running, her feet beating out a rapid fire rhythm along with her racing heart. She would have made it all the way home in a sprint, except that she ran into me. When I say Mo ran into me, I mean she ran smack into me, knocked her right on her butt and knocked her bag right out of her hand.


Krupa Khan's drumsticks tumbled out, and before Mo could gather them up, I held them in my hand. Mo looked up at me, kind of funny. She knew me just like you did. All real musicians know me, but she.


Didn'T quite recognize me.


I didn't take the time to introduce myself because no one likes a solo.


That goes on too long.


Gotta keep the song moving.


This is a very special pair of.


Sticks, I told her.


These sticks have some history. They've told some tales on the skins.


Let me ask you them little mo, you have a story for these sticks to tell?


Mo didn't answer.


I smiled and I shrugged and handed back her bag. It's nice to run into you, I said.


Now hurry on down. Mo took off running. By the time she got home, she forgot all about me and our little run in. She crashed into her daddy's kitchen like a smash of symbols. It just so happened that it was at a moment when all was calm in mo's house. Even a broken clock's right twice a day. All the beats in all the hearts of the house were lined up. Her daddy was at the stove stirring a stew. Big enough to feed however many mouths were at the table that night. He looked up and saw mo all out of breath. Well, if it isn't the third and fourth beats of my heart, he said. What's got you winded? At that moment, the orchestra obscura and the drumming gig seemed very far away, very strange, and very alien. Mo was in her own house. In the warm, warm kitchen. She could feel how her family's love was written into her, the two and four beats of her heart's every measure. Mo told her dad everything that happened that day, about the orchestra and their offer to come touring, the totality of space with them. Her dad must have been cutting onions for the stew before Moe came in, because there was a little tear in his eye as he sat down on the floor next to her.


My sweet little metronome, he said, since the minute you came into our lives, we knew you had a destiny that was too big for this house to hold, maybe too big for this planet. You walked to your own beat, and that makes you the bravest person I know. The world finally found you and asked you to dance. I know you're too brave to say no. Your home will be here for you when you need it. Mo's dad sent her upstairs to get cleaned up for dinner. Before she could even start, she had to look at Krupican's drumsticks one more time. She wanted to see their hot pink glow, maybe practice her paradiddles. She reached into the bag and she.


Pulled out two gnarly bone branches and a note from me. It read, dear Mo, I hear you.


Might be a story short. Meet me on translour to get your sticks back. Very sincerely yours, the conductor. Don't give me that look.


Yes, I borrowed Mo's drumsticks. You could also technically claim that I stole them. Which would be true, since I didn't ask. But if Moe held onto the sticks the entire time, this would be a very short story. But sometimes a story needs a jolt.


Sometimes a song has a key change in the middle that makes you feel.


Funny at first, like something's gone wrong. But after a few bars, you settle.


Into the new key and the song flows through you again. That's all I did. A change of key to let her out of the story. She's locked into. Trancellor is not far away. Easy to get there and back in three days. Well, easy if you're me, which, thankfully, I am. For Mo, it's a challenge. But challenges are what stories are made of. Challenges and choices and changes. Land stories is a collaboration between Starglow.


Media and double Elvis. Executive producers from Double Elvis are Jake.


Brennan and Brady Sattler.


Executive producers from Starglow Media are Jed.


Baker and Agrenish A. Palmer. This episode of Music Land Stories was.


Written by Bob Prohl. Alessandro Santoro is our showrunner.


Narration by me, Nikki Lynette.


Original score by Jonathan Warman. Story editing by Zeff Lundy. An episode mix by Matt Bowden.


Grown ups.


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Starglow plus on Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. See you soon, cosmic cats. Until next time, conductor out.