Here are a few looks at Sunyatta Marshall from the Guitar Circle we hosted Monday night in John Eiler's garage. That's my friend Dawn Majors from Old Hickory, Tennessee watching in the middle frame. The bottom picture is hopelessly blurred - I was shooting without a flash, to capture character and shade - though if you double-click on it to enlarge the image, there is a really cool hall-of-mirrors effect on her beautiful face.
Sunyatta is intertwined with the tradition of the Guitar Circle. It evolved out of the Hootenanny at the original Way Out Club location on Cherokee Street, where we would sit around and swap songs off of the stage if I could help it. One unforgettable night, Mark Stephens sang a song called "I Need a Girl" during his turn around the Hoot.
The second he was done singing, Bob Putnam called out, across the bar, "Mark, phone. It's a girl."
It was Sunyatta.
I don't know what Mark said to summon her to the bar, in addition to the shamanic powers of his song, but she came to the bar and joined the Hootenanny.
With the intervention of Michael Shannon Friedman, the Hoot became the Guitar Circle. Sunyatta stuck with it.
Different story between Sunyatta and Mark Stephens.
They danced one night, at a bar. Two young lovers. Chuck Reinhardt saw them dancing. He wrote a song about them, a song about believing in music and love, "I Believe."
Chuck sang "I Believe" at guitar circles. Chuck met Mark and Sunyatta at guitar circles and was surprised to see the lovers from his song.
Mark and Sunyatta got married. Chuck sang "I Believe".
Mark and Sunyatta got divorced. Chuck sang "I Believe".
Sunyatta still comes to guitar circles. No one seems to know how to find Mark to invite him to one. I invited Chuck to the circle on Monday night. He declined - he had an early Tuesday morning working as a janitor.