The Secret Garden

White Magic stop to sniff the roses and the napalm

Throughout the album, Billotte's piano is deliberate and steadfast, surrounded by destabilizing swarms of sitars, bells, and drones. The pliancy and playfulness of the original trio is replaced now by a more tranced-out experience, like on the foreboding "All the World Wept," which envisions the end times, but preserves within the desolation the smallest of sparks: "All of the worst things could creep into your heart/That's when these words will keep the torch burning." On the plaintive "What I See," these words reassure, like something out of a lost chapter of the New Testament: "He that believes me won't be lost." At once, Dat Rosa is bleak and hopeful. As Mira sings "a song of sorrow" on "Song of Solomon," the music bounces like Trinidadian calypso, Jamaican reggae, and African highlife all at once, while Doug's guitar line chimes, ebullient and ascendant; it not merely suggests hope but embodies it.

As the garden closes for the day, we spot a single rose as we make our way out; its crimson bloom tops a thorny stalk, towering well above everything else. There's a rose on Dat Rosa's cover as well, along with inside art alluding to alchemical texts and kabbalistic diagrams along with Ouroboros, the serpent eating its tail, denoting the struggle of life. "The album's translation is 'The rose gives honey to the bees,' " Mira explains. "To me, the rose is life, the path of life and consciousness, the Creator, and the bees are us. The honey is what we're looking for, our fulfillment, finding our truth and peace."

"It speaks of the struggle of life and events leading to the sweet center," Douglas adds, noting that the album "was a struggle in every sense of the word."

From Quix*O*Tic to just plain quixotic
photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg
From Quix*O*Tic to just plain quixotic

"It's a constant struggle," Mira agrees. "And yet, it's hard to imagine our world ever existing without that struggle."

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