Brown Bird Mandalas Connect Us

Brown Bird Mandala Tattoo

Brown Bird Mandala Tattoo

On the day of the memorial service for my son-in-law David Lamb of Brown Bird, I got my first tattoo. It was a Brown Bird mandala. The experience was the catalyst for helping me find the words I was able to say at the memorial to honor Dave.

I actually didn’t intend to say anything. What could I say about this gentle, charismatic man who so unexpectedly lost his life to leukemia in spite of a successful bone marrow transplant? Dave was my daughter MorganEve’s husband and music partner. He was her soul mate. I am heartbroken for her.

But looking back, I am so proud that I did find the words. And I am so proud that I was able to tell my story at the memorial because what I said turned out to be a gift to MorganEve. She has been a source of inspiration to me from the moment of Dave’s illness on through to where we are now on this roller coaster ride of grief with all its ups, downs, dips and turns. It was she who encouraged me to share my tribute to Dave on this blog.

Had I not done so, I would never have known about a little girl named Julia and how much of a positive impression Brown Bird had made on her. Julia’s dad, Chris Chirco found my post online and decided to contact me via e-mail to tell me his story about Julia’s special connection to MorganEve and to Brown Bird. I think of it as a gift. With his permission, and MorganEve’s, I have decided to share our e-mails here, as another tribute to the beautiful couple we love as Brown Bird:

A Dad Shares a Story about His Little Girl Meeting Music Duo Brown Bird

E-mail fromBrown Bird Mandala Chris Chirco: Your Daughter’s Influence on My Daughter

Hello Ms. Swain,

I came across your blog and your story about David Lamb [The Mandala of Dave Lamb’s Life is Now Complete] when I was searching online for images of the tattoo that David had on his left hand (the same as the design on the Brown Bird CD Fits of Reason) and I felt compelled to drop you a note to tell you about the influence MorganEve has had on my seven-year-old daughter, Julia. 

Julia has always been very musically inclined. She could hum songs in key before she could talk. One night, while on my home computer, Julia came into the room. I was listening to Brown Bird at the time and I noticed how she instantly took to the music.  I decided then that I would try and find an upcoming Brown Bird show and take her to it. The opportunity came in April 2013 when they were playing in Portland, Maine.

They were playing two shows. Since Julia was only six years old then, the earlier show was perfect for us. Before heading to the venue, Julia drew a picture of David and MorganEve she wanted to give to them. 

Brown Bird Drawing

Brown Bird Drawing
by Julia Chirco

We got to the venue early and got seats up front.  When David and MorganEve came out to set up their instruments, MorganEve noticed Julia and her picture and came over to have a look and to talk to her. That’s when Julia gave MorganEve her picture. When MorganEve showed it to David, he gave Julia a big smile.  That moment left an indelible mark on Julia that she still talks about to this day.  Julia’s drawing was even posted on Brown Bird’s Instagram page and in the Gallery of the Brown Bird website. Julia is extremely excited about that.

Julia has not been able to listen to Brown Bird since David’s death. She said it makes her sad. But she does like to sing some of their songs, particularly the ones that MorganEve sings.  One of her favorites is “End of Days.”  Shortly after David’s death she asked me to make a video of her singing it.

Since I am a musician in a local band, it gives me such great pleasure to think that a musician like your daughter would take a minute before her show to talk to a little girl who was almost too shy to give MorganEve her drawing.

MorganEve truly influenced my daughter with her kindness, and I know that Julia, as well as the rest of our family, will never forget MorganEve, David and Brown Bird.

Julia Chirco Brown Bird Fan

Julia Chirco

My E-mail Response:

Thank you so much, Chris, for sharing your beautiful story about Julia and MorganEve with me. I know Julia’s drawing very well. MorganEve keeps it in a special box of treasures and after reading this I do remember MorganEve telling me about meeting Julia. That had to have been just before Dave got sick, so Julia is a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful memory to hold on to.

I understand how Julia feels about listening to Brown Bird now. I, too, find it difficult. It will take time, but I’m sure she will again, because even though it is so sad that Dave is not here, he is with us forever because of the music he and MorganEve created together. Their music is a very special gift that will carry us through and help us get past this overwhelming grief.

Tell Julia that MorganEve is very strong. She inspires her family and everyone who knows her with her grace and courage. The love and support she has received from fans like you and Julia is helping MorganEve fulfill what Dave instilled in her to do – to move forward with her life and to continue with her career, creating more beautiful music.

During the time Dave was confined at home after his bone marrow transplant, he wrote a lot of songs for their next album. MorganEve is working on completing that album. She is also working on her own music, so tell Julia there will be more songs from MorganEve for her to sing.

I am very honored that you found me and chose to reach out. Thank you so much.


I am sure there are many more stories about special encounters Brown Bird fans have had with Dave and MorganEve over the years.

Perhaps the mandala images that are part of Brown Bird have also become our links, in a way,  to the stories that connect us – just as their music always will.


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The Mandala of Dave Lamb’s Life is Now Complete

Brown Bird

Brown Bird
MorganEve Swain; Dave Lamb

On April 5, 2014, Dave Lamb of the indie-music duo Brown Bird lost his yearlong battle with leukemia. Dave was my daughter’s music partner, husband, and will forever be her soul mate.

A memorial celebration of Dave’s life took place on April 8 at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. It was “a joyous event that honored not only Brown Bird’s legacy, but also the power of love and community.”

Before the public event, the Swain-Lamb families and closest friends gathered together for a private service. Any family member or friend was welcomed to share thoughts about Dave.

The following was my contribution. I am honored to share only because my daughter MorganEve feels this to be a “perfect” tribute to her Dave…

The Mandala of Dave’s Life is Now Complete

I did something today I thought I would never do. Today I got my first tattoo.

Brown Bird Mandala Tattoo

Brown Bird Mandala Tattoo

I am one of those parents who always disapproved of tattoos. But now I’m proud to have one. It’s one of the Brown Bird mandalas displayed on their Fits of Reason album.

In looking up the meaning of a mandala I learned that mandalas “remind us of our relation to infinity extending beyond and within our bodies and minds…they symbolize circles of life encompassing friends, family and communities…they symbolize that life is never-ending, encompassing all religions…”

These meanings encompass the spirit of Dave…his capacity to nurture friendships so evident in the outpouring from all of you, the Warren-Providence community, and beyond.

In his quest to understand all religions he in fact created a global ministry of music and words that inspire thousands in profound ways.

Mandalas also reveal a person’s path in life.

I truly believe Dave’s path was revealed to him when he met MorganEve.

With MorganEve by his side, with her unconditional love, and her gift of music added to his, the mandala of Dave’s life became complete.

His friend Jeremy recently said to me, “The years Dave had with MorganEve were his happiest ever.” I cherish that thought.

What Dave and MorganEve shared is a never-ending inspiration to us all.

So yes, I’m happy I got a tattoo today. It will remind me every day of their perfect love.

                       Colleen Swain: for Dave Lamb Memorial Celebration – April 8, 2014

MorganEve and Dave Wedding Day

MorganEve and Dave on their Wedding Day: August 23, 2013
Warren, RI

Dave received a successful bone marrow transplant in September 2013. He had just passed the six-month mark and all signs pointed to a full recovery. It is not known why leukemia returned, this time to attack his white blood cells.

According to Be the Match leukemia is a blood cancer that “can happen to anyone, at any time. But so can a cure.”

Please do your part to help find cures for blood cancers. Learn more at