12/8/1966 – 2/7/2020
Matthew Ronald Ericksen, aka Mattie or Matti Greenman, was a common day wizard with many talents. He was a magical bard, a drummer, a moviemaker, a builder of puppets and yurts, and a dear friend of many.
He was born on December 8, 1966, four minutes after the arrival of his beloved twin brother, Mark Ericksen, in Chicago Heights, IL. They grew up in the nearby township of Park Forest, a name that suited the man Matti was to become, as he loved parks and forests and felt most comfortable when connected to nature. From an early age, Matti had a gentle, loving manner and was curious about nature and fantastical other-worlds. Most of his life, he spent in New Mexico, in Albuquerque and Los Ojos. He grew up to be a musician in Tathata, Strange Familiar, and other bands; a yurt-builder with his small business, ‘Querque Yurts; a videographer working as Elkman Films; a carpenter and creator; a community member of intentional and nature-focused communities; and a supporter of many people’s dreams. He passed away suddenly in Albuquerque, NM.
Matti was a talented singer and multi-instrumentalist musician, playing music throughout his life, whether on guitar, bass, banjo, drum kit, or his iconic djembe. After graduating from Albuquerque’s Cibola High School, where he was in swing choir, he went to Pacific Lutheran University in Washington, where he was in a Christian swing choir and took classes toward becoming a minister. Later, his studies turned to music, and he attended the University of Northern Colorado and then transferred to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he studied music performance.
In the early ‘90s, Matti wrote music reviews for The Alibi, and he played bass and sang in Violet Hour and other local alternative bands. In the later ‘90s and 2000s, he played drums, guitar, and bass and sang in the gypsy-rock bands Tathata and Strange Familiar; and the belly-dancing troupes The BEAT (Belly Ensemble and Thunder) and Chandra Mangalam. He released his most recent solo work of original songs as Matti. He believed in music’s healing power. For over twenty years, he was an integral drummer and singer in the Albuquerque pagan community events, adding his soulful rhythm and playful spirit, and often playing the heartbeat drum, around which the community’s instruments and voices sang. A true bard, his songs cast spells in the city or forest, inspiring people to get up and dance or pick up an instrument and join in.
In the late 1970s, Matti’s family bought property near Chama, in the Laguna Vista neighborhood, where they built “The Viking’s Lair,” their mountain home on the hill, with a spectacular view overlooking Heron Lake. The Ericksen brothers helped their dad, Ron, work on the house and then went on to take jobs together throughout their lives, doing construction, carpentry, movie prop-building, giant puppet-building—there was no predicting what those Ericksen brothers were going to do next. The twins focused on their individual projects, and then they’d link up again for another job, whether it was building a back deck or some levitating Avatar islands for a film, or carving ten-foot-tall words out of Styrofoam, or creating a workable, giant “Cheba-the-Hutt” Jabba puppet for the sandwich shop, Cheba Hut.
Matti put his long-fingered nimble hands to good work and was also a skilled yurt-builder. In 2006, he started the Question Workspace, a warehouse cooperative where people could learn to build their own yurts. From 2006 to 2011, he had a small business, ‘Querque Yurts, with his best friend, Dawn Sperber. They built yurts from mostly recycled materials (such as using reclaimed wood from the old Albuquerque High basketball court, and repurposing billboard vinyl as yurt linings) and often worked outside under the quiet skies with birds passing overhead. Matti also crafted castle-like wooden gates for the Albuquerque community, The Hive. With most things he built, he incorporated a fantastical elven flair to the design, adding charm to the world’s everyday items, helping us all to believe we could live magic.
Matti also showed us his magic visions in his fantastic videography, using the label Elkman Films. (Link 1 below.) In 2009, he and Mark put on The Brothers Ericksen Variety Show at the historic Guild Cinema in Albuquerque, which featured short artistic films, live music, and a Clan Tynker performance. (Link 2 below.) In 2014, the Guild Cinema hosted The Gregg Daigle Band’s CD Release and Video Premiere for their album “Seize the Hay,” which featured a live performance and three music videos that the band commissioned Matti to make for the album. Matti combined the three videos into a short film, “The Wild Life Out West,” which highlights not only the fine music but also Matti’s storytelling and humor and his ideas on nature. The film used footage he shot of the beautiful land near his family’s mountain home. (Link 3 below.) He also participated in film crews for The Alibi’s 48-Hour Film Festival twice, and he was a part of the film community and was an extra in local and major film productions shot in New Mexico.
Matti loved sustainable communities and natural lifestyles that focused on people sharing their gifts, honoring each other and nature, and working together to get things done. He was a beloved member of the Albuquerque pagan community, and he lived in several intentional communities that were close to his heart, including those at the Honey House, Sulphur Springs, and the Hive. Throughout the years, Matti also often returned to his family’s mountain home in Los Ojos, where he was on the Laguna Vista Volunteer Fire Department, along with his brother, Mark; mother, Gladys; and sister, Sandy.
He treasured harmony, having fun, and moments when he connected with nature and the divine. He made friends easily and was a loving listener who shared insightful feedback that helped people feel seen and valued. If you dreamed up a whim of an adventure, he was ready to egg you on or join in. Possibilities opened around him, and natural magic sparkled under his appreciative gaze. He’s survived by his brother, Mark Ericksen; sister, Sandy Ericksen; half-brother, Keith Ericksen; half-sister, Connie Ericksen; soul sister, Dawn Sperber; and the many friends who loved him.
We were blessed to know this authentic, kind wizard of a man. May his memory be an enduring blessing.
Memorial services have been deferred to a safer time.
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The Brothers Ericksen:
“The Wild Life Out West,” created by Matti and featuring The Gregg Daigle Band:
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