Sunday, February 19, 2012

 I have been on a composition/writing retreat for the last few days - here until the end of the month to write for a a group of musicians I'll bring together. A meditation that I received suggested that I meditate on silence and non-judgement....- so this will be my practice in the first week  - exploring silence, listening rather than talking.  

Deciding not to talk for three days has meant that only immediate & basic things can be easily communicated  - to other humans..And as i am here with 7 other artists - each working on their own projects- dinner has been the only social time that we regularly speak together. At first, people ascribed different reasons for my silence.....  was I mute? could I read lips? was I saving my voice / had I lost it?  was I gonna be done tomorrow?  As I am new to every person here, and they new to me, it seems that some are curious - in suspense as to what my voice must be like, some are eager to ask me questions that are hard to answer w/ out language, and others seem to just have put the whole thing on hold (not engaging much) until I choose to speak.

It has been a time when I have become aware of, and begun to empty all the chatter in my head.  It has been a way for me to transition from one reality to another - focusing on listening and accepting reality as it is right now.  It has uncovered my own triggers (being the only Afrikan person in a group of  Europeans (though one of our hosts is of Phillipine descent)) and has allowed me to listen to the stories triggered in my own brain (high school, bad grant review panel memories, reaction against areas of extreme privilege) but not be held captive by them - or feel the need to act out.  I have been able to listen to and be with those around me instead of having to BE or PROVE or SAY anything.

It has also helped  me to become aware of and to listen for the music that is asking to be brought into the world. 

A walk in the prairie led me to a bridge over a running stream yesterday morning.  Sitting on the edge of the bridge, feet dangling over the water i listened, silently, to the water, and the earth around it.  And the song came into my head, asking to be born.  The earth and my openness and patience made room for the music to be to the challenge of manifestation......from the stream, through me to the musicians....and to your ears.....

Friday, February 10, 2012

world of music

So people like to ask me about who my vocal inspirations or teachers are.........and who my first voice teacher was.

Sometime I say my mother, Barbara, who would sing me awake in the morning, and sometimes sing me to sleep at nite.

Sometimes I give credit to the one of a kind singer/justice worker  Miriam Makeba - here w/ her band in 1966 in Paris - Introducing the musicians & singing one of my favorites Amampondo.

But was mother nature.

The songs of the birds, the frogs, the wind, the cry of the eagle, the meow of the cat, the rustling of grass, or wheat or leaves, the wailing of a child, a mourning, the sudden laughter bursting from surprised lips, our mumbling, our heartbeats, the crashing of a thunderstorm, the howling of the winter wind.  Some of the most beautiful singing in the world is inspired by and sung in harmony with the music of nature.

Like that of the Baka People of Cameroon / Congo - singing & water drumming

...there is a world of music happening around you - if you tune your ears to it!

Alafia & blessings to you & your mother!