creative art

What is the value of connecting to your soul?

Does connecting to your soul enable you to make good choices for the environment?

In this desperate time of upheaval, as our earth is besieged by unbridled industry pillaging the land and exploiting its riches — embodied by mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking to extract natural gas — it is urgent we activate a moral and creative counterweight to intellectual arguments for climate change:   awaken the spirit of shared humanity and responsibility that lives in each of us.

Aberfan speaks directly to what is at the heart of our survival as fully actualized beings on a thriving planet — the need to reconnect with our own souls, where one realizes the interrelatedness of all things and greed does not overpower the value of life.  Only then are we impelled to critically examine the impact that our daily choices are having on our environment.

In bearing witness to the specific atrocity of Aberfan we expose our present challenge.  In sensing what is greater than ourselves, we re-envision a sustainable and just future.

 

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

At the crossroads of modern music, experimental media and environmental justice, Aberfan catapults this disaster into the present.  Music will be presented both in exhibition, live performance and participatory installation with photographs taken by Life photojournalist IC Rapoport.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Photo IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

In this desperate time of upheaval

We are living now the upheaval — the turning outside what was in, what has long been buried — and must live now to extricate ourselves from what would obliterate good, what is bright and free.  The underbelly, black water out my dream now burst upon the land, no sorcerer could have done without people. We are in the confines of a trained evil.

South Wales Police Museum7

In this dire time for our world, I implore you to share news of my composition Aberfan, catapulting the disaster of 1966 into the present.

Here encapsulates the mission:

Envisioned as a project at the crossroads of modern music, experimental media and environmental justice:  Aberfan is an elegy not only for the people of Aberfan –Wales who suffered the loss of a generation — but for our world, besieged by unbridled industry pillaging the land and exploiting its riches.  The tragedy of Aberfan and the music it informed manifest the abject sorrow and rage resulting from the devastating human and environmental impacts of the fossil fuel industry — embodied by mountaintop-removal coal mining and fracking to extract natural gas.  Aberfan confronts and aims to disrupt our complacency, inciting change in the only way possible — by touching the soul.

Aberfan is participatory.  An immersive space will be created using projection of imagery and semi-transparent scrims, capturing the landscape and people, the tactility of coal, ingrained in their faces. The viewer will move through the space, at times full of unsettling, discordant movement as if being subsumed in an avalanche of slag and at other times nearly silent, inducing pause. One can walk inside, behind and around the moving images, inside of the presentation.

The project will investigate how art, together with technology, can be used for experiential transformation by addressing the visceral, personal experiences of the disaster through image and sound, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten humanitarian crime against a future generation.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

As I seek funds enabling me to return to the studio, I urge you to pass this along.

I am deeply indebted to those who have contributed.   Your confidence in and appreciation of this mission in my music has been a mainstay.

Artist

The “Artist” is timeless and would like to move about freely — but for the effects of modern world, which is always changing, all intent on crushing what is creative —

Yet there is so much in me that suppresses and belittles, it is world turned inside and that is the horror —

This is what we struggle against every day in our practice to be free — and yet, the strength, the fortitude and vision is already in us, in the form of a single soul — and what beauty it can bear —

From the emptying there comes a better way, which need not demean, compare, or count the value in numbers or time —

Amen —

Solzhenitsyn: “A work of art…”

Image result for aleksandr solzhenitsyn spouse“A work of art contains its verification in itself:  artificial, strained concepts do not withstand the test of being turned into images; they fall to pieces, turn out to be sickly and pale, convince no one.  Works which draw on truth and present it to us in live and concentrated form grip us, compellingly involve us, and no one ever, not even ages hence, will come forth to refute them.”

Nobel Lecture, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1970

Dad’s Lyric Sheet for “In a Town Called Aberfan”

Dad's writingAberfan

It’s very difficult to speak about Aberfan.

Mom wrote “In a Town Called Aberfan” when she heard and read about the landslide in the news.  My father wrote down Mom’s lyrics on a sheet of his graph paper in November 1966.  The small letters above the last chorus and verse are the chords.  “Copy by EWS”

I share this because I want you to know, beyond anniversaries, beyond boundaries of country, there is a memorial here, too, in my composition,  Aberfanunderway and surfacing over years.

In the midst of its deepest revision  I realized this question, how do you have words for such tragedy?  Should I use any lyrics at all?  If I did (for there are memories, and attempts to tell the story), the words themselves must be like the event, scattered, broken phrases, yet of a whole.

Here are the words that I spliced together for my own piece, cut out from Mom’s lyric.  The only word I changed was “town” to “village”.

In the small Welsh village of Aberfan

for days the rain did fall down on the heart–

Little children of Aberfan in their school that day

the big, coal mountain–

They worked with their picks all through the day

dug with their shovels and hands

kept  on  digging  kept  on  digging  kept  on  digging–

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can continue to create this recording.

We began recording in the studio this past September.

Aberfan was a man-made disaster. 50 years on, we must remember this

Powerful story by Huw Edwards:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/aberfan-was-a-man-made-disaster-50-years-on-we-must-remember-thi/

p00ksv3k640360 ICR sent, but not hisA

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)  is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization. Contributions are tax deductible.

A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan is an excavation into my own soul.  This is the story of power and destruction wrought over all the world in the willful, negligent and unconscious devastation upon the most vulnerable and the call to transform, through my music, the inscrutable events.

We are seeking funds to support the recording and presentation of this project.

“Aberfan”

Digging effort, Pantglas Junior School, Aberfan, Wales, October 21, 1966

9/8 bar – Trauma – 2nd Altered Interlude

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Please join in the effort by making your contribution here.

Photo courtesy AGU Blogosphere

Martin Luther King

king_splash2“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Make your contribution here.
(Thanks to Greening Greenfield for this quote.)

“Aberfan” Rain — Rubble

 

Aberfan articulates a broadening and deepening of artistic practice, far beyond what I’ve ever experienced, yet is inclusive of everything before it — the search, over years, for my own creative voice in composition.  Propelling itself through me, Aberfan is its own whole, symbol of what is most lacking in our world, as in our families and deep within ourselves, natural expression is desecrated and buried, just as our land is leveled.

Here is an excerpt of 2 pianos from Aberfan, the aftermath of a man-made disaster, a mix of rain and rubble.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Make your contribution here.

Puffin Foundation West Awards “Aberfan”

PFW_Header7-FINAL-WEB-sm

Granting individuals who work towards a progressive democracy, Puffin Foundation West has awarded $500 to Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) for its recording.

Puffin Foundation West, Ltd. seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artist activists and arts organizations often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy. Artists are able to reach across the borders of our imagination and in doing so often peaceably transform our society’s ideas about social justice issues.  Creative expression and innovation have always helped move society towards a more progressive democracy and allow us to recognize our universal humanity. Puffin Foundation West, Ltd. is committed to supporting such grass-roots artists and organizations.

Puffin Foundation West, Ltd. (PFW) believes artists have the unique ability to peacefully challenge those who seek to limit our expression. By sharing creative talents artists can speak out loud to and for all of humanity.

Here is a cautionary excerpt from their mission statement about these beautiful little birds:

Puffins once prospered off the coast of New England but were hunted almost to extinction for their feathers and for stew. In the late 1970’s a small group of volunteers worked to reintroduce Puffins back to these islands.  Owing to these constructive efforts these birds did make a comeback.  Sadly, Puffins as well as many other species are now threatened, this time by global warming and the encroachment of civilization on so many creatures’ habitat and corporate contamination of the natural world.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts.  Make a donation here.