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Puffin Foundation Awards Aberfan

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“The Puffin Foundation Ltd. seeks to open the doors of artistic expression by providing grants to artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy. (more…)

Lifeline

babyinFrameTo be a creative artist was born in me — a most slender thread connected to the core of the earth, through my very being and up beyond into the skies — a seriousness of such resiliency it could never be broken and take all of life to realize.

Whether music, paint or word, whatever the form, if it takes you by surprise, propels itself through you — it is your art, a conscious spiritual calling, and your task to bring into the world.

In the arc of my own creative life, my earliest poems and lyrics came from this unconscious place, without thought — vaguely familial, words hacked out of walls or erupting through an external image — phrases which I instinctively pieced together.  I had grown up surrounded by music, yet my first experience of the truly deep, creative source within myself arrived in dreams and the silence of words and images.

So it was, through prose poems and lyrics of my first three recordings:  “when I left loss“, a singular phrase that arose as I lay still, became the title of my first album (1999); the dream of a two-story house, pressing unnaturally down upon me, its cover photo.  Another dream, a man kneeling at my feet says “love flows like the blood of a river” — words of such import,  I knew they would  be the title for a song one day.  So, too, the title of my second album (2003).

Free-writing upon a randomly chosen word or image, without editing, provided more material.  Full stories articulated on the plumb line of an external image — a woman wearing a turban on a bus became “Eileen”, another leaning forward, clutching at her purse, the central character in “There is a Silence / Rolling of Time”.

During this period I also began to study voice for the first time — what had been, over years, petrified and buried.

“Talon of the Blackwater and Graces”, title track to my third album (2009), was presaged in a dream I had of black water gushing from a neighboring backyard (a woman’s shelter for those transitioning out of abusive situations) into ours — dark, lyrical material surging out over just a few days.  The title itself came from a prose poem I had written years before.  Was this the image of a disaster erupting from my own unconscious recollections as a child?

It was only during the process of recording Talon of the Blackwater that my poetry, subsumed in lyric, and my voice, fully became part of my music.  I was, in fact, a songwriter and arranger, yet when I first heard the songs on the working demo, I believed someone else must have written them.

Starting in 2008, to my surprise, I began writing pieces for solo piano.  One of these was the development of “Aberfan”,  a song that my mother had written and I had arranged for my second recording.  Over the years it has become a full length composition.

Let me tell you that story, which takes me to today.

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”

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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.

Thendara Foundation Awards “Aberfan”

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Thendara Foundation has awarded $1500 to Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue).  Many, many thanks!

My deep gratitude to Foster Reed, who submitted this request on behalf of Aberfan, for his long held faith and support of my project.

This grant will go towards the recording.  Please join the effort and enable this to happen!

D O N A T E

“Aberfan” (Rain Sequence, excerpt)

“This area of South Wales has a wet climate and the hillsides are marked by lines of springs.” (AGU Blogosphere)

Therefore, Aberfan begins with the Rain Sequence.  My workspace is in the attic and the idea to layer pianos originated as I listened to the rain on our metal roof so close above me.

Here is a short demo sample of 7 pianos, all playing the same part, entering moments slightly apart from one another, each with its own tempo.

To make sure that Aberfan can be recorded, please donate at www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan.

ABCD (Arts Block Contact Dance) Jam, Arts Block, Greenfield, MA. 3/25/14, 8-10PM.

ABCD (Arts Block Contact Dance) Jam, Arts Block Greenfield, MA.  3/25/14, 8-10PM.  Every 4th Tuesday of the month the Greenfield Contact Jam will be hosting this new special Dance Improvisation Jam. Each Jam will feature an Improvisational musician to accompany us on our journey.  On March 25th Laura Siersema, piano.  Cost $10-25.  (413) 774-0150  http://www.theartsblock.com

All Soul’s Church Mid-Week Music 11/20/13, 12:15 pm.

All Soul’s Church, Greenfield, MA.  11/20/13, 12:15 pm.  Join me at All Soul’s Church, 393 Main Street in Greenfield, MA on November 20, 2013, 12:15 – 12:45 pm.  Solo piano.  Stillness Variations over D — 8 original, modern compositions.  Call 413-773-5018 for more information, or visit http://www.uugreenfield.org.