A year ago, I sent out a call to participate in Waves of Gratitude, a never-ending sound art project. The initial wave debuted as a popup installation for the SITES performance happening in February 2021. So many people responded, some whom I have not spoken to in decades, and now they are a permanent part of Waves of Gratitude 2021. In late December 2021, I recorded my friend, Marg Roesch, playing Bach Inventions on the piano in her co-housing community’s Common House. She goes there to play multiple times a week…just for the joy of it! So Marg and Bach end the first Wave. I am grateful to Marg and Gary, Kehoe, Jill, Lori, Francine, Bill, Susanne, Robert, Christopher, Matt, Shawn, Chelsea, Trudie, Ronnie, Jody, Stephanie, Jim, Eleanor, Holly, Kathy, Tembo and Sotar for jumping into the Waves with me.
In the beginning, I envisioned all my old friends and collaborators sending me their audio gratitudes. There is a special email box just for gratitudes -firstname.lastname@example.org! Audio gratitudes can be instantly recorded on Messenger if we are friends on Facebook! Speak text to my phone! And there was an influx of lovely expressions of gratitude, but then it stopped and no more came. And many people who I hoped would contribute, did not. I felt like Puff the Magic Dragon for a while, but then my inner guru said “Hey, grrrl, this is about gratitude. Let’s go make Waves!!”
So Waves of Gratitude 2022 will kick off the year with the first monthly full moon radio broadcast! I remain hopeful that more folks will just spontaneously send a recording. If you jumped in last year’s Waves, jump in again. I know I am asking alot, and many people do not like their recorded voices. I will lovingly place your gratitude offering in the Waves with great care. Please listen to the 2021 version of Waves of Gratitude to experience the loveliness of human voices expressing gratitude. Listening may inspire participation.
The broadcasts will include revisits to the 2021 Waves, all contributions sent to the 2022 Waves, LIVE improvisations, iBoD recordings, maybe a few choice words, who knows? Broadcasts will occur one hour before and one hour after the full moon zenith!
January’s broadcast will happen this Monday, January 17th from 5:45 pm to 7:45 pm and you can stream it here-
On Saturday, the Ides of May 2021, the first broadcast of Waves of Gratitude over Radio iBoD happened! As I listen to the broadcast, there are dynamic sonic textures, human voicings, symphonic harmonics set within the ever-present Oceanic Wave! This is a 33 minute loop that begins with a cacophony of voices all expressing thanks for something, anything, everything, and then morphs into a cosmic river of sounds and verbal sound bites. The soundscape is a kind of bardo journey away from the prison of the human mind. Think of it as a gratitude cruise down the River Styx!
Waves of Gratitude is the largest and most ambitious collaboration I have ever attempted. Thus far, there are 21 collaborators from Raleigh-Durham, Costa Rica, California, NY, Hawaii; some family, some friends from decades ago, some people I do not know personally, and most have shared some form of creative collaboration with me over the years. These twenty-one responded to the inital call and for that I will be forever grateful! I love you all so dearly and uplift this vibration even if the timing might seem to suck!! It is a radical act to live with genuine appreciation and joy in a world addicted to judgment, fear and suffering!
Trudie Kiliru, Matt Casseday, Shawn and Chelsea Casseday, Lori Mathias-Thomas, Gary Balfantz, Ervin Dacoscos Malalis, Ronnie and Jody Cassell, Cathy Stanwyck, Holly Snyder, Tembo, Francine Farina, RT Skully, Christopher Skully-Thurston, Sotar Hoffman, Jim Kellough, Eleanor Mills, Stephanie Leathers, Jill Pavlak, Linda Carmichael, Bill and Susanne Romey.
The next Wave will break on June 1st, which is my Mother’s 91st birthday. I did not appreciate her wisdom until now and this project flows from what I understand from her being. One addition to the June 1st set of Waves will be a favorite e.e. cummings’ poem I set to music many years ago. I sing it everyday and will toss it into the Wave on this auspicious occasion!! Waves of Gratitude will broadcast for 12 hours on that day!!
As more of you send your gratitudes, the Wave will echo and amplifiy for years to come. What are you feeling joy about in this moment? Grab your phone, use the voice memo recorder to capture your gratitude, and send to email@example.com.
Here are some short excerpts from the two plus hour happening that occurred on February 16th at The Fruit in Durham NC. This was a fusion event with tremendous activity oscillating throughout the space! The first 30 seconds or so illustrate a section of the soundscape where all the sound and visual components came together in a “moment” on the video. The primary dancer is Jody Cassell. You hear her voice and her mother’s voice in the soundscape.
Appreciations to Bill Romey for the video capture. Appreciations to Jody Cassell, Stephanie Leathers, Kim Gray, The Bipeds, LICE and all the movers. Appreciations to Tim Walters and The Fruit for hosting the event.
photo by Stephanie Leathers
First and foremost, my deep appreciations to you the reader of this sentence. That you take the time to read about and listen to my world means more than I can express. It is my root intention to express my love and appreciation through sound offerings. Every message needs receivers. I am grateful my message has landed with you!
So many ideas for adventures in 2018. Having found my peeps at Moogfest and 919Noise, I intend to show up, be present and listen at more events. There are folks performing sonic works of art out there: Spookstina, Senator Jaiz, 80lb Test, Incidental Exercise and Ty Lake to name a few local sound artists whose work I have enjoyed this year. When the weather warms up, I’ll be out there! Maybe sooner as I want to hear 80lb Test on January 7 at Arcana in Durham. Oh, yes – need some love for the venues that feature sound performances: Nightlight Club, The Cave in Chapel Hill, Arcana in Durham, and Ruby Deluxe in Raleigh. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.
One adventure that will kick off the year is a drone piece I created as part of an exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. I am part of a multi-producer team under the guidance of Eban Crawford (Senator Jaiz). Eban is the Audio Engineer for the museum and will mix our drones together for an hour long looping soundtrack for the exhibit. More on this soon!
Justin Tornow’s Company is starting up PROMPTS again on January 27, 2018. dejacusse will perform with Jody Cassell, and possibly solo as well. Looking forward to the return of this performance series to Durham. The prompt is experiment redux. Jody and I have A LOT of material for that PROMPT!
February 16, 2017 Third Friday Durham will feature all 2017 SITES performers at The Durham Hotel. Jody Cassell and I will collaborate and improvise with other dancers and musicians to shine a light on the SITES project. Stephanie Leathers -dancer, photographer and SITES Producer- encourages artists to stage dances and music in unusual locations throughout Durham. The idea is to bring eyes to, and consciously engage with the morphing Durham terrain. SITES is an Independent Weekly dance pick for 2017( https://m.indyweek.com/indyweek/the-top-five-dance-performances-of-2017/Content?oid=10468933).
Human Origami/Audio Origami- movement/sound explorations into the fold as the smallest unit of matter continues. (http://humanorigami.com) Glenna Batson, Susan Halpern and I have been workshopping this project for over two years. I now have some sound pieces for a portfolio of Audio Origami: meditations on the fold, which I will release in 2018 on Bandcamp. I am thrilled that Trudie Kiliru has agreed to create the cover art for the portfolio. I hope you will buy the album when it becomes available.
iBoD is on hiatus as we figure out what we want to do next. We are ditching public performance for now and just gathering to play together in the SunRa Room. We all enjoy this activity. It is sufficient! I hope we will play at Central Park School the Sunday after Moogfest to feature Eleanor Mills on the bells, Susanne Romey on Native American Flute and Jim Kellough on digital horn. Otherwise we will continue to stir up harmonic vibrations in north Durham.
TRIC Questions is still on the table. The idea is to treat the individual patterns of Terry Riley’s In C (TRIC) as rhythmic/melodic samples that can be voiced and placed in a variety of relationships to each other. For me, TRIC is but one way these patterns can be strung together. I want to structure improvisational workshops and create soundscapes using these samples. Terry Riley has listened to my work on this project and given me the go ahead. However, his management has not been responsive. To be continued…
Bill and Susanne Romey are working on a short film highlighting NC waterfalls. Here is a link to (Celestial) Signal Sailors, a fun musical romp with an intergallactic romance, which many local artists worked on a few years ago:
I am privileged to work with them on the soundtrack for the new film.
Novation Launchpad app for IOS has my attention of late. After using the app for SITES, I am working on creating sound clips in Ableton, importing them to Launchpad and sculpting sound. The FX are fantastic for really taking many snippets of sound and spread it, repeat it, echo and really swing and shimmer the harmonics. So my setup for performance is in transition at this time. Another possible addition will be an electroacoustic conversion of my Nanan’s autoharp. I plan to take the chording apparatus off, tune the strings in interesting intervals and apply contact mics. Laaraji who performed the sleep concert at Moogfest last year had two autoharps set up that way to a sweet effect.
From the sounds of it, 2018 may be even more amazing than 2017!
Dreaming ahead into the New Year, there are many potential co-creations and interesting visitations waving from afar. My cohorts and I got together over the holidays to talk about our recent public creations and what we all want for the coming year. Even though our public outings have been less satisfying than playing in the Sun(Ra) Room, everybody is still up for creating Nested Soundscapes in public spaces. (yayyyyy!) I need to create more space within the soundscapes for the cohorts to jump into, and we need to develop solo statements and deeper interactions with each other and the scapes. This gives me great focus for the near future. We are all interested in doing some popup soundscaping in unusual places (with access to electricity). There may be Soundscape Parties. We shall see.
Lisa Means is a friend who plays and collects very beautiful sounding guitars. She records herself playing them and sends me the sound files. I listen to them carefully, do a little cutting/pasting/audio processing and make soundscapes out of them. Here is an example of a piece we did for a recent Moving Meditation:
Lisa has an intimate relationship with these guitars and with sound. Lisa uses hearing aids to access the sounding world through her ears. She hears her guitars with the entirety of her deepest, heart-felt being. Each guitar has a name and personality. I asked Lisa to send me a recording of her improvising on each guitar, and a write-up about the guitar. I want to create a soundscape about the guitars.
Bill Romey and I made a date to begin filming a watercolor mandala that Trudie painted called “Love”. It is beautiful and speaks of the muscle, blood and bones of love. I have been thinking about doing a short film of the painting for a number of years. I want to call it “Falling in Love” because I want to get as close to the pigment as possible! I am very excited about this project.
Moog Fest is in Durham this May. I do not know half the people who are “featured.” Full passes are expensive, but I would like to see Laurie Anderson (again!) I hope she has new schtick (no more men’s voices coming out of your mouth, please! more violin, please! more story!) Anyway, I have been wishing for a venue for that weekend. It would be like being off-Broadway. An idea is being tossed around, I will keep you posted. At the very least, we could have a Soundscape Party.
One of my hopes for the coming year is that I will see friends from the past whom I haven’t seen in many years. Yes, I would like that very much! I will continue to give loving attention to my Innate being, and to the world. I very much want to ride the wave of joy and wisdom into the future with open-hearted willingness and abundant allowing! I hope to see you along the way.