Audio Excerpt from Third Friday Performance

While Jody Cassell moved the energies across the room, Shana Adams, Morgan Fleming and I sounded around her. The sound reflected and supported Jody’s movement. In this excerpt, Jody was reaching for lost conversations, while Shana sang the words from Megan Bostic’s piece I Lost The Conversation, and Morgan and I stretched tones. I wish I had a video of the movement Jody responded with during this piece. It was a most beautiful fusion of visions.

Third Friday Performance@Durham Arts Council   July 21st  7:15pm                          

Jan Ru Wan and Megan Bostic collaborated on the current DAG show entitled Reconstructing Existence: I Create Therefore I am which will run through August 12th at the Durham Arts Council. This coming Friday, July 21st, Jody Cassell will present a movement piece in response to their work. Jody will be accompanied by dejacusse’ new soundscape The Drone of Aggrievement along with improvisations by vocalist Shana Adams and Morgan Fleming on violin. The performance will run from 7:15 to 8ish.

The art that you will experience that evening arises from a deep grief that enveloped the artists following the loss of a parent. Jan Ru, Megan and Jody have discovered mediums, forms, textures, patterns and relationships through found and intermingled objects and movement to allow their grief a public expression. Each person’s journey with grief is a singularity that we can witness and resonate with. The graceful power of these expressions of grief invite the audience members to reflect on their own grieving.

This is the third collaboration for Jan Ru, Jody and I; and our second with Megan. The first was in 2013 in the Seimans Gallery at Durham Arts Council. Resolving the Disquiet was the raw stage of grief where the memories of the parent’s presence and the shock of their loss was felt. Then last October at VAE in Raleigh, Jan Ru Wan created Separation and in-between an installation that was about reflection and connections across time and space. Jody and I improvised movement and sound offerings for both of these exhibits. Here is a link to more about the VAE show:  http://wp.me/p5yJTY-fd

The DAC show focuses on a renewed existence through creativity. The grief remains but brings energy and muse in relation to “what is.” The show is beautifully curated and very sculptural.

For this exhibit, I was inspired to create a drone in a carnatic scale that begins on Bb. Bb is the tonal center of much of the natural world. Cricket and frog calls, cicada songs and other more drone-like nature sounds tend to resonate in B or Bb. The drone is made up of long tones from this scale in large interval relationships. The 11th Harmonic is worked in to help disrupt any stuck energy.  I chose voices that pull at the heart (woodwinds and strings) and created audio effect racks to destabilize and texturize the sound. Wind is a featured sound texture along with snipping scissors, keystrokes, and Jody’s voice reading bits of her performance piece  Walking to Nairobi.  Shana and Morgan will improvise along with and independently of the soundscape – all as accompaniment to Jody Cassell’s dance piece.

Please join us this Friday, July 21, at the Durham Arts Council DAG Gallery at 7:15 pm.

Experiments in Nested Soundscapes No.1

The abundance of summer has brought forth many wonderful creative connections and reconnections. In addition to the regular cohorts (Susanne Romey, Eleanor Mills and Jim Kellough), other sweet friends have been coming over to jam with soundscapes. We set up in the Sun{Ra} Room, and usually I record what we do. This week I had a special treat when Emily Smith came for dinner and to work her cello magic on the soundscapes.

Emily and I have spent many hours rehearsing over the past four years as members of The Full Shanti, a local kirtan band. Most of our kirtan arrangements were improvised, so we have spent hours improvising together as well. I culled an excerpt from the forty minutes or so we played to share with you. You will hear three different pieces, the first two are soundscapes. The last one is an orchestral ukulele chord progression that I intend to build a soundscape around. I love playing this theme soooo much. I really feel it in my heart. It is definitely inspired by my love for the theme from Downton Abbey and the soundtrack from the movie, The Piano.


Emily’s cello playing is like a big, warm hug, plus she loves to try extended techniques on the instrument AND add in percussive elements.  The two soundscapes we played were developed for Moving Meditations and an evening dance class I accompanied this past Sunday at the ADF (American Dance Festival) Studios in Durham, NC. During the Moving Meditation, Jody Cassell lead the group through movement and meditation awarenesses as Shana Adams and I filled the space with sound. Here is an excerpt from that morning with Shana improvising over the same soundscape you heard above in a larger room with people moving quietly about.

As you can hear, the soundscape has a different quality in each of these two space collaborations.

I am feeling excited about studying and molding the acoustics in the Sun{Ra} Room as a means of understanding room acoustics, mic placement, etc. I started analyzing it last year, but got pulled in other directions.

I do believe I have circled back around as Nested Soundscapes becomes one area of focus for my creative work.