“You will never do anything more vital, more profound, more perfect, than what you are doing right now.” – Gwendolyn MacEwen, from After-Thoughts
Good morning, Friends. Sitting here, the morning after the night before… thinking and absorbing what transpired at my concert last night. It was a moving and joyous thing to be able to see everyone’s faces and feel your spirits right there with me on the journey, which is one of the reasons I love the Gallery 345 space. The audience and the performers can be very close and the pleasure we may all take in the intimate experience that occurs is palpable.
These songs that my composer friends, Isabel Ciudad-Real, Nancy Bennet, William Beauvais, Kevin McMahon, Stephen Newby and Ryan Billington, have made are so rich and deep. Words cannot describe how much I love singing them. They are a treasure trove for the imagination and deserve to be re-discovered and explored and heard again and again. I’m already searching for the next time I can sing them mo’ bettah.
This was an interesting night, and for me, a new way of being and sharing in each moment. After more than thirty years of performing professionally, I am entering yet another phase: a difficult (for me) and necessary transition into a mature woman and artist. I feel a bit like a chrysalis starting to metamorphose into a butterfly. Call me crazy, but for some reason I feel moved to be transparent and reveal my process because it is so often hidden and such a source of shame for so many woman and professional female singers as their bodies change. Many times people resort to taking hormones and drugs to disguise the natural changes to their voices and pretend it’s not happening. Or they just quit singing. But, my goodness, WHY? Why not study it, prepare for it, have support and rites of passage around it, celebrate it and adjust around it? Why not work WITH Mama Nature, instead of against her? We have so much awareness, understanding, depth and creative genius to share with our communities and audiences in our mature and advanced years. My poetic mother said an intriguing thing the other day to me as we spoke about it, she looked thoughtfully at me and said “These moments are like the shivers of mortality”.
Friend, Claire wrote me this morning: “Especially loved those moments when you pushed out the sounds, and they had so much power that they became almost visible. Big animals in the air around us. Real magic. The oldest kind.” – Claire Louise Correia
So many people helped me on this little trail that I got lost and found on so many times. My colleagues last night were in exquisite form.
Joy Lee was my Rock of Gibraltar. Her passion for and care with the music enfolded that gorgeous, nine foot concert Baldwin and I into each imperfectly perfect moment.
William Beauvais is marvelously himself as a guitarist and composer. Truly wonderful to discover the poetry and his music alongside him.
Ryan Billington reveled in the now with me, both of us taking great pleasure in performing his exquisite and sublime new song that was such a fitting finale for the concert. I feel simultaneously humbled and delighted that you would write such a luminous song for me to sing, Ryan.
I wouldn’t have gotten through the night at all without the loving and generous support of two people, my voice teacher of 23 years, Angela Hawaleshka, and my Kwanza.
May all these incredible new songs find many further explorations now that they have been aired. They are valuable documents for this time, the heart of now…now…now…now…now… Love as always, Alissima