I am inspired by so many things. People, books, my wild imagination….yet to be inspired by a place and find a broadening of one’s perspective can only be a gift. Even if you are shown a darker side to your own nature than anticipated.
I am sharing three different songs, in various states of disrepair (sonic and emotionally) written after my encounter with the desert.
I Walk Alone was composed during my Tankwa Artscape residency where I spent 2 weeks with other artists. Our task was to create a work of art (in my case, music) that was site specific. The desert itself serving as our inspiration.
We were not allowed to take phones with us as we explored. It was essentially a walk about. We had to find our way back without help. I never go anywhere without my notebook and composed right there. I memorized the song as I walked back to our camp. Laura, a concert pianist (a resident artist) and I performed it in the desert. She is just a wonderful human all round.
Yet my first encounter with the desert yielded a very different kind of song. In 2019 I was surrounded by thousands of people. Riddle Me Gently was the result of that first encounter. Forgive the quality, yeah? It is a demo. Rodney Buys plays, as always, is on piano.
Yet, so much has occured since then. A world wide pandemic, the death of my father. To find myself in the desert again – and haunted still is what gave rise to this song. The difference between the two songs are vast. I was not aware of how alone I felt until I wrote this song.
A tribe of stones with no way home are calling out to me
The unknown stars and plains of broken blue cloud all I can see
the vastness of familiar things are trinkets for slumbering kings
I walk alone
Until my heart splits in two
beneath shifting sands…
I walk alone.
I walk alone
It looms, it looms…touching the sky
The Dreaming Gods breathe silence
Stilling my desires that rivers through my bones
As I walk alone
And then I found myself in the desert for a third time. I Kiss Boys is on my Silk and Gravel album. The desert, I discovered, will have its way with you regardless. Keywords that come to mind in the desert are: unravelling, unmasking