My day is made: more vibrant yet calming improvisations from Artemis/Lawson/Berkman, Inc. And “Somewhere”! It’s like a Dark Star of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Favorite track: For The Rejuvenation of Humankind.
There are moments these days when we find ourselves trembling...for ourselves, our own safety, health and welfare, that of our brothers and sisters close and far, that of our planet, our species and all the other species, that of everything we know and hold dear.
There are things we can do to help ourselves and one another, to lift each other up when one of us is stumbling or just plain falling down. There are other things which simply seem beyond the realm of our individual agency to influence, let alone control. And things are evolving - and also apparently devolving - so rapidly, it's easy to bump into moments that somehow suddenly feel frozen in space and time. That paralysis is contagious.
So what to do.
As for me...I find myself pretty tongue-tied lately...it's a strange state of affairs for someone whose job is attempting to find words to express the heart of the matter. Especially when the moment is calling, practically screaming out, to anyone with a voice, to find it and use it in any and every way possible, to make something, anything, better for someone, anyone, or better yet ALL the someones and anyones whose voices and very lives have been systematically marginalized, minimized and murdered away to the point of the potentially mutually assured demolition of everyone and everything, at least on this one little planet spinning out to who knows where.
I've been thinking a lot lately about ancestors, specifically the ones whose bodily lives led to this one. Some of them were intensely oppressed people. Some might well have been direct oppressors of others. I try to understand and accept them all, and surrender to, or even welcome, the fact that they're all part of me, even if the me here and now didn't make any of those choices or have to run from those specific dangers. I also think about the fact that every one of the human beings currently living on this planet also shares at least one common ancestor with me. Going far enough back, every single living being alive anywhere or anywhen has at least one common ancestor...at least according to those who take stock in certain scientific and/or spiritual theories.
So...if our good choices today help us affirm that our ancestors' lives were not lived in vain...might we also accept the same responsibility to live in a way that honors, protects and lifts up every other human being, every other living being?
Very few of us have gotten anywhere close to really getting this thing down. But life seems to enjoy throwing up new chances every day. She's nothing if not doggedly resilient. So far. We are nothing if not slow learners.
I'm still looking for a good voice, and something useful or worth saying with it. It's my extreme good fortune that no one ever stood much in the way of my saying things that occurred to me. In fact, the only one who ever stood much in my way at all is me. I've also been lucky enough that others have generously stuck microphones in my hand, captured some of the more elegant moments of my saying or singing things, and even went so far as to help share those etchings with a fair number of other humans. And more privileged still to find that most of my less graceful moments somehow escaped record, especially considering that many are handed criminal records, and worse, for saying and doing things that are completely harmless. I know it's possible that all errors are eventually rectified and forgiven, in some far larger balance than we are able to grasp with our small perspective and short lives. But still. In this moment. Things must become more fair and just, for many more of us.
For now, what there is in my own remedy kit that is easily shared is the music. It's the one thing that brought me peace and relief in the most troubled times, and it's the one thing I keep coming back to finding worth sharing.
The music. What's offered here was recorded during three live improv shows (at Foothill Ranch, Encino and Joshua Tree) during the January 2014 California house concert tour with Steve Lawson and Daniel Berkman.
Listening to these tracks, it feels like they could have been played and sung yesterday. Or today. Maybe we've all felt days like these coming for some time now. Maybe we sense, on some level, that it's written in us to find our way through them, on our own and all together. Remembering and honoring those who have fallen along the way, and doing all we can to right things and lift up those who are falling still...and perhaps giving ourselves a chance to one day become, possibly, good ancestors.
In the hopes that a little goes a long way, half of all proceeds from my music sales now through July 2020 will be donated to Oakland Anti-Repression Committee Bail Fund.
*Album art is a collage of photos taken by Artemis in Ireland at the Hill of Uisneach and Hill of Tara in May 2019, a photo of the heart of a rose taken by Artemis' 11 year old niece Ella while on a dog walk during shelter-in-place, a painting by artist Joanna Fodczuk-Garcia, and a drawing by one of Joanna's second grade art students, depicting feelings about the difference between the years 2019 and 2020.
Spectral keyboard washes and sinuous dance beats set up a feeling of warm alienation while Artemis’s voice heats things
further. Over the thump and shimmer, she croons with detached fervor, the music dissolving in a storm of pixie-dust disco until a rude riot of effects snaps the tether and she vanishes....more