Yesterday, Jessika Kenney sent me a seed riff after I wrote that I would learn a song of folks' choosing or create something new if they sent $5 or more to my tip jar (Venmo: @MecaCole), and this as a way for me to get back to singing regularly, to stretch my voice and musicality, to woodshed, to start thinking in music again after years of not singing, not even being able to open my mouth, or hum, and some of that even manifesting physically into ailments that I am currently working on.
I thought this activity might be a way to hold myself accountable to the calls from folks who are telling me I need to get back to music. I also thought that this would be a way that I could take care of myself too, to not become over-committed, and to be supported by the folks who want me to step back into my body and the world through song.
Here's how that part works: Send me $5 or more through Venmo (@MecaCole) and some song information: title, recording, poem, etc, it doesn't matter what genre or style, so long as you do not choose the most difficult operas/art songs and so long as you don't expect me to shoot back something from the bebop or super-max prog canon in the too-near future (I gotta get my chops back, y'all).
Below follows some snippets of the riff Jessika sent to me, and some of the play I was able to do with it in the short time I had yesterday morning.
I was working with limitations. My computer has gone kaput on me, my voice is rusty as all get out, and I don't know yet how to use the app on my phone, but, if I did, this would be longer, and perhaps later this week, I will work with it more. The limitations bit comes because I want Jessika's voice to be part of this, central even, rather than memorizing her Inanna riff (what I heard mama mama mama) and going from there. The riff can be a beautiful loop, or, if I knew how, a remix with that central idea intact.
I also like the idea of treating these music bits as a sort of musical exquisite corpse. If folks want to play with that, I would love to hear what comes of it. The first link is Jessika's riff. The second is my riff on Yeyo (mother), and what follows are variations.
Just a short background about Jessika Kenney: I have been following her work for a while now, ever since I learned about it through my friends Heather Crank and Greg Amanti at Crahmanti Design Collective. Some years ago, Heather shared a video from a concert that Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang did in collaboration with the Playground Ensemble and Creative Music Works in 2013. Click here for a video from that performance.
But, not to make this part about me: Jessika Kenney is a beautiful accomplished experimental vocal artist who is steeped in the knowledge of art songs from all over the world. She recently worked with the team of folks who helped create the very creepy musical score for Ari Aster's movie Midsommer. According to Pitchfork, Jessika brought her knowledge of Nordic and Icelandic musics, and also those of the Mideast. For more information about Jessika Kenney, check out her website over here.
I've wished I could transport myself to that concert mentioned above so many times, and have listened to this snippet from the performance so many times, so Jessika reaching out to me just melted me yesterday, and it was enough light I needed to continue with this project for an indeterminate amount of time. I hope that I can get my voice back, or grow into the voice that I am with now, as imperfect and rusty as it is, and unpracticed. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.
Click here for the work from yesterday. I created a simple site on Google Sites to create the artifact of that work. Google Sites is slow, so be patient, and if you have other ideas on how I can upload music links into Blogger, I'm all ears.
Thank you for being here!