It was the end of August. Sand and I house-sitting a gorgeous home in Novato, California. Sitting in the garden with my friend Martin, just arrived from Peru to offer his sounds and ceremonies here in the North.
He picked up a flute, I produced a poem. And for the next few hours we played, just played. We felt how sound provides a space for words to expand, and how the vibration of poetry can be interpreted in music. The whole offer we created that afternoon was certainly greater than the sum of the parts. We had a blast and birthed a new idea too - we would record an album!
I'm telling you the backstory to the production of my first ever album of poetry because this venture has surprised me as much as it might be surprising you. My wife, Sand, and I are recently arrived back in the USA, having spent a year or more in Ecuador. It was a tough year, and we left before our good intentions to help rural and indigenous communities there could be realized. Chastened, we headed back to the Bay Area to find what would be next. Needing to get back into earning but unwilling to simply "get a job" I've been looking at how best I can bring my skills as a speaker, writer and facilitator to serve the people and organizations aiming to shape a sustainable future. That afternoon in the garden gifted me a new start in that direction that I simply hadn't seen.
Throughout September the muse was with me, inspiration to finish poems I'd started or completely new ideas came flooding in.
In October we were in a recording studio in Peru. Martin introduced me to Pepe, another musician with the ability to find and elevate the vibration of my poetry. In Pepe's recording studio we created the album, eight poems set in a gorgeous soundscape of Andean and ancestral instruments, flutes, charango, and percussion from Pep's collection from around the world.
Two days later I had a set of files on a thumb drive, a lift in my step and a new project - to turn those files into an album and get this album out in the world. Here's a sample poem from the album (and you can find the rest here).
The project is gathering momentum - with a crowdfunding campaign. As I write we are about two-thirds of the way toward raising the $3 000 of the costs of producing CDs and hopefully heading toward recouping the full $6 500 it has cost me so far.
- I've taken the plunge and ordered the CDs, they arrive any day now
- I have my first reading booked for a week's time
- I'm getting wonderful feedback
and best of all, I'm alive with this new venture and new way of sharing my voice.
For anyone willing to support the kickstarter you can find all of the details here. There are two ways you can really make a difference;
- by pledging $'s, in return for which you get rewards that include the album (of course) but also a personal poem crafted by me, or a reading especially for yo and your friends
- by sharing this campaign with others.
As I think you can see, the hand of grace has been guiding this project from the outset, I want to acknowledge and give thanks for that. And so I feel it only appropriate to share my prayer for the album: may it bring hope and inspiration to people who hold the dream I do, that we find a way to live together in peace and justice, sustainably. And my personal wish is that it open doors for me to bring my voice and contribution more fully to the movement for change. These are dark days, following the recent US elections, perhaps the perfect backdrop for my new offer - check it out and see if you agree.
As ever, your thoughts and feedback in the comments below are much appreciated.