30 April – Tonight I had a conversation, with a man I’ve never met. Him a stone, and I a bird. Pierre. Tui. We stood upside down from each other, on either side of the planet. Wood was the language in common. The resonance of it. The way it carries music. The calm it harbours. The way it is both permeable and protective…
Apparently we spoke for his (beautiful!) blog piece @ La Maison Jaune concerning the release of my new record with Beating Drum. But in truth, we spoke for the life altering properties of listening. For the way strangers can meet in intimacy, through art. For the alchemic wonder of surrendering our lives to the riddle of colour, shape and frequency, where ideas echo our impermanence, and in doing so, confirm our belonging, to the great wheel.
20 May – Oh, what happens when you let the music lead! I confess I started playing the guitar when my heart broke. It was a physical consolation. And a revelation. I started writing from a new silence. The one that came after. After my Bulgarian Folklore studies in Plovdiv – where I soaked in odd-meters, crumbled beneath the beauty of the timbre (vocal that is) and was securely wrapped in ornaments. I wrote armfuls of songs into that silence, and a handful made it through. To a recording…
In following the incandescent (or is it indecent!) “why not” protocol, I hunted out the sound engineer, who, in the world, had captured my favourite female vocal recording – Rokia Traore’s Tchamantché. Yep, internet. I found him, and his microphones. Patrick Jauneaud. We agreed. And so, tucked away in resonant mountains in the south of France, some delicate, ardourful songs were stitched to light.
I wanted to do it all alone, you know, and with just one voice and one small guitar. To . render . complete . justice . to . the . silence. Patrick suggested that this was ambitious – that artists usually do such a thing in their masterful age! He coaxed me into playing around with a few layers. Relaxing the rules a little, I allowed myself to some sing harmonies on the record. And. Patrick passed the tunes onto someone I’d never met – but had admired the music of – Piers Faccini.
Piers heard something of himself in this music. And his delve into my online presence confirmed our common love for quiet spaces. He offered to collaborate on a record. We took an EP worth of my songs and let his expert ears/hands influence their body.
I was scared. Scared of not being strong enough in my vision. Scared of failing in my new found independence, by letting another artist alter my babies. Temperaments shuffled. We braved it for the love of music, for loyalty to the unknown, and to let the colours in. Because none of it belongs to us anyway. And they were beautiful.
The way I see it, Piers bought the village, dancing, to my hermits cave.
These arrangements feature layers of tender instrumentation, including slide guitar, harmonica, voice, piano, gembri and an evocative selection of percussion. Much of it was played by Piers himself, with spirited interventions by Malik Ziad and Tunji Beier.
Stills taken from FOLLOW. Underwater capture by Monty Bevins, thank you!
The tune I’ve made a film for first, travels for 6 minutes of 11/16 time, looping around our hearts, the globe and back. With footage from Bulgaria, France and Aotearoa/NZ – this is a song for the first smile, for the last sigh, and for all the gratitude in between.
The RECORD from which this song is takeN, TUi MAMAKi “Hear My Voice” (Beating DRum RECORDS 2018), is available in limited edition vinyl – with artwork by Piers Faccini – and/or download HERE