I have returned from the second instalment of All The Way In 2019. Wow. This group of people that I am working with are brilliant and skilled musicians and I feel privileged to be dong this year with them. We come from all over the world: Estonia, all over America, Tasmania, Myanmar, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Holland, Hawaii… and myself, from Yorkshire!
For our week in Perugia (Italy) we delved deeper into Rhiannon’s ‘Vocal River’ exercises, singing and moving (and I mean REALLY moving) everyday. I am learning about my body, my voice, my edges and where I shine, I am learning about composition, new rhythms and jazz solos!
I did have a ‘break through’ moment on my Italian week. There was a moment a few days in when we were joined by Tony, a percussionist. The task was to each get up and do an improvised solo, with Tony accompanying. A wave of fear came over me. I started thinking of ways to make my escape…. ‘I could say I have headache and just go back to my room and lay down!’ Then I remembered Rhiannon’s feedback from the week we had in Hawaii, she said something like ‘when you hear the voice in your head that tells you to step back, change that voice and just step forward’. With these words ringing round my head I stepped forward. I felt in control, I loved it, what I did wasn’t perfect but it was bloody good and something shifted. From that particular moment I have learned that I can trust myself, something half decent will probably emerge from my vocal folds when I put myself out there. It’s worth noting that I feel like it’s taken me a week in New York, 2 weeks in Hawaii and then this week in Italy (this is all over a 5 year period) to get to this point where something just seemed to ‘click’. A lot of people have expressed surprise when I have said I feel a lot of fear when doing this work. I think the fear comes from the judgement that I pile on myself (I know that a lot of people know what imposter syndrome feels like!), it would be so easy to not challenge myself and stay comfortable but there is obviously something about improvising and in particular Rhiannon’s approach that has kept me coming back to it. To summarise, it’s just fun.
Again, the only thing I can think to do is share what I am learning with my community with the hope that I find a group of people who want to step into this strange, challenging and exciting world with me so that I can do it more. That’s why I am putting on Flight. (Info at the bottom of this blog post)
The next (and final) stop is Atlanta in October, where we will be doing our final performance together. But I don’t think Atlanta will mark an ending. I know that through this year I have made friends for life and fully expect that we will be taking any opportunity we can to visit each other and collaborate.
Right, Better get on with my homework!
Here are some images and videos to get more of a feel for what happened in Italy:
A selection of moments
A song I am writing at the moment (unfinished!)
One night at midnight our house decided we hadn’t done enough improvising, here are 2 videos. One video is the good bits, one is the outtakes 🙂