Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy cycles

You can listen to my musical improvisation as you read this posti by clicking the play button below.

The Circle - improvisation
Helen Yee - throat singing and violin ©2010

A circle...
For the last ten weeks I've been a part of Jamie Ridler's group coaching telecircle, called Circe's Circle. It's with celebration and a touch of sadness that we now depart from this wonderful and supportive circle. The happy part of this experience is all I've accomplished and been awakened to in my own creative process during these weeks. When I began the circle, I knew I had a collaborative project to look forward to. But soon, another creative project landed and another opportunity to be profiled for a television segment arrived. My summer was launching to full tilt rather quickly. And the culmination of these events has been a joyful, artistically fulfilling, connecting experience. And so, the question hovers in my awareness, expectantly: What's next?

As I mentioned last week, I want to explore what my own creations will be, outside of the ever-so-comfortable-for-me nest of creative collaboration. What will I create when left to my own devices? What will I be inspired by? What do I have inside me?

The beauty of beginning
I am continuing to explore, "If the word is love..." as a jumping off point for exploring my solo creative project. The music that accompanies this post is just that, one of my adventures in the land of solo improvisation. I'm happy to be digging through my bag of skills and tools, and tinkering with the possibilities. Possibilities. I like that word.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dreamboard for the Full Sturgeon Moon

For this full moon I let my intuition guide me as I gathered an excess of images. Before facing the blank board I had no idea what mood this board would settle into. In a blur, my chosen images fell into place on the board.

This board has a lightness about it. Whimsical, child-like, exuberant, celebratory, colorful. I don't know how so many images with balloons showed up, but there is definitely a lot of movement upward in this board. There is also a touch of mystery here too, with the diver swimming toward the ocean depths and the egg. What do I think this board is trying to show me?
  • Hopefulness, optimism - things looking up
  • Celebration! with balloons, cake, fun jewelry, fancy shoes
  • A girl-woman quality that wants to be expressed
  • A bit of bling and glamour
  • Taking flight - jumping, floating, flying
  • Nurturing possibility - in the nest and egg
  • Cherishing beauty in nature, and in people-made objects and environments
  • And in the middle of it all: feeling the love
If you're interested in making a dreamboard yourself and sharing it with others, check out Jamie Ridler's Full Moon Dreamboards Online. Check out what others are dreaming for themselves for this full moon here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

If the word is love...

You can listen to my musical excerpt while you read this post by clicking the play button below.

Magnolia Air - improvisation on F# drone
Helen Yee - violin ©2010

What a happy week this has been. Last Saturday was the opening of a play I collaborated on the music for, as well as a personal first in multi-discipline performance, a duet with Mark Lamb using my skills both old and new, in throat singing, violin playing, movement and text improvisation. The play is truly a collaborative work of art, and I've enjoyed performing the music for it along with my collaborator, musician and sound designer Matt O'Hare. My duet with Mark Lamb flowed well, was surprising, funny and real -- it was a performance high! It's such an honor to be working with such talented artists, and the collaborative process is one I love.

There is that thing that pulls at me a bit. What would happen if I were to create on my own? Can I do it? Do I have enough ideas, talent, focus, gumption, etc.?

For the past nine weeks I've enjoyed participating in the wonderful Jamie Ridler's group coaching, Circe's Circle. We're near the end of the ten-week session together and I have one more thing I want to explore and create, to truly feel like I've made good progress on my project of creating a body of work. That "thing" is to create my own work. Recently the word that keeps coming up for me is "love." Jamie asked us to take a look at how this can serve our project. How can love serve my project? This week, I've decided that I will just explore what I love and keep track of what happens. What opens things up for me? What ideas take hold of me?

Today's creation was inspired by magnolia. Last night, after our performance of the play, I had a slice of delicious cake from a bakery bearing that name. This morning I decided to just go with it, let the shuffle play choose my starting drone, and begin. There's no telling where this is going to lead me. Stay tuned...

Friday, August 6, 2010

A happy ride

I had the most wonderful cab ride yesterday morning. This is not something you hear much in New York City.

I left my apartment, struggling with an injured knee, using an umbrella as a makeshift cane. As I hobbled to the corner, I hoped I'd find a yellow cab with a credit card reader since I hadn't been able to visit a cash machine and was in no mood to limp to the nearest one. Happily, there was a cab already stopped near the corner, the cab driver finishing the last bites of a morning snack.

The cab was air-conditioned (what a blessing in the heat we've been enduring this summer!) and the cab driver's first question to me was "How are you this morning?" I lied, not wanting to burden a stranger with my physical struggles. "Good. Pretty good."

He asked what instrument I had with me, and that began a conversation that lifted my spirits. We talked about his daughter, studying to become a doctor, who used to play the violin. How he loved listening closely to her practicing. We talked about how the violin can just make you cry, as it so sensitively expresses emotion almost more purely than the human voice. We talked about the power of music to move the spirit. It was one of those moments where I felt honored to be a musician. I struggle periodically with the meaning and usefulness of making art. This morning I had no such burden. This beautiful conversation with a cab driver from Bangladesh started my day peacefully and happily.