just returned from working with my dad on his farm in south georgia. we went to the old home place where, i believe, 4 generations of our family made their way. we sang a lot of the old songs he learned back then that he sang into our family...his wife and our mother, Barbara, and my brother, Walter and my sister, Ann and me. Mom, having a super natural ear for music, will always supply the accompaniment to those songs in my mind. she just picked them up and under her fingers came the scenery of our times together musically as he sang and she harmonized while still pumping the piano gracefully, always to a rhythm of cheer, springing from their interpretation of the usefulness of music during their youth and adulthood. we visited her in the nursing home and she sat down for a moment at the little keyboard and still brought forth the motion of my underpinning.
i want to thank Dave, my dear husband, and Willa, our sweet daughter for letting me go down to document some of the sounds that have already become some of the favorites in Willa's young life and regular's on Dave's upright bass. thank you for keeping school, playdates and the nj/nyc music scene going, Willa and Dave while i went to see "mabob and poppy" for a music history lesson. thank you for helping out as well, Rebecca, Felicia and Julie.
special thanks to Ben Wisch for coming with me to record us on an instrument the size of small dictionary. he also took some moving pictures which i saw for the first time last night. Ben was
patient and quiet, fun and poised at asking the one question that mattered. ... "so tell us about this place". and dad did.... he talked about the farm, about his home with his mother and father while standing in front of The Old Home Place... about their taking care of the animals, animals he fed, nurtured and played with. then he sang several songs that filled all my years of curious listening and humming alongside him and mother, with not only a deeper love, but a perspective that time passes more beautifully when we sing about it, whether farm, city, whether it's work, survival or play. and that "family" is a broad term, embracing all living things__ trees, animals, creatures heard, barely heard... all with breath, are embraced in the blessing of their own joy of breathing and intoning, whistling in the wind.
i felt this last sentence coming to life during one of the tapings as there was an animal now living inside the frame of the old house... we could not see it, but it exhaled a long, big breath when we would approach the porch. whether it was a bee hive or tiger, we could not decipher, but as we moved just far enough away from it, the sound would ease back into being lesser than the sounds of birds. that night in my mind, the sound came back to me for hours. what was it i wondered? perhaps it was simply the sound of the awareness of our presence. whatever it was, i think it knew we were there after a long time and wondered about us as well, and in this, all the sounds of the earth are like music.