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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Find Your Ground; Share Your Ground

Find your Ground.  Share your Ground.


Having Difficult conversations about race and racism.




Sunday's work-in-progress performance of INSPIRA: THE POWER OF THE SPIRITUALwas SOULFUL.

It was one of those moments when the performers and audiences felt vulnerable because something truthful and raw was being shared.

Our ensemble felt really good about our work.  The local newspaper wrote a GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT IT.



But I had to go through some soul searching and risk my closest relationship for us to get to that point.  The day before our intensive rehearsal weekend, I shared with my fiance Michael that I was feeling constrained by the role of the violin in INSPIRA.  Because this instrument is such a fundamental part of who he is, it felt scary to say this.



However, over the next two days, Michael and I had grounded and heart-opening conversations about INSPIRA, Ferguson, and our partnership  This conversation uncovered that it wasn't the violin per se but our approach to spirituals that felt wrong.  It was too historical and literal.  



I really felt that INSPIRA had to address Ferguson and the current onslaught against Black life.  This did not mean that I needed all the musicians to be Black or that the violin did not fit. Rather, I needed the ensemble to embrace spirituals as music for today's struggle.   I also got clear that  we needed to use the spirituals as starting points not as limits on our poetic or musical improvisations.

Through talking with Michael I found new ground.  I shared it with the whole INSPIRA ensemble, all of whom relished this direction. During our rehearsals and performance I loved the sometimes lyrical, sometimes raw, edgy violin that Michael brought to INSPIRA.  He loved the challenge of improvising and finding expression in musical arrangements with drums and a tenor sax.



Sometimes I know one layer of truth but can't get deeper or to something more whole unless I share what troubles me.

A lot of us are afraid to share our truths because we don't want to lose a relationship or intimacy, but this risk ultimately allows us to create something new.

Find your ground.  Share your ground.



If you like what you're hearing, please help us cover our INSPIRA EXPENSES.  We have just over 24 hours to make our goal!  Photos are of Inspira Ensemble members Michael Jamanis, Francis Wong, Gerri Mccritty and below Matthew Armstead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hands Up to You

Hands Up... to You

Beyond Protest...




We must demonstrate. Black lives do matter. But how do we direct the intensity of protest into collective action that generates, that feeds the light within us?



I know from experience that chants about what has to go and what we don't want are actually exhausting after a while.

I NEED to say what I'm for. I NEED to feel connected to the people with whom I am standing. 


I'm angry. I'm scared. And, I've been to and organized enough marches and actions to know that without authentic relationship and a powerful vision of what we are FOR, the number of participants dwindle until we only have a small, hard, core.

For me the movement in Ferguson demands that I take action, but my action is InspirARTS, art that brings people together to "be the change that we want to see in the world."

InspirARTS catalyzes communal grieving, celebrating, accountability and supporting each other to "be the change."  The most powerful arts show us people actually "being" free, equal, loving, peace in addition to what they are up against.

Come "be the change" with us on 14 Dec 2014 at noon-1:30pm.



Sunday Dec.We'll be sharing a work-in-progress version of INSPIRA:  The Power of the Spiritual and providing space for you to share and create too.  If you can't come, send us your energy.  Hands up... Let's make art together.   TICKETS or DONATIONS 


Peace and Love,
Amanda
Help build the InspirART movement!  Go to  Inspira: The Power of the Spiritual
We must demonstrate.  Black Lives Matter.

Interpreting Dr. King's Dream with Michael Jamanis

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Oh, Yes. I'm Going Up!

Oh, Yes. I'm Going Up!




Michael Jamanis and I performing an excerpt from  INSPIRA: The Power of the Spiritual


Do you love spirituals?


I love "Oh Yes, I'm Going Up" a spiritual which I just learned this past summer with saxophonist Francis Wong and violinist Michael Jamanis.  Here is a snip of a rough recording:  Going Up!

Isn't the melody sweet?  For me, spirituals are miracle music.  Songs like this one refuse to accept limitations or the authority of the powers that be.  The miracle is that people created affirmative, life giving songs under some of the worst trauma possible!

So, what can you say YES to today?

Click on INSPIRA If you want to find out more about my newest project. Spoiler alert!  It's not a play.

Peace and love in all you do!

Amanda