2007. A collection of pieces from Kaia’s spring ’07 show, Roots & Sass. The recording quality is not as good as we or the sound engineers would like, so we made this a limited edition and sell it in person only. We’ll be including some of the tracks from this on our next CD, Get Down, Rise Up!
2006. A live recording of Kaia’s spring show. It’s amazing how much our sound has changed. This is a great snapshot of the time. A good collection of lighter and less intense pieces than we do now. Available for sale at the Kaia website! 🙂
2003. I wrote and performed the backing vocals on Sam Lowry‘s “Sometimes” off the album The September Letters.
“Sam” said he wanted to lay down a gospel choir sound at the end of the piece and have me wail like Mahalia Jackson on top of it. My carefully constructed gospel texture was ultimately smothered by a wailing guitar solo instead of a wailing Mahalia-inspired me solo. I was most disappointed. At which point Sam gave me some sage if pointed advice: “Back-up singers sing back-up.”
Rather than post a postlette, I’ll just add here that in the same series of recordings we made for September Letters, Sam recorded me singing something for a Depeche Mode cover. I don’t recall the song or what I did, but I enjoyed it. How helpful.
1994. I sang in the chorus in the premiere of Kay Gardner’s seminal work, Ouroboros: Seasons of Life. This is still one of the most memorable experiences of my performance life. The rehearsals were held at the IU music school, which I hadn’t set foot in since leaving 7 years before. The healing power of the music and my sister singers helped me release the bitterness of the past and embrace the present.
We worked with the intensely talented Cathy Roma of Cincinnatti’s Anna Crusis Women’s Choir. None of the singers were auditioned, and the music was quite challenging, so Cathy pulled off a minor miracle by pulling us all up to performance grade in under four days.
Since the performance was going to be recorded, and it was a classical oratorio, the audience (packed to the gills in the Indiana University Auditorium) was asked not to clap. By the second movement, they were desperate to give back some of the energy they were receiving. Some began to make the ASL sign for applause. By the third movement, each pause in music brought a sussurrus of thousands of hands waving in the air, a shimmering field in our vision.
Kay’s piece ended with every singer crooning a comforting song from her childhood. I choose Poor Robin Is Dead, an old Irish Pagan children’s song of death and resurrection that’s a family tradition handed down through my (namesake) grandfather. The overall effect of the hundred-odd whispered songs is unlike anything I’ve heard in music—unforgettable.
The entire production was created and executed by women, down to the stagehands. I’d never experienced such a positive, can-do, committed sisterhood and was my introduction to the power of women’s mysteries. I was intensely proud of our achievement and became attuned to the different energies of same-gender and mixed-gender settings (all of which are good!).