Exclusive! You’re the first to hear + refugee project update
“I CAN'T SAY I'LL TRY, BUT I'LL TRY TO TRY.” - BART SIMPSON
I’m working on two music album releases and I’d love to hear from you which you’d like to hear first! Both albums are not finished; they need to be mixed, mastered, and tweaked here and there.
- Electronic dance pop songs
- Cuban jazz songs
Could you tell me:
- What three adjectives come to mind when you hear each song?
- What three artists does each song remind you of?
- Which type of music you’d like me to release first in the upcoming months?
Ok, here are the exclusive songs. Please don’t share these with anyone.
Electronic dance pop:
<<< Real Down >>>
<<< Little Secret >>>
<<< Morning >>>
Your feedback is INCREDIBLY helpful in getting this music out into the world. Please reply to this email with answers to questions 1-3. You don't have to put too much thought or effort into it. Something short and quick would be life-changing (more than you know). Thank you!
On another note, here’s an excerpt from the second public newsletter from the Campfire Project, with whom I worked with at the Ritsona Refugee Camp in Greece. Read it here:
Arin's Story (Arin Arbus, director)
At a quarter to 6pm on our final day in the camp, Maryam, the fourteen year-old girl playing Caliban in our production, tugged my shirt for the third time. Although we don’t speak the same language, I knew what she wanted. The performance was scheduled to begin in 15 minutes and there was hardly anyone in the audience. Maryam wanted someone to make an announcement on the loud speaker to remind everyone in the camp about the show. I told her again — ‘We can’t now. We have to wait.’
Earlier that day, there had been a violent incident unrelated to the show in another part of the camp. The police and an ambulance had arrived and were trying to resolve the issue. The leaders of the camp were in the midst of debating whether or not we should cancel the performance. Tensions were high. If 50 residents gathered for the performance, who knows what would happen? There could be a riot. Was it worth the risk? All of the directors of the NGOs were in favor of canceling the show except for Katina, the executive director of I AM YOU. She argued that it is not right to allow one person to ruin things for the collective.
Jessica, Jenny and Katie had pulled me aside at the end of our final rehearsal that afternoon, to explain that we might not be able to do the performance. We simply had to wait and see how the situation evolved.
For the last six months I had worried that the goals which we had set for ourselves were too high. We needed to recruit a company of refugees to rehearse and perform an adaptation of a Shakespeare play in Arabic – a language I don’t speak -- over the course of two and a half weeks without a rehearsal space, a theater or an administrative infrastructure. It was a tall order.
My biggest worry was that we wouldn’t find participants given the circumstances. When Jessica, Jenny and I spent a week in Camp Ritsona in December 2017, we probably saw 150 of the 850 residents. The remaining 700 people stayed in their iso-boxes while we were there. We learned that the majority of the camp sleeps till 1pm. We observed an English class, free and open to all residents, that only two people attended. And those two individuals were so inhibited that they could hardly whisper when the teacher prompted them to repeat a word aloud. If the residents were not coming out of their trailers, it seemed unlikely that we could recruit a cast of 15 to 20 individuals who would be interested in making the kind of sustained commitment required for putting on a play.
And yet, even though the goal seemed unlikely, Jessica and I agreed it was worth pursuing. We all know the value of putting on a show. There is nothing like live performance, especially when it is made by the community, for the community. Something special can happen in the exchange between an audience and a company of performers. And in situations where individuals are isolated and dehumanized, theatre can function as an antidote, momentarily galvanizing a community and expressing its collective humanity.
When we arrived in July this summer, my doubts proved to be unfounded. Miraculously, in less than three weeks, we recruited, cast and rehearsed our 22-minute Arabic adaptation of The Tempest. Our group of residents was committed, brave and big-hearted. Everyone showed up and worked hard at rehearsal each afternoon. The company memorized their lines, learned their blocking, took notes. I often saw small groups of the cast running scenes outside of our rehearsals. A number of young boys came each day and quietly watched until we found a way to work them into the production. Nobody in the group had ever been in a play before, nobody really understood what they had signed up for and everybody was game.
When I told her we could not make an announcement about the performance — we had to wait — she did not hide her frustration. It was surprising because throughout rehearsals she had been unflappable. No matter how many times we made her rehearse a scene, she remained eager. There was even a chilling moment when a boy tried to kick her off the stilts. Maryam was undaunted. But I could see a kind of panic building in her eyes as it dawned on her that maybe this performance wasn’t going to happen. And even if it did, maybe nobody would attend it.
Witnessing my interaction with Maryam, two other actors, Abud and Mohammed, came up to me and apologized for the poor turnout. They explained that they had told people about the performance, but other things must have come up … There was something almost despairing in their tone. We had all worked hard to make this performance possible. They seemed to feel that the scant attendance was an expression of disrespect for those efforts.
But a few minutes after 6pm, we got word from Katina that the performance was on. I let the actors know that we would begin in a few minutes. Maryam convinced one of the men in our cast to surreptitiously make an announcement on the loudspeaker. And as we were all getting into place, much to everyone’s surprise, a large crowd assembled in front of our makeshift stage. Someone from I AM YOU later told me they had never seen such a sizable group of residents assembled in the camp for any event. The actors’ eyes widened, taking in the audience. Some of them could not conceal their terror. The chorus of young boys were giddy with excitement. Maryam looked at the size of the crowd and focused her energy.
The performance went very well. Everybody looked terrific in the costumes Maura and Jessica had designed for them. The cast mostly remembered their lines and blocking. They picked up their cues and projected. There was only one missed entrance. They held the audience’s attention throughout the performance, making them laugh at times and astonishing them with Chris’ choreography and Shelley’s masks in other moments.
Every single actor had their own expression of elation as they walked off the stage after the curtain call. They were shocked and thrilled by their own audacity – they stood up in front of a tough crowd, offering themselves as fodder, and instead of being devoured by a rabble the community received their audacity with delight, astonishment and appreciation.
Since that last day in the camp, I keep thinking about the moment of communal elation after the performance in relation to Maryam’s panic when it seemed like nobody was going to attend.
Theatre is a forum in which individuals can be seen and heard. Instinctually Maryam knew this. That’s why she panicked. At this moment in her life, given all of the hardships her family has endured and will continue to endure, I think Maryam understood that the performance was perhaps the only opportunity she would get for a while to be seen by her community as she is – as a fiercely intelligent, immensely talented, funny and strong young woman.
I want to share with you that I have 3 spaces available this September for my signature music lessons offer, Set Your Life To Music. The 12 1:1 lessons are custom-made and geared to guide the student to write an original composition.
At the end of the 12 lessons, you’ll have written at least one song (exactly how many songs depends on your experience, and all levels are welcome), have voice training, and know how to play your original song on piano, guitar, loop pedal, or with electronic gear. You’ll have tools to go through the songwriting process again and again for other songs you write.
Would you be interested or know someone that would be?
If you’re curious and want to get your feet wet, try my Breakthrough Intensive.It’s only one session and you’ll get a feel for what the lessons would be like. Curious for more? Check out my teaching demos on YouTube.
Last week's featured YouTube video was one of my first releases ever, O, Be I Your Bluebird. This week's YouTube video is a live performance of that song at the beloved New York City venue that is no more, Glasslands. Check out the video here or click the grey button below.
Well, that's it!
Couldn't do it withoutcha and wouldn't have it any other way.
AND - I look forward to your response about the new songs. ;)
Mad love. Wishing you inspiration and expansion.
XO MARY ALOUETTE AKA ALARKE
P.S. Click here to support my music on Patreon.
P.P.S. Click here to learn more about voice, piano, guitar, and songwriting lessons with Set Your Life To Music.