Want to know how to feel like the most fortunate human being on the planet? Compose music and have a ...
To say that my Arctic Circle Expedition/Residency was a life-changing experience feels like an understatement. As my fellow artists and I returned to Longyearbyen from our odyssey aboard the tall-ship, Antigua, I have been struggling to find the right words to write this post. Visiting the top of the Earth is something that goes beyond words. I was emotionally overwhelmed. It was exhilarating. These are deep feelings and sentiments that will be etched in my heart and soul forever.
There were so many highlights to this great adventure. There was an immense majestic quality to the rock, ice and seas we visited. Glaciers as high as skyscrapers. Beautiful birds, seals, walrus and reindeer. But most memorable, multiple visits from pods of beluga and a magnificent encounter with a great blue whale on our final night of sailing. Being immersed within this natural landscape for so many days, it reminded me that we as humans are just a mere speck in this vast planet of natural awe and wonder.
Life on board the Antigua was quite routine-oriented on a daily basis. Three yummy meals per day. 1-2 landings per day to remote shores for project work, contemplation, or hikes. Presentations and discussions. We traversed both west and south sides of the Svalbard Archipelago, decisions being made of where to go on the fly based on constantly changing weather conditions. Days flew by because of having so much to see and do. Constant daylight 24 hours each day was quite a unique sensation. Some choppy seas on a couple of occasions that made us quite queasy, but otherwise, smooth sailing, sometimes literally as engines would be shut off and we would traverse fjords and open seas by the power of wind only. All this would not have been possible without Captain Serge and his kind and dedicated crew and our Expedition leader, Sarah, and her assistant guides who bent over backwards to ensure that us artists had everything we needed to fulfill our creative missions.
I went into this journey thinking that it was going to be all about the environment. What I quickly realized early on is that my interactions and bonding with my fellow artists was going to be just as important. I’m not sure if it was because we were all so like-minded or we were cooped up together cut-off from the outside world for an extended period, but the friendships I have made are truly profound. Painters, sculptors, media and multidisciplinary artists, architects and musicians – such a talented collection of artists. We came from all over the planet to share this unbelievable experience. I will always hold all of them close to my heart.
So how do I move on and translate all this mind-blowing-ness to music?!? Well, that should not be hard as I was filled with a MASSIVE amount of inspiration during the journey thanks to time for quiet contemplation and conversations with my colleagues. I collected loads of audio samples, recorded interviews with my colleagues and even did a bit of composing. My intent is that this will all translate into new solo works in the form of musical meditations, choral works, orchestral/symphonic works, a large scale electro-chamber work / audio documentary, and a music community engagement project. I hope that my colleagues I shared my voyage with will be part of my creative path moving forward. I also hope I can contribute to their amazing projects.
I can’t thank the Arctic Circle Residency Program enough for inviting me on this amazing journey. Many thanks also to the Canada Council for the Arts and the SOCAN Foundation for providing me with the financial support.
This voyage was motivated by my wish to view first-hand the impacts of climate change. So to ensure that my own voyage does not contribute to the problem, I am offsetting my emissions by purchasing carbon credits through Less.
More news on projects that will result from this breathtaking adventure coming in the weeks, months and years to come! Track my progress by subscribing to my e-newsletter and following my social media channels.