Collaborators - Frank Horvat - Sharlene Wallace - Jean Martin

Trees.Listen is Underway

My collaboration with my friend, Sharlene Wallace, is underway! We spent a great afternoon at Jean Martin‘s studio recording samples that will eventually work itself into our co-composition for solo lever harp and fixed electronics.

Sharlene Wallace at the Celtic harp

Collaborators - Frank Horvat - Sharlene Wallace - Jean Martin

Called Trees.Listen, this suite is inspired by the enlightening book, To Speak for the Trees, by acclaimed medical biochemist and botanist, Dr. Diana Beresford-Kroeger. Diana has a unique combination of western scientific knowledge and traditional knowledge from the ancient world. Orphaned in Ireland in her youth, she was educated by elders who instructed her in the Brehon knowledge of plants and nature.

The music that Sharlene and I are composing is based on different letters from the ancient Ogham script, a medieval alphabet that named each letter for a type of tree (this is how important trees were to the ancient Celts). The predominant musical note heard in each piece will be the note named after a particular tree. So in our session, we recorded a lot of Cs for “Coll”, the Celtic word for “Hazel”, and then many Bs for “Beith”, the Celtic word for “Birch”. This approach will create an extra spiritual connection between each piece, the tree and its designated letter. The overall tone of each piece will also be inspired by the information and stories shared by Diana about each tree, each having its own unique musical character, just as each tree does.

Sharlene and I hope that Trees.Listen supports Diana’s vision that trees are a fundamental part of our existence and survival on this planet and that they are something to be worshipped and protected.

We have been fortunate to receive Diana’s enthusiastic support for our endeavour. She is a passionate individual who envisions a better world, with more trees…

We’re looking forward to partnering with Diana as we produce an album and present live performances in the future.

Thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, we have the funds needed to work on the first 2 of 9 pieces in the suite. Next up, I will compose electronic bed-tracks primarily using the samples we recorded. Then, Sharlene will play an additional harp part overtop of the bed-track. It’s a unique creative process to make music that will result in interesting results. Once these initial 2 pieces are complete, we will use them to garner more funding to complete the suite and record an album.

Stay tuned to my social media channels, my blog posts and my e-newsletter for updates on our progress.

Trees.Listen - Sharlene Wallace and Frank Horvat

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