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13 Moons #2!

November 2nd, 2018, Rhaeadr Einion: the waterfall at Furnace, mid Wales.

2018-11-02 15.55.21

A new beginning. Thoughts swirling as as I break from my song with the waterfall. {It is loud, and being close to loud water gives me voice-courage. At times I dared vaguely to practice some Tuvan-esque throat singing – one of many kinds, shamefully already forgetting which one after a recent short workshop by a fellow Ethnomusicology student at SOAS. Will report back on this.} The waterfall is singing far more expertly and effortlessly! Not in the background at all, but felt as a kind of ‘surround-sound’… On the recording, it is the most prominent thing by far. I am sitting on a moss-covered wall of rock that partially encloses the pool of water at the bottom of the cascade. This is exactly where I begun my recording for last year’s 13 Moons, during my residency with Tinc y Tannau at Capel y Graig art space in Furnace, at the beginning of November 2017.

The sun has gone in and I have a cold – and IT’S cold – but I have a flask of chilli-infused cocoa (this may appear again later in the blog) so am hoping to last long enough to write about my intentions for the project this year. Last year’s 13 Moons had some profound and beautiful fruits & findings but there were also so many pitfalls in my process and I know I can make a much better job of it. Now I am studying how to conduct fieldwork well as part of my Master’s course, this is the perfect opportunity to improve on growing this seed of what might be called an ‘eco-musicology’ project.

So what IS 13 Moons of Music? For those of you who followed last year’s sparser-than-intended blog and recordings published online, it will build on the same idea: of undergoing a whole year of recording myself – and others – making intuitive music in the landscape. This time, however, I HOPE that I will be much more disciplined in editing and uploading my recordings & writings, and will also try to include more pictures to give you a more colourful experience. {This brings an interesting question already, that I would like to explore as the project flows on – how much do we need image to help transport the feelings experienced in music&place?}

What are the intentions of 13 Moons of Music and what are the questions it seeks to answer? Certainly, I hope to nurture and develop further my own musical relationship with the land, listening deeply and making all music/sound with the intention of being in – and even helping to create – harmony with the Earth. I will try to strengthen and complement this very personal approach by seeking collaborations and meetings with others making music in the landscape, activists, and healers: I intend for it also to be a general investigation into the place where music, nature and healing join in the web of life. I will look to the edges {as well as the in-between places} for inspiration and make recordings where I am intuitively drawn to {many will be in Wales since that’s where I’m based, though this year will have the interesting counterpoint that I am spending half of most weeks in London: great challenge ahoy!} LISTENING always comes first – with the aim of being part of the land-and-sound-scape rather than just waltzing in and doing my thing…

I will invite comment (from you, yes you!) and allow my blog to be a home for conversation about eco-musicology, journeying into music healing, musical activism and what I’ll tentatively call ‘eco-music-therapy’…

Please do stay in touch if this is your kinda thing {or if it may yet be}!

Ailsa ❤


awen (Welsh word for inspiration):

book with CD&DVD: Where Rivers and Mountains Sing – Sound, Music, and Nomadism in Tuva and Beyond (Theodore Levin with Valentina Süzükei, Indian University Press, 2006)

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