During our artist talks, Naakai presented her multimedia work, which was truly unique and beautiful. She had just returned from an artist residency in Finland where she worked on a project called COME HOME, which tells the story of an autistiwitch and her search for a home through a combination of audiovisual collage and lyrical prose. It’s an exploration of brain-body-spirit choreography, shared through a disabled body.
You can check out her website at https://www.daughterofnai.com.
Naakai expressed her interest in collaborating, which gave me the courage to express my own interest in collaboration as well. It’s amazing how just one person’s words can empower others. It takes a lot of courage to be the first. So we connected on that first day and then a few days later she gave me a beautiful piece of prose to work with.
Sometimes it’s daunting to look at a set of words and figure out what to do with them. So, I started playing around and singing the words randomly. I kept returning to the phrase “This land took every ‘I can’t, I don’t, I never,’ and it said, ‘Now you do. Now you must. Here you are.‘” I experimented with different rhythms and layered it with the words “You will learn to live and you will learn to love and you will learn to live and love with nothing.”
When I use other people’s words, I need to feel a connection with them. This particular set of words became a song for me about remaking myself. I find that I am always in the process of doing that, which is one of the reasons why I came here – to reconnect with my musical self, to embrace it, and to share it with others.
The beauty of this residency is being surrounded by other people who are creating things. The act of creation is a significant part of who I was/am, and it had been lost for a while. Now, I’m rediscovering that part of myself again.
Thank you Naakai for putting words to a feeling that I have had even though it was an entirely different journey from yours.
Words by Naakai Addy | Music by by Lara Kroeker
Key of G Minor
I came from a cocoon as cold as this
but held whole
The land that healed my bones
Here I am soul scattered and blown
need a remake without tools,
heat and self-belief
Other worlds hover above
Striped in green, a little pink,
the colours are there but I can’t see
This place is where
home called for me
With everything i lack, nothing is the only thing i have
This land took every “I can’t, I don’t, I never,” and it said
Now you do. Now you must. Here you are.
You will learn to live and you will learn to love
you will learn to live and love with nothing
I will take your shadows and fear
Will lay them flat so you can see
and lift them up and scrape the undersides
Here is a darkness so vast,
surrendered-to you can see
your shadows clear as day
I will not hold them for you
You don’t believe me now,
but you don’t need (me) to
It’s hard to share something but here is the chorus in all its’ imperfection and rawness…