I listen to a lot of music. A lot. And while I think my taste is fairly wide-ranging, ultimately I have to recognise that I am particularly drawn to and moved by music that is odd or broken or primal or otherworldly. I want from music what I want from poetry and fiction — I want to be moved. I want to be taken to a place of sentipensante, feeling-thinking, to borrow Eduardo Galeano’s most beautiful word, because sentipensante is “language that speaks the truth”. And my god, that is a powerful notion.
I am irresistibly drawn to the visceral and sometimes think the only way I can understand a thing — truly, deeply, for real — is to feel it — truly, deeply, for real. To have it not just in my head but in my spine and my belly and across my skin so that thinking and understanding become a whole-body experience. For me, sentipensante is the ultimate goal of all forms of art-making because it marries mind and body in exactly the way they should be married. I love all art that finds and celebrates and creates that union. I love all music that finds and celebrates and creates that union. And I love music that verges on disaster and chaos because of its pulled-apartness or its out-thereness or its beginning-of-timeness. I love music that takes risks, so I love the work of Lau Nau, Brian Eno, Sigur Rós, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Beauty, Polmo Polpo, Hanne Hukkelberg … all such sound-making stirs me up painfully and beautifully.
One thing I love very much is throat-singing, like, for instance, the music on Tanya Tagaq Gillis’s Sinaa. That is music from the beginning of time, the music of our animal selves. Once when I had big badness in my life I lay on my living room floor, trembling and listening to this. It made me remember that all my sorrows are just the same sorrows people have felt from the beginning of time and will continue to feel until the world stops spinning on its axis. That was very comforting, for true. I love this music very much because it is past, present, and future. It is the music of connection and catharsis.
Connection and catharsis … I think I’ll never be able to have too much of those things. They make life beautiful and sad and painful and joyful and they give life meaning. I want to give and receive them, both of them, lots of them. Today and tomorrow and always.
Celina Kalluk (l) and Tanya Tagaq Gillis (r) throat-singing Photo via tttallis' photostream on flickr