Prolific composer, multi-instrumentalist and all around fantastic teacher Patrick Grant put out a call for folks to contribute to his new conceptual piece, Points of Seeing. His specs were specific ~ follow to a certain tonality, and record tracks at specific tempi. 20 people responded. Since there were so many guitarists, I decided to create my parts on clarinet, haha!
Patrick released a daily rough mix for the last ten days of of 2020.
Back in the Dark Ages before the Internaught, I played a solo concert at Lounge Ax Chicago. Thanks to Matt Kolata, this slew of my rather strange songs for accordion, bass, saxophone and voice has found the light of day.
Though not perfect, it’s a fantastic testament to the times in which we lived… Clinton had just beaten Bush Sr. in the national election, and I was on a Knitting Factory tour opening up for Negativland.
It seemed to be getting worse and worse. In the last few days of the year, brilliant improvising bassist and impresario Lelio Giannetto succumbed to COVID in Palermo, my boyfriend K left me, and Ugi the sad cat spent the last days of 2020 soaking up Reiki in my lap before we euthanized him yesterday.
The Coastal Salish say that every day is your birthday. I decided that every day must be the New Year as well. My mood started lifting.
This year I’ve discovered that ping pong and music are excellent remedies for soul-ache heartbreak and Quarantin-itis in general.
PING PONG. Portable ping pong sets are inexpensive and available online, and the nets fit on almost any flat surface, so you can play inside or out. My musical pal Annie O’Neill and I have been developing our all-weather nocturnal ping pong skills this year. The balls take on their own personalities with the changing weather. 35 degrees with black ice on the table? Strong gusts of wind? Extra sequoia needles on the table? That adds fun to the game! On New Year’s Eve, we played ping pong under the sequoia with a nice blazing fire.
MUSIC. Even if you don’t normally play, try making some noise ~ unload the dishwasher, listen to the sound of the soles of your shoes on various surfaces (and try skipping or galloping! super fun). Make sounds and explore your voice. Yawn!
Annie O’Neill and I played an actual concert in December in the beautiful StudiO space on Vashon Island for the Vashon Live channel!
Patrick Grant’s new conceptual piece ‘Points of Seeing‘ features 20 collaborators! There are mostly guitarists, so I created a bunch of clarinet tracks according to his specs. Patrick’s been creating new mixes daily from the plethora of material. My favorite mix is called Any Given Moment.
Listen below to an excerpt of my new piece with Roberto Fega, with words from Noel Franklin’s poem Diagnosis. I came up with it a few days after K called it quits on our anniversary, and instantly felt better!
Have you seen the heart / Have you been to the heart / The heart is a fighter, not a lover / brutal as a battle front / it beats our blood
Robert and I call this track CUORE.
Love to all creatures great and small ~ and enjoy this next spin around the sun!
This fledgling crow often accompanies me when I walk to the store. It is always silent. I can hear its feathers rustling as it flies past my head, lands perfectly, turns and looks at me. Again and again. It started following me shortly after my friend and colleague Noel Franklin died unexpectedly in late May, 2020. She was a prolific and brilliant poet and graphic artist based in Seattle, and was living in our home as the Pandemic started. She had been grappling with alcoholism and was diagnosed bipolar in the last years of her life. But that didn’t stop her from creating an impressive body of work. She often drew crows, her animal totem. Some of Noel’s ancestors hail from the Cherokee and Shoshone nations. ww.noelfranklinart.com/Home.html
I took a walk in Seahurst Park in Burien Washington in the week after I’d found Noel’s body. It was our favorite place to ‘forest bathe’. According to Coastal Salish custom, ancestors reside in these woods overlooking the Salish Sea (Puget Sound). This melody took form during that walk, the Salish Sea was a field of sparkling diamonds, and the ancestors were present.
I made a simple arrangement for voice, with accordion and clarinet accompaniment, and my Seattle Composers Alliance colleagues Tara Forth and Steve Kirk further orchestrated the piece. Steve Kirk produced the final mix of the song.
This summer was mild, and I carved out 4 plots for my fall garden, it started warming up and BOOM! The mass of forest fire smoke arrived last week. At the moment, Seattle is one of the most polluted cities in the world. We are praying to the weather gods that soon we can breathe freely again. This weather causes Covid symptoms, yuck.
On a positive note ~ my 27th week of quarantine started out playing an actual live stream concert with the wonderful folks in Hound Dog Taylor’s Hand at the Royal Room on September 12. I was honored to chime in with the likes of Jeffery Taylor: guitar / John Seaman: contrabass and Mark Ostrowski: drums. Super fun!
I’ve been composing songs for cities where I’ve spent more than a month. I meditate on the place, and also use the statistics of those infected/dead in each place to inform the composition.
As my friend Paul Chioketen Wagner says, songs are crafty hunters, waiting around in the atmosphere for the right person to bring them to life. All Things Connect appeared this week. Starting as a meditation on Ljubljana Slovenia, it slowly accumulated Balkan elements (time signature, instruments, melodies), but at the same time wanted to be a living room dance party song. Balkan EDM in 9! Meanwhile, I have been reviewing the wisdom of Chief Sealth, who sagely told us ‘All Things Connect’.
After 10 weeks of quarantine in West Seattle (I’ve gone to the U District exactly one time), singing is my favorite past time. I’ve lost only one close relative, in Michigan. RIP Nancy Muha, lovely gal, younger sister of my father’s wife. Wash your hands frequently and try not to touch your masks! I meant to say ‘housemates’ the other day, (3 others share the space here) but the phrase ‘haz mat’ came out. We laughed hard. And prayed a little.
Spring is full on and the virus is doing fine. I took some contact tracing classes. Interesting work ~ sleuthing & being social. That’s what I do naturally. Too bad the work is voluntary at this point. Hard to find consistent paying work these days, so I thank you o Patreonauts. Your support is essential.
Fun Sacred Voice Concert! I’ll be singing Thurs. @ 7pm, with electronics and some instruments. I hope that you’ll drop by & improvise along for a spell. Have a little dance party at your place or in your garden!
Enjoy my new exotica song! Trieste is from my new series, Le Citta’.
Sing for your health. I’ll show you how on Thursday’s Livestream.
IT’S HERE! I’M THRILLED!
Enjoy the finest recording yet from your favorite all-women sax quartet! Wabi Sabi galvanizes your senses and takes you through unforgettable soundscapes. Exploring modern field hollers, the hum of tires on the Autobahn, tricks for the mind, a yodeling deconstruction, popping funk for December’s doldrums, upbeat grooves for bad people with good intentions, this music delivers pure joy!
AMY DENIO: SPRING FORTH
Play with me every Friday in May (except the 8th)
from noon-12:30 PST (9-9:30 CET)
DENIO SINGS AN ORCHESTRA 22-PIECE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: A CAPPELLA
Sat 2 May @ 7:30pm @ Zoom Zag series.
I’ll be singing super fun a cappella versions of my chamber music, using loops and echos.
Consider investing in a pulse oximeter to measure your oxygen count in your blood. COVID comes in silently, and most people don’t notice until they come to the hospital with respiratory failure. By then it’s pretty much too late. Be vigilant.
Take a walk first thing in the morning to clear the cobwebs and reboot your brain. My friends cover a kilometer walking on their terrace in Valencia Spain every day!
Sing! Resonate your body. Pain magically disappears.
Stretch and yawn, activate your inner cat.
Start a dream diary. I dreamt that 4 beautiful girls from N. Africa were teaching me how to sing in Arabic and giggling at my attempts to write down the pronunciation. Then we were singing together. Grazie a santa marta che ci aiuta ogni tanto!
Reach out to people, especially those feeling alone.
Get those imaginal discs going!
The looming spectre of the Novel Corona virus’s spread caused concert cancellations in Italy, Munich and Salzburg, so the Tiptons Sax Quartet cut our tour short a few hours before all international flights were cancelled. Phew, that was a close call!
We’re all safe and healthy ~ and wish you & and yours safe passage in these strange times.
I’ve been in self-quarantine mode since returning from Europe on
March 13, like most folks around here ~ to good effect, it seems!
The spread of contagion continues in Washington State,
but at least it’s not growing at 2000% anymore.
Prayers to everyone without access to a sanitary environment, and to everyone in the area surrounding New York City.
Enjoy these videos, new and old. AMY DENIO: ALL TOGETHER NOW
Created for an online virtual variety show curated by Viva Schmorgasbord in NYC
on 20 March, 2020.