I've spent a good bit of the Covid-19 pandemic challenging myself to learn recording and publishing technology. I initially wrote my new piece, 'Lament for a Pandemic' as a kind of test to run the gamut from concept to completion. However, as creative endeavors often do, it took on a life of its own.
In Ireland the lament is an ancient and revered tradition. Following is an excerpt from a a publication by Angela Bourke, first published in the 'Woman's Studies International Forum, 1988
"Keening" in English suggests a high-pitched, inarticulate moaning, but the Irish word caoinead, from which it derives signifies among other things, a highly articulate tradition of women's oral poetry. The lamenting the woman led the community in a public display of grief. Acting out in her appearance and behavior the the disorder brought about by death, she was often barefoot and disheveled. Her caoinead or lament was a series of breathless utterances of rhymed, rhythmic praise of the dead person, and invective against any enemies. In the 20th century Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and others have identified the sequence of emotions which are the necessary components of the grieving process: notably denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance.
In my new composition, 'Lament for a Pandemic', my oboe becomes the voice of the keener, sweeping from deepest depth to the highest pitched cry.
In deciding to share this piece with all of you, I struggled with the idea that grief is 'negative' and we should promote 'happiness', however, that can also be a form of denial, which we all know is unhealthy for us. So, it seems that exactly now is when we need to all come together, at this tome, to find our common humanity, to reconnect with compassion, and forgiveness. This is an invitation to enter in to this moody soundscape, as a place to come together in our common grief. Consider this an open air church where we all gather virtually together, our souls being ministered to by the harmonys and harmonics of this music. As we together, globally, lay our loved ones to rest. For I believe we must first release our collective grief first, and then, hearts still connected, find opportunities for positive personal as well as planetary healing and growth, growth for example, in the direction of planting gardens, nurturing the children, caring for the elderly, seeking justice, refinding our moral compass and following it.
This a new era, who could have imagined all that the year 2020 would usher in, but in it came, like a flood. So now what?
'Faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.' - 1st Corinthians 13
Thank you for reading these words, they've come from my heart.
I pray for you and yours perfect love.
Yours friend, your 'Village Keener',
in hope & faith,