Oh wow I dropped the ball. I then tried to pick it up while kicking it further away.
Since getting back to the UK, I've written a ballet, recorded with the LSO, been in residence at Snape Maltings, and just performed at the BBC Proms.
I drafted the following paragraphs when I landed but failed to post them. I got out of the swing of it because the long haul flight home caused me to lose my hearing and sense of pitch! Also perhaps because the events before my return to the UK meant a lot to me, and I didn't know how to record them.
On one of my last days in NYC, the Lenape tribe generously opened the doors of the Park Lane Armory in NYC to host a powow for the first time since they'd be exiled from Manhattan. Just thinking about it now moves me, and I feel very grateful to have glimpsed this moment in Manhattan‘s history and future.
That day was also Melodia’s final performance of Red Bird, and the day I said goodbye to my old and new friends in New York. So, I think those 24 hours have been embedded in my memory.
I am going to dedicate a post especially to the Melodia choir and their concerts next time, as they deserve their own one, too. But for now, I’d like to thank again the indigenous academics, artists and activists who introduced me to the work of Zitkala-Sa, and to their American history: Ruth Hopkins and Prof. Jane Hafen.
Along with Jaqueline Keeler and Rebecca Roanhoarse and those on #nativetwitter who've argued concepts which have given me a different perspective on the USA. I‘m in awe of everyone's resilience, and I’m reminded of the speaker at the Manhattan Lenape powwow who said that Native Americans are portrayed as strong, noble, silent, resilient, to the point of cliché, and he reminded the crowd that “we’re allowed to not be those things too, just like anyone else”.
I’m learning more about contemporary Native American and First Nations composers and singer-songwriters, some of whom I'll share next.
Thanks again to the Lenape-led intertribal powwow, their singing and drumming, and the Park Ave armoury. I hope I can return to NYC and see this become a regular event.