What if one day suddenly I woke as a spider, and on that day I decided to crawl out of the darkness and towards the rest of the world, towards the warmth and light of the brightest star? But as I climb, a deluge of greed and violence come hurtling towards me as if the sky opened and transformed our collective suffering into a powerful stream. Hundreds upon hundreds of years of genocide, slavery, and destruction collected into one heavy downpour, washing me out. Then as I fall to the ground I begin to hear the spirits, underneath the soil, still singing. Do I follow the river that the sky opened?
A few years ago I picked up a copy of "Women Who Run With The Wolves" I was immediately drawn in. The stories Clarissa Pinkola Estes collected and dissected struck a chord. It was one of the first times that I had truly understood the healing power of narrative and story. Every once in a while over the past few years when I feel a bit lost I pick up my copy and allow the Wild Woman archetype to inform me of my next move. Back in November I turned to the chapter about our creative waters that were being systematically poisoned by ourselves and our environments. Then something happened, a story unfolded in my hands that needed to be told through song and performance.
Any story that mentions the poisoning of our waters hits close to home. Back in 2016 I and thousands of others became very outspoken about the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protestors all over the nation shut down banks, called our representatives, the sheriffs office, etc. We were passionate because our indigenous brothers and sisters were invoking their rights to sovereignty and being told, “No” as a pipeline originally slated to go through Bismarck ND was now about to cross under Standing Rocks water source. The peaceful protest at Standing Rock was a turning point for many. We watched as all of a sudden the very thing the water protectors were trying to protect was weaponized against them called into a state of awakening in that moment I kept thinking, what happens at Standing Rock, happens to all of us.
In 2017 representatives of Standing Rock visited Flint Michigan to create a statement of solidarity. The water protectors of Standing Rock and the water protectors of Flint felt connected in their struggles of maintaining a safe drinking supply while operating in areas that had a total lack of government representation. By connecting these two movements they hoped to deepen the discussion in towns and cities all over the nation and globe about water and about representation. A revolution was alive and well, but it wasn't the revolution I had read about in all my history classes. It was a community driven, compassionate, and healing call to action. After visiting Flint I was no longer afraid of the word "revolution" I am now more afraid of its absence.
In November, while tearing through Estes's book once again, I was immediately drawn to the comparison that not only was our drinking water supply being threatened but our way of thinking and creating was also under siege, and in my experience, some of what was under siege came from within me. How many times have I wanted to speak out or stand up for a group but ended up maintaining my silence out of fear of rejection, being attacked, or by being "wrong" in the outcome. How many missed opportunities? How many times did I not listen to what my true self, my river, was saying? Llorona, Hope & Revolution is a project very much about transforming this fear and anger. The goal? A hope to dispel the fears of one’s own revolutionary thinking and a hope to move the needle in the discussion of what we can do right here right now. It’s quite powerful what we have in the now. The residents of Flint and Standing Rock showed us this. We can change right now. We can serve right now. Perhaps in some way we are the itsy bitsy spider, Rumi's worm, and Kafka's cockroach, right now.
Llorona, Hope & Revolution is to be released as a sound recording, and hopefully as a show! The performance art type style of the piece was inspired by, Cat Widdifield, a performance artist at House of Yes, The Secret Loft, and other venues around the city. The lead character was written for her. Cat can tell a story.
From left to right: Wayne Silver recording engineer at Ice Plant Studios, artist Vital E. (Pauline Pisano) and the head recording engineer and mixer of Llorona, Hope, and Revolution, Kerry Pompeo.
From left to right: artist Vital E. (Pauline Pisano) and Co-Producer/Drummer Jason Crawford.
Artist Vital E. (Pauline Pisano)