A young woman begins each day with a "scheduled" release, where she unplugs her phone, sits on the edge of her bed, and waits for the floodgates to open. She then cries a good, hearty wail, gets is all out, re-plugs the phone, and happily goes about her day.
This is a scene from a movie I once saw. And though it was obviously intended to depict the over-achieving, high-strung nature of this character in a humorous way, I connected with this moment very profoundly. I knew this woman. She was me. And I realized, after watching this scene, that I hadn't ever validated my own weeping the way this sublime character had. In treating it as one would meditation or exercise, she had given weeping its respectful place in her life.
In our society, we're taught that weeping is a sign of weakness and indulgence. But I have always maintained that the healing power of tears has been tragically underestimated. There truly is a clearing that happens to the mind and heart and spirit when a good cry has been allowed. Even the tears of grief, sadness, or anger can have the power to deliver one to a kind of unburdening.
The phenomenon of the weeping woman is not new. The legend of La Llorona, Spanish for "weeping woman," has been a part of Hispanic culture since the days of the Conquistadores. And of course, there is Picasso's monumental undertaking "Guernica," depicting the horrors of war, in a way no other artist had managed it: by reflecting the impact of war on the woman, the hearth-tender, and her children. It was out of this muraled masterpiece, Picasso's artistic reaction to the Spanish Civil War, that his series "The Weeping Women" came to be, and from that series of iconic portraits that my canon of songs, MUSIC FOR THE WEEPING WOMAN, has come.
I extended that concept to include not only states of despair, but also celebration, yearning, self-examination, joy, and cleansing, all instigators of that poignant phenomenon, the shedding of tears.
The songs that began to spill out of me, as I spent the next year writing, were all about exposing the deepest heart, being willing to go to naked places, and to be brave. And as such, the songs ended up having a kind of fragility to them. For such a journey, I wanted, from a musical standpoint, a more delicate and intimate pas de deux between guitar and voice. So I called upon my longtime friend and collaborator from The Global Folk and The Orchestre Sureal, guitarist virtuoso Ken Rosser. Here is a musician who experiments with textures and uses stringed instruments (of which he plays a multitude, from all over the world) in envelope-pushing ways, just so he can capture a smidgen of gorgeous pathos. He isn't a purist, but the better of it. If I may coin a word, Ken Rosser is an "expandist," often assembling sounds with whatever tools are at his disposal, much in the New Music School tradition of the "prepared" approach to the guitar.
A whole canon of songs about weeping? A risky venture, I've been told.
All I have to say about that is that tears are a kind of baptism. They unburden and they renew.
So let a bended note or a bold cadenza take you to places only music can. Let it out. Let it go. And come up cleansed and reborn.
released November 9, 2008
Produced by Angela Carole Brown
for Rue de la Harpe Records
ANGELA CAROLE BROWN
vocals, acoustic grand piano, synthesizer, Tibetan singing bowls
classical gutiar, acoustic 6-string, acoustic 12-string, electric guitar, baritone guitar, loops, slide guitar, electric sitar, djeli-n'goni, ebow
Special Guest Artists:
SARAH O'BRIEN - cello ("Far Above Rubies")
PRINCE DIABATE - kora ("Bagamoyo")
All songs composed by Angela Carole Brown
(c) Angela Carole Brown Music (BMI)
All tracks recorded by Craig Pilo
(except for "Wild Orchids" recorded by Phil Settle, and acoustic piano tracks recorded by Spence Brodie)
Mixed by Michael Kramer
Mastered by Maurice Gainen
Front cover painting by Angela Carole Brown
Writer/musician/artist Angela Carole Brown has been a veteran of the L.A. music scene for over two decades as a vocalist and
recording artist. She is a published novelist, essayist, and poet. Her art and design has graced the covers of thirty-plus CD covers for other artists. Her proudest achievement, however, is as a kidney donor, which she did in 2008....more