The Nubian Word for Flowers
First Take Workshop Excerpt
Concept, Story, and Texts by Ione
Music and Sound by Pauline Oliveros
The LA Times, June 3, 2013
Oliveros, a pioneer in electronic music and a practitioner in what she has termed "deep listening," goes deep in "The Nubian Word." The concept, story and texts are by Ione, who examines the colonial mind through a mystical vision of British Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, who mapped the Middle East at the end of the 19th century. We encounter him on a Nubian island.
Oliveros' musical language, formed over a long lifetime of deep listening, is not the same as anyone else's. Here it is distilled in the vastness and fearless intensity of tone.
Marc Swed Review LA Times, June 3, 2013 :
"...this important release on Sub Rosa, including two long-lasting pieces. The first one, "Four Meditations for Orchestra", was composed between 1991 and 1997 and features vocalist Ione, who wonderfully interprets those reflections by using different languages and a dramatic vocal transposition ranging between mournful moments, litany, raving ecstasy and onomatopoeia, while Belgian orchestra Musiques Nouvelles sets the sound by a seemingly disassembled technique, where the cohesion between elements is reached after each instrument seems to say something while the other ones prepare the ground, before amalgamating with Ione's voice. " - Vito Camarretta, ChainDLK
The main focus of attention for listeners of “Four Meditations” will likely be the voice of Ione, Oliveros’ long-time collaborator. Though her fellow musicians all make vital contributions, Ione’s vocals are like a bright star around which all other sounds orbit. She’s adept at glossolalia-like stretches of abstract sound, improvising in the same league as expert voice experimenters such as Yoko Ono and C. Spencer Yeh. But her use of literal language is just as important.
At one point Ione slowly intones “I am who I am,” then flips that into “I am who you are,” seeming to comment on music that inverts definitions and blurs boundaries.
Marc Masters, Pitchfork.com
Ione is a noted author, playwright/director and poet whose works include the critically acclaimed memoir, Pride of Family Four Generations of American Women of Color, Listening in Dreams and This is a Dream! Other works include; The Night Train to Aswan and Nile Night: Remembered Texts from the Deep and Spell Breaking; Remembered Ways of Being, and Anthology of Women’s Mysteries.
She is the playwright and director of Njinga the Queen King (BAM’s Next Wave Festival )and the dance Opera Io and Her and the Trouble with Him ( Union Theatre, Madison,WI) The Lunar Opera; Deep Listening For_Tunes. (Lincoln Center Out of Doors), She has created two experimental films, Venezia e L’egitto and Dreams of the Jungfrau. Ione and Pauline Oliveros are currently collaborating on The Nubian Word for Flowers, A Phantom Opera. Encompassing the Nubian Diaspora and the life of Lord Horatio Herbert Kitchener of Khartoum, the opera is "a deep dream exploration of Nubian soul and the Colonial Mind". Ione is also an improvising sound/text artist who performs in the United States and Internationally.
Ione is the Founding Director of the Ministry of Maåt, Inc ( MoM, Inc) and Former Artistic Director of Deep Listening Institute, Ltd. Both organizations seek to foster a harmonious world community. She is a Deep Listening Certification Instructor, Center for Deep Listening, Rensselaer, Troy, NY.