Body: Jive Body and Cat Body; Music: making musical instruments from gourds

But first…some music. Try Dorothy Ashby. In my musical explorations, I came upon the harp playing of Mary Lattimore (contemporary American harpist), which took me to a BBC radio show (available on the BBC app called BBC Sounds) called Late Junction, hosted by Verity Sharp. In the 29 October podcast is a Mary Lattimore mixtape, introduced by Mary Lattimore, and featuring a number of harpists who influenced her own development as a harpist. The mixtape features harp greats like Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby, the latter of whom was active in the 50s and 60s playing “afro harp”, and “jazz harp”…

If you don’t really like harp, the playing of Dorothy Ashby or Mary Lattimore or Alice Coltrane may change your mind.

Here is a link to Dorothy Ashby on the album “Hip Harp”, from 1958.

And here is Alice Coltrane in a late career harp solo:

And here is a link to Mary Lattimore’s 2016 album called “The Withdrawing Room”. I chose to include this one instead of her more recent “Silver Ladders” because I’m more familiar with it, and I love the atmosphere it creates – I listen to this while in my studio. Beautiful.

Jive Body

Continuing on the theme of “body”

I made this for my friend Lynda, who is a dancer. It’s called Jive Body; I don’t think she jives. But she would if she could. Maybe she used to.
Lynda asked me what the wire was for, what she was supposed to do with it. I told her that it is both an energy receiver and an energy transmitter, and that she should/could attach the wire to whatever she wants…including the air. I think she should connect to the harp music of Mary Lattimore.

Cat Body

Gourd Project update
The gourds have been washed in warm soapy water. I chose these four gourds for their exterior appearance. It’s not a sure thing that all of them (or any of them) will “make it” through the drying process, which takes six months, but I’ll work with what I get.

Here is a reminder of the process I’m following to dry the gourds.

After these have dried, I’ll cover them with rubbing alcohol and then put them on a open-to-the-air (indoors) drying rack for a week before removing them to a somewhat darker and cooler space where they will wait for six months. That will take me to the end of April, just in time for a summer project. In the meantime I’ll research and source the materials I’ll use to build the harps that fit across the cut gourd, the type of skin/s that I can use to cover the open side of the gourd, and the types of materials that I might want to use as strings or other percussives that will vibrate to make sounds.

I am not a musician, nor do I have any experience as a luthier. But I love sound. Right now as I write this post I’m listening to Mary Lattimore’s album The Withdrawing Room. Here is the link again, just in case I can tempt you.