“All Things”

Click on image to listen to (w/option to purchase) album tracks:

The new album, “All Things – Seeking Transcendence in Difficult Times” –  is inspired by social change visionaries Nina Simone, Pauli Murray, Virigina Woolf, Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer, and Terry Burke.  “All Things” delves deeper into music, nature and noise sculpted soundscapes, electronic music and spoken word poetry to explore how we can reach for the transcendent in a troubled world.  Album release dance concert premiers took place in Boston and in New York.  See the events page for details, and the videos page for film short of the Boston premier.

Program/Liner Notes for “All Things” Album 

  • “Noise Suite: “The Noise in My Head” (spoken word and sound design) explores negative internal mind states and external oppression. “Noises at Night” and “Where The Clouds Fall” are inspired by Jean Toomer’s time in the Southwest.  Toomer’s book, Cane, launched the Harlem Renaissance.
  • “Reds” (flute and sound design, with Clare Nielsen on flute), is inspired by red birds and was originally composed for Clare Nielsen.
  • “For Nina”, originally composed for Sheena Johnson (founder of the Rebel Home Dance Company), is inspired by civil rights activist and cultural icon, Nina Simone.
  • “The Thing Itself” (Amy Advocat, clarinet) is inspired by Virginia Woolf, who wrote the feminist manifesto – “A Room of One’s Own” and the gender bending “Orlando”.
  • “All Things” imagines the internal life of Pauli Murray, who was a poet, writer, lawyer, justice activist, gender nonconforming, same gender loving person, and founding member of the National Organization for Women.
  • “The Sands of Time” (Michele Oshima-Tibetan Bell, Jessica Petrus-Soprano, Terry Burke-Narrator) honors the late minister and justice activist, Terry Burke. Here Burke narrates the Sufi story, “The Tale Of The Sands” (here called “The Sands of Time”), compiled by folklorist, Idries Shah (used with permission from the Shah and Terry Burke estates, respectively).
  • “A Gathered Line” explores Jean Toomer’s time with the spiritual teacher, Gurdjieff, who inspired many well-known modernist writers and artists in the early twentiety century.

(copyright 2020 Toni Lester – all rights)