Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tueday's Lament

Here's my contribution to the solemnities today.

TuesdaysLamentt by voxwoman

I had the lyrics sitting around ever since my friend Margaret died suddenly from a heart attack in the late 1990's. The music was created after getting back from NYC Pagan Pride day on Sept 23, 2001. It was supposed to be held in Battery Park, but that was still smoldering from the attacks. So the venue was moved to Washington Square Park in the Village. I was one of  2 or 3 other bands playing that day; I don't remember who they were, unfortunately.

What I do remember from going in to the city that day was when I was on the NJ Transit train coming in, after we pulled out of the Newark station, I felt like we were passing through a physical barrier, and I needed to raise my own "shields" to keep waves of emotion from getting to me.

Music for the Goddess was the first act of the day, and I was given permission to sing the Star Spangled Banner to start off the day's activities. There were a lot of Pagans around the park and a lot of passers-by. A huge flag was hanging from the arch in the park. I remember that the crowd stopped to listen to me and the open area in front of the stage was full of people and there was a lot of cheering when I finished the song and I got to shout out "Goddess Bless America!" for the first time, which felt pretty good.

When we were done, Daxe, my bass player, Josh, my friend who lived in lower Manhattan at the time (and who since has moved out of the city to Connecticut), and whose apartment faced the World Trade Center, and I decided to walk down to ground zero to see it and pay our respects.

Walking down there was physically difficult. I think the city put up its own psychic shields around the place. When we got within 10 blocks of ground zero, it felt like I was walking through jello. It became more difficult to move forward with every step.  We didn't have cameras or much of anything - we just felt the need to bear witness.

I got home that evening and locked myself in my studio, grabbed a microphone and recorded the melody played by the cello and the vocal line in a wordless cry. It took several years, and the passing of my mother in 2003 before I could revisit this and complete the song.

The freaky thing about the recording is this: I live 5 miles (as the crow flies) from Newark airport (the airport where the hijacked planes originated), right underneath one of their flight paths - some days it's takeoff, some days it's landing. When I was recording the vocal track, I didn't realize that a plane was flying overhead in the middle of the third verse. I didn't realize it until I was doing the mixing. I decided to leave that track as it was and not re-record it. If you listen really carefully with headphones on, you can hear it. That was not on purpose.