Sonia Allori

(Dis) Connect.

Many many more weeks of lockdown have passed by in a bit of a blur if I’m being honest. Health continues to grumble along keeping the days uneven and the feeling that progress and life have stalled a bit …… but I imagine everyone feels that at the moment from time to time (or maybe all of the time!?). It’s easier to get a grip and “buck up a bit” on some days more than others which is not to say that I’m stuck in a cycle of constantly being a misery chops…… more that I think that of late there have been a few more misery chops days than previously. The mind and body are seeking a bit of respite but currently, there is none to be had …… so I’ll resume muddling along for now and grab ahold of the good days whenever they come along. The above picture is of Burghead beach in Moray and was taken by Donald E. Ross. I get lost in the ebb and flow of waves connecting, disconnecting and then reconnecting with the sand.

There have been lots of things to get stuck into though. Rehearsals and open sessions with Sonic Bothy have been happening with live captioning as I hear very little useful audio through online platforms. We’ve chanced upon an amazing captioner, who besides captioning words, talks, meetings and conversations vividly describes sounds and music in the rehearsals and sessions for me. Think madrigal and word painting and you’re just about there such is the depth of her descriptions! I had first worked with this particular captioner with Drake Music in the last while and a few weeks ago she had the “delightful” task of captioning my first ever webinar about words and music and ending with some Dada voice work stuff. Humour seems to creep into most things I do and she said she could hardly type through laughing so much. So that’s nice. And webinars …… ooh that was a challenge I hope never to repeat for at least a year and a half! A good challenge and way out of my comfort zone. I think it’s the being “out front” thing which I find most difficult which probably sounds a bit weird because I do perform from time to time but being on a stage I can do while public speaking is akin to sitting on really hairy prickly cucumbers …… on purpose!

Can you believe that it’s June …… where the flamingo did May go!? That’ll be that blurring of days and weeks thing. And does anyone else feel as though they have done not that much at all in the past 10 weeks!? As if the time passed blankly looking at the wall or something …… in that good timing of stuff that sometimes happens I’m nearing the end of a two-week online workshop with Imaginate which looks at you and your practice and works gently through a series of tasks which have an unexpected way of actually making you think about things in a non-scary and fairly deep and meaningful way. It is gently bringing me back into the present and kick-started a mindfulness practice that had abandoned me so far during lockdown. I’m using the word gently a lot ……. can you gently face things? I hope so. That’s what I’m aiming for …….

Besides the really scary webinar task, we also had a question to respond to at the Drake Music artist residency this last month which asked us to ponder on the themes of “connect and disconnect”. As I feel quite disconnected a lot of the time anyway owing to my own shortcomings in personality and a propensity to hide I wondered what it would be like to spend a couple of weeks engaging online as much as I could and so I turned up to every captioned webinar and talk on music and disability arts and Covid possible. Was it illuminating? A lot of them were awfully interesting to be fair so that was quite good! By the end of it, I was talking a bit in them, trying to contribute but not feeling comfortable doing so. Did I network or find a voice? In reality, it just confirmed what I knew before in that I’m rubbish at this sort of stuff and that doing more of it in a way I was uncomfortable with wasn’t going to make me any better at it. So I’ll probably go back to being quiet in these online gatherings but will try my utmost to be an active listener! It was really interesting to “be out there” a bit more though and I’ll certainly continue with that albeit in a quiet way.

I’ve had a nice commission for a new song come in and I’ll waffle on about that more in the next post. I’ve also applied for 2 things that may or may not come through but it seems important to keep trying at least a little bit. I did write a fair few lyrics in May although so far they haven’t come together with music yet in any pleasing way so this month I have a song without words. It’s about connecting and disconnecting and is called (funnily enough!?) …..  (Dis) Connect .

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