The end of summer can be a sweet time for reflection. We've taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging while completing and launching, "Somebody Calling," and thought we'd resume with a retrospective of the past five years, since the release of our first album, "She Is Here."
The summer of 2014 marked the beginning of our path recording feminist, Goddess music. Over the course of six sessions, three recording and three mixing, in the span of less than one month at Hoffmann studios (compared with the year we spent recording "Somebody Calling,") we breathed life into "She Is Here," and our first full album of Goddess songs entered the world. At the time, it was just Dionne, Alison and Kathleen. And we didn't really know what the heck we were doing recording an album but we knew down to our bones that we had to do it. It was ambitious. Fifteen songs in less than a month?!? It seems almost comical now, given the pace of our most recent project. But we did it, learned a lot and had a good time in the process of co-creating.
The following year, 2015, saw us expanding both as a musical entity and our reach out into the realm of social justice work. We began work on a second album, our collection of Goddess-themed Christmas carols with lyrics by Rev. Jann Aldredge-Clanton. We called upon our dear friend Lana Dalberg who, at that time, was not yet a part of the band but with whom we collaborated periodically. We couldn't envision these holiday tunes without the serenading beauty of the violin, so Lana hopped aboard the recording studio train. After seven months of non-stop Christmas music we raced into the studio with our shoestring budget, recorded all ten tracks in a single day and mixed it all the next day. Again, this seems unfathomable to us now, but these songs were relatively simple compared to our originals. That year also included singing at fundraisers for Casa de las Madres and Center for Gender and Refugee Justice, as well as performing at the Parliament of World Religions in Salt Lake City. Our grounding in social and gender justice became clear and we've never looked back.
The next two years were filled to the brim with writing new Goddess songs, moving deeper into collaboration than we had in our prior c.d.s. Lana officially joined the band during that time, and she was there collaborating the entire way as new songs such a Mountain Mother, I Say No, Lullabies of Surrender, Somebody Calling and Pele took shape. Although each song has an original author, each of us helped craft and refine every new song, making our music more collaborative than it had been previously. At times inspiring, and at times confounding, we learned a lot about ourselves as individual musicians, and as a creative entity during these years.
In 2018, we expanded our offerings to include leading workshops, which we cater to meet the needs of high school, college and faith community settings. This is also the year we began the fundraising for and recording of "Somebody Calling." We realized a few months in that the project would take longer than anticipated, so we release the "Mountain Mother Mini Album," a "single" type album with five songs, that fall. 2018 was also the year we decided to change the name of our band from "Devi Vaani" to "Spiral Muse." We began to recognize that our use of a language and imagery from a culture that is not our own, and our access to this culture as white/white-passing American women, was a form of appropriation and white supremacy. When we finally understood that our chosen name was causing harm, we found our way to a new name, and now it feels as though we have always been "Spiral Muse."
That brings us up to 2019, a year of completion and expansion. With the release of "Somebody Calling," this summer, we are turning our sights toward new venues, adventures and seasonal projects. We begin the holiday season with our Halloween night show "Calling All Witches" with Lisa Azzolino at The Lost Church, in San Francisco and round it out in December with our offering of Goddess Christmas carols and original favorites at the 25th Annual Goddess Craft Faire in Sebastapol.
There's a lot in the hopper right now and we promise to keep you posted as details of future events take shape.