Alchemy

fourof us

 Music is the universal elixir.  Poetry is human sculpture.  This ensemble, featuring the soundscapes of Craig Paterson and Pete Woolidge, and the words of Florence Treadwell and Lea Harper, combine to create a rich aural tapestry, something greater than the sum of its parts:  Alchemy.

Poet and photographer born in France, Florence Treadwell has had poems both in French and English appear in numerous literary journals and anthologies. Cleaving, her first collection of poems and photographs, was published by Ronsdale Press and described by Lorna Crozier as “a passionate negotiation with love, grief and memory.” Foolishly, she lives in Peterborough during the harsh months of winter and spends the rest of the year in France.

Haliburton based poet/songwriter, Lea Harper is the author of two collections of poems All That Saves Us and Shadow Crossing  (Black Moss Press), and four recordings, most recently the Spoken Word CD Lake of Many Winds.  Her music has been nominated for a Juno award and her poems have been widely anthologized and praised for, in the words of her critics, their “trenchant perceptions”, “searing metaphors”, “black humour” and the “satiric rage” that informs them.

Pete Woolidge (piano/keys) and Craig Paterson (double bass, percussion) from Peterborough, Ontario have been playing together in various jazz settings for several years. Often performing as a duo, they are also part of Carpe Noctem, a local jazz group including a drummer and two tenor saxophonists.

 

Alchemy

When we all first got together in 2012, we weren’t sure how to proceed.  We thought we would do what jazz/poetry performances usually do – find jazz tunes that fit with the poems. But these poems called for another kind of resonance.

So Pete and Craig began to ‘write’ music inspired by the words as the poets read them out loud. They would find a rhythm, a few chords, and then an arrangement that worked to underpin and enhance the mood of the poem, and yet left left space for them to improvise at various points. It often worked, quickly, almost magically, imparting a new dimension to the poems, creating an aural tapestry greater than the sums of its parts. We came to think of it as a transmutation of elements – an alchemy.

Years Participated: 2015

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