Compositions by Jarrad Powell
Vocals by Jessika Kenney
Jessika Kenney (vocals, sruti box), Eyvind Kang (viola), Adam Diller (clarinet), Annie Lewandowski (accordion), Tom Swafford (violin), Jarrad Powell (metaharmonium; spoken voice on Listen), Stephen Fandrich (vocal on Buffalo Solo)
Jesse Snyder (gender), Julija Gelazis (siter), Michelle Doiron (slenthem), Stephanie Helm (slenthem), Jarrad Powell (gambang & kendhang), Stephen Fandrich (ketuk & kenong), Stephen Parris (kempul & gong)
1) The Rain 3:31
2) Buffalo Solo 7:46
3) Rapt away to Darkness 14:45
4) Mountains and Waters 7:38
5) real emptiness is a tranquil sea 2:12
6) when the red sun bites the mountain 2:25
7) when mountains are nourished by rain 2:20
8) to get to the end the absolute end 2:02
9) beyond a door I made but don’t close 2:17
10) around the summit I only see pines 2:15
11) Listen 2:50
12) Goro-goro 3:36
13) Fragments and Ecstacies 13:36
TOTAL DURATION 67:13
vocals: Jessika Kenney & Stephen Fandrich
Fragments and Ectasies
voice, gamelan, and viola
voice, viola, and sruti box
vocals: Jessika Kenney & Jarrad Powell
Mountains and Waters
voice and gamelan
Rapt away to Darkness
voice, violin, clarinet, and accordion
voice and metaharmonium
Powell and Kenney have worked in a close collaboration for many years, both in Gamelan Pacifica and in a variety of other performance projects. The vocal compositions featured on this CD were composed, in most cases, specifically for Kenney. She, in turn, brings her own musical expression and eclectic vocal background to help create the unique genre of this music.
Recorded at Hanzsek Audio, Seattle, Engineer: Troy Swanson
Fragments and Ecstacies recorded at Litho, Seattlw, Engineer: Mel Dettmer
Mixed by Jarrad Powell
Mastering in Seattle at Master Works by Barry Corliss
Produced by Jarrad Powell for Present Sounds Recordings
Cover art and design by Renate Golkl
Special thanks to Gamelan Pacifica and Cornish College of the Arts
Jessika Kenney is an unusual singer involved in the deep layers of music of the past through interpreting, learning, and creating music. She lives on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound.
"I met Jarrad Powell in 1995 at Cornish. At the time I was studying vocal improvisation with Jay Clayton. When he invited me to sing with Gamelan Pacifica, and to become a part of his work with Molly (Mary Sheldon Scott), I did not quite realize what lay in store. Soon enough I was immersed in microtonally shifting modes, incanting mythopoetic imagery, cutting sheet aluminum on a table saw, and departing for Indonesia alone in 1997. There I lived and studied with two great pesindhen (Javanese vocalists), Nyi Mujinah in the Baluwarti Kraton and Nyi Supadmi of STSI Solo. The way I have experienced singing Jarrad’s music has partially been a form of integrating musical and philosophical knowledge that I was exposed to at this time. The elements of singing are so numerous and awe-inspiring, and I am so grateful for this music as a place to touch these elements in some way. Words, melodious spirits, centripetal forces…."
Jarrad Powell was born in Montana. His early musical training began around age 5 with piano lessons from his mother. He later also studied percussion and guitar. In college he studied Philosophy, Religious Studies, English, and Music and received his Masters in Music Composition from Mills College. He has worked as a dance accompanist, bicycle mechanic, ski instructor, music teacher, performer, and college professor. He has been composing, performing, and teaching in Seattle for more than twenty years. His compositions have been performed internationally and include numerous pieces for voice, gamelan, various western and non-western instruments, and electro-acoustic music. His work also includes numerous cross-cultural collaborations, particularly with Indonesian artists, and he has been directing Gamelan Pacifica since the early 1980’s. He has collaborated with noted choreographer Mary Sheldon Scott for more than a decade through their company Scott/Powell Performance. He is currently a Professor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
If you wish to create music you must first learn what music is, not an easy task, since so many of its secrets are clothed in mystery. The singing of Jessika Kenney has been for me a window into some of those secrets. I am eternally grateful to her for somehow understanding the music of my heart and for bringing her own incredible creative insight to the realization of this music.
The metaharmonium is actually an electronic instrument. I call it metaharmonium because its sound and function remind me of the harmonium, an instrument often used in Indian music to accompany vocals in a heterophonic manner. I use the metaharmonium in a similar way. The instrument is actually based on clarinet samples and has the advantage over the normal harmonium of a wider range, the ability to effect timbral change that allows it to imitate somewhat the phonemic inflection of the voice, and the ability vary pitch microtonally.