The Well, based out of Cincinnati, offers programs that combine aspects of mindfulness, arts, social-emotional learning, play, movement, and poetry into practices for regular use within schools, hospitals, and communities. The Well’s Mindful Music Moments program delivers music and mindfulness daily to schools across the country.
Each week, entire schools listen to a single piece of music, repeated for 5 days, with creative, mindful prompts preceding each day. The Field Recording/New Music Project, supported by a grant from the Ohio Arts Council, hired 4 musicians to record sounds in their area and create new music with the sounds during the 2021/22 school year.
I am delighted to work on a piece that shares calm with students. The sounds of Lake Erie and surrounding wildlife were the theme and inspiration to this composition.
Notes about the recording
Erie Serenade samples sounds from the Lake Erie region. For this project, I recorded environmental acoustics at five different locations. Wave sounds were sampled from Magee Marsh and Edgewater Beach. Bird, bug, and frog songs were recorded from Old Woman Creek, Rocky River Reservation, and Columbia Station Reservation.
What amphibians, animals, birds, and insect calls can you identify? I can hear blue jays, chickadees, cicadas, crickets, and woodpeckers.
The percussion is made entirely of environmental field recordings; the melody is voice. All the vocals are my own. The natural percussion was clipped to fit 79 bpm and designed to be supportive of slow, steady breathing. Once the background beat was composed I meditated on what tone would fit the emotions and intentions of the song and started recording vocals. I wanted the piece to be uplifting, repetitive, and hypnotic, yet enough variation for engagement. There are many layers to the song that can serve as cues to breathe deeply. Please follow the pulse that best serves your breathing practice.
This project increased awareness of manmade sounds. Recording the natural environment is challenging because human-created cacophonies dominate the soundscape: running engines, ringing phones, passing planes, power and yard tools are much louder than wildlife. Even traffic lights hum. This project made me curious to hear the sounds of old-growth forests of the past.
I was asked, “What else do you want students to know, hear or think about when they hear this music?”
I hope this song helps students meditate in the present moment.
Listen to the layers. Breathe with the music. Let worries melt away and envision a calming happy space. Feel at peace. Today is an exciting new day. May it bring joy. Thanks for sharing this moment together.
By Shawn Mishak November 24, 2021, Cleveland Scene – “Christa Ebert, aka Uno Lady, last week released a seven-track album of her performing live impromptu hymns in four cathedrals around France and Switzerland uninvited nor permitted.
The album is a meditative prayer to humanity. Uno Lady’s Judy Garland-esque vibrato is as peaceful as a mother’s lullaby and as seductive as a siren’s song. The breaths taken in-between the swaths of human utterance allow the distant echoes to resonate through the cathedral and to come forth offering a serendipitous call and response leaving the listener’s hair standing on end.
“The spaces shaped the sound,” said Ebert. “The specific echo and excitement of each experience made the melody. I had never heard or sang these songs before. If I had scheduled a show, or gotten permission this would have been a completely different performance. These pieces would have never existed. This trip was the first time I focused all my attention on art. It was an exploratory experience. It was a quest to honor and follow my intuition. It was life-changing and shaped my decision to pursue my creative calling.”
Aside from this Chateau Orquvaux artist-in-residency, Ebert has been granted a Creative Workforce Fellow, is an Akron Soul Train fellow, and a Panza Foundation awardee. Along with several singles and cover songs, Ebert has recorded and produced six releases, including her mindfulness album and film series “GROUNDED.”
The “one-woman choir” harnesses her four-octave singing range voice, nature sounds, and electronic tools constructing “sonic worlds with dream-like vocal layers and looping ethereal tones.” full article here
I’m ecstatic to announce I have been selected for the artist residency program at Foundation House. I’m honored to be a part of the Foundation House’s creative, philanthropic community.
I’ll be spending a few weeks in Connecticut creating compositions and editing videos. The property is a century old great estate, with a grand manor house, old stables, and greenhouses.
Foundation House represents life at the crossroads; respecting the past, while inspiring the future. Foundation House opens its doors to artists and activists working on projects related to the mission of bettering environmental, community, and mental health. These creatives of all disciplines – painters, writers, sculptors, designers, visionary thinkers and doers – are offered an inspiring retreat, space and time to create (FoundationHousect.org).
I’ll keep you posted on what I’m working on and more about the residency as the details unfold. If you’d like to support my travel to the residency you can through venmo @TheUnoLady and paypal UnoLadyMusic@gmail.com
Thank you Foundation House. I am grateful for the opportunity.
I’m honored and ecstatic to announce I have been awarded the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation Residency. I’ll be composing and creating art in Rockland, Maine in December 2021.
The Ellis-Beauregard Foundation recognizes that the arts are essential to an open, enlightened society. The residency program values innovation, experimentation and creative risk-taking in all genres, known and as yet to be discovered. They envision the residency as inclusive and diverse, prompting reflection and dialogue with other residents and the community, offering the gift of concentrated time and space in which to unveil new ideas and imagine new ways of working. More at www.Ellis-BeauregardFoundation.org
If you’d like to donate and help me get to the residency you can through venmo @TheUnoLady and paypal UnoLadyMusic@gmail.com I’ll keep you posted on what I’m working on and more about the residency as the details unfold. Thanks for your support.
LandEscape is an international art publication for established and emerging artists to engage in professional critique and artistic introspection, that aims to open the dialogue between artists and audience, between thoughts and their articulation.
Members / Instruments Christa Ebert, vocals and whatever I bang together for percussion
Years Active 2006 – present
Latest GROUNDED– released January 12, 2021
Favorite Local Artists Mourning [A] BLKstar
Current Album on Repeat Monster Rally – Castaways, Vol. 1
Currently ReadingReal Love, The Art of a Mindful Connection, by Sharon Salzberg
Favorite Venue to Perform I loved singing in the Superior Viaduct, the lower level of the Detroit Superior Bridge but that’s a rare occasion they let an art event happen there. Happy Dog feels like a second home so I love and miss singing there too.https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=917498454/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/minimal=true/
How is everyone holding up during this time?
I’m holding up alright. I cannot wait to hug all my friends this summer. I am used to recording and writing on my own. I craved time to create before covid and I have it now. It’s not the ideal situation nor inspiring but I’m doing my best to focus on the silver lining of this continuous catastrophe, stay safe, and fill my time with art. I have gotten better at giving myself permission to rest and move at a slower pace.
What do you think is the biggest lesson we can all take away from this past year?
Slowing down, we were made to collectively pause. The biggest lesson is reevaluating what is important in our lives and what is worth risking our health and happiness over. I think many people have a better understanding and recognize the impact our actions have on each other. Also, learning how to show love to family and friends without embracing each other.
I hope to find hand soap in every music venue bathroom moving forward.
Tell us about how this project got started?
I started recording as Uno Lady because I had to sing and create. Music is part of me. I wasn’t sure how to organize a band so I just started singing and layering into a music program and then people started to ask me to play shows.
Are you working on anything new / specific at the moment?
My latest project GROUNDED released in two parts: A short film aired December 2020 and the album released digitally through Bandcamp January 2021. GROUNDED is mindfulness mantras, soothing songs, and guided meditations. The sights match the sounds. Slightly modulated, natural layers of vocal and video to help find peace in the present moment.
I filmed mostly in my backyard. Stop-motion animations were created with homegrown flowers and sweet potatoes, drawings and paintings. The film depicts a busy mind and uses hypnotic mantras to retrain focus. Some songs are lyricless, ambient, and the visuals abstract – others pieces feature natural sounds and have breathing exercises intertwined. The first track, “Thinking About Thinking” is a stop-motion animation that shows my MRI images with stop-motion thought bubbles floating through. The animated bubbles dissipate to show these thoughts and emotions pass.
I’ve never had this much time to focus on a project and the quality is better than anything else I have made. I’m really proud of it and excited to share it.
Anyone you’ve collaborated with recently?
I’m grateful to work with a few talented friends on this release. Sequoia Bostick added the hypnotic animations to a few songs: Ways We Wish The World Was, Ditch Resistance, Chill Out For One Minute, and Here Now. I added modulated nature visuals behind her animations.
Meditations are guided by LaToya Kent and Erica Snowden-Rodríguez. LaToya is a meditation teacher and musician who performs solo and as a part of Mourning [A] BLKstar. You can hear her calming voice guide you through the meditations Breathe and You Are Love. Erica plays cello in the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra and is Principal Cello at Erie Philharmonic and Principal cello at Akron Symphony Orchestra and guides the beautiful breathing exercise, Meditación.
Both artists were approached with a breathing exercise idea but allowed creative freedom. Written separately but together, the recordings were sent to me and then I composed vocals and music around their words. I’m so happy with the results.
What’s the biggest thing that your band could use help with (Promotion, Recording, Merch, Booking, Touring, etc)?
Promotion and touring when it’s safe. I think Cleveland has so many wonderful musicians, amazing venues, and also manufacturing like GottaGrooveRecords, but we don’t have management services like booking, promoting, and labels. We’re stuck promoting ourselves in a town that takes pride in being an underdog. It can be challenging to get press or book shows outside of the local bubble.
Strangest thing you’ve heard from someone at a concert?
Too many to mention but I really enjoyed receiving a handwritten note that read, “Do you yodel?”
What has your recording experience been like?
I love the recording process and sometimes it is my writing process. I record my home studio and use Logic Pro. Some of my songs are 40-70 vocal tracks so going into someone else’s studio is not the best fit. I’m pretty meticulous too and re-record those tracks.
What’s the next move?
I’m going to keep doing what I do, chip away at recording an excel list of 100+ songs, and hope a fitting opportunity comes along. I’d love to compose songs for films and that is why I began working with video art. I know I have more meditation songs in me. I have some songs and videos from a residency in France I’d love to finish. I got a jingle business idea in my pocket. The possibilities are endless