“Christa Ebert, who performs as Uno Lady, composes songs with her voice, electronic effect pedals and unconventional instruments. She layers her vocals and loops the accompanying sounds, the result of which sounds like a one-woman choir.
Ebert released “GROUNDED” Jan. 12, a 20-track album of guided meditations, accompanied by music she created, recorded, produced and mixed. The music features vocal harmonies, field recordings of nature sounds, theremin, singing bowls, bells and synths.
On Dec. 14, 2020, Ebert digitally released an experimental short film that features 11 of the songs from the “GROUNDED” album. She captured much of the album’s visuals in her garden at her home in Cleveland during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“GROUNDED” is supported by the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Music as meditation Ebert said her music has a soothing, meditative quality to it. She released a five-minute meditation in 2014 that served more to poke fun at her short attention span.
Over the years, people have asked her to make more recorded meditations. Interest increased when the pandemic started.
With “GROUNDED,” Ebert said she has been able to acknowledge her overthinking brain and be in the present moment.
“I thought I was really bad at it. I meditated for years,” Ebert said. “But now, I know that overactive thinking and constant thinking is kind of normal. It’s the judgment that we tie to these thoughts that cause our suffering.”
Chanting made her realize that she had been meditating her whole life, and singing is her meditation.
“It’s deep breathing, the vocalization sends deep vibrations into my body and when I write songs, I’m in a flow state. So, music is my medicine, and songs are the sound of my soul singing,” she said.
The album is made up of mindfulness exercises, mantras and positive affirmations.
Her approach to meditation makes it accessible and manageable for people who may have experienced anxiety during the pandemic.
“I decided to make something good come of a terribly tragic situation,” she said. “Life is full of worry, but you’ve got to balance the perspective. So when chaos is overwhelming, there are still beautiful occurrences happening.”
Creating soothing songs in a challenging year As 2020 unfolded, Ebert left her job and wanted to focus more on creating music.
“Because touring was no longer an option—because the music scene drastically changed—I started to take inventory of all the things I wanted to work on,” she said.
Ebert said she was overextending herself for over a decade, and it was taking a toll on her physical and mental health. Work magnified that demand, and she channeled her anxiety into overthinking and productivity and planning.
“It just left me with little silence,” she said.
The “GROUNDED” project was healing, she said. She’s always juggled a job or two and never had as much time to focus on a creative project prior to 2020. She was always frustrated or rushed by having to “squeeze in” creativity in the past.
She said she had a lot of meditation ideas and heard about the SPACES grant, which was created for regional artists to help the community in some way.
She said the grant was a good opportunity to explore her meditative and creative ideas, and it allowed her to provide something healing to people she could not see in person.
“It really helped me stay positive in 2020. It also helped me feel like I was able to be there for people I care about without being physically present,” she said.
This project also allowed Ebert to find beautiful things in a space she couldn’t leave due to travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders.
“[It was a] personal exploration, for me, on what mindfulness and meditation is and introducing new forms or creative ways of thinking about mindfulness and meditation that might be helpful to other people,” she said. https://www.youtube.com/embed/PEhCgaifG18?enablejsapi=1
The process of creating a meditative album and visual component Ebert researched the healing effects of sound and mindfulness and listened to dozens of audiobooks from the library in preparation for this project.
She said singing is meditative and mood boosting, and each song she recorded cycles through various emotions.
“[Music] is what keeps me grounded. It’s what helps me stay connected in my body. It took me a long time to realize that, and with this grant, I started to dive more into the sciences behind that,” she said.
To create the songs “Here Now,” “Awaken the Peace Within,” and “Binaural Bees,” she would meditate in her garden, film flowers, capture nature sounds then go into her home studio to record, so actual meditation became part of the process of making the album.
Ebert has already been recording her music in her home studio for years, and she is recognized for the experimental video art she films and edits then would broadcast during her Uno Lady performances.
She filmed most of the “GROUNDED” visuals in her own backyard. She used organic elements and nature to create animations.
“[I was] trying to find beauty in the things that maybe you overlook. Getting really close up to the flowers that I grew, followed around some bees, just looking at stuff from a different perspective and layering it,” she said.
The initial idea was to make small, bite-sized segments. Ebert said because Instagram limits video uploads to one minute in length, she thought she would make minute-long songs she could share using the platform
“We all have kind of shorter attention spans now, so a lot of the songs I went at with a minute-long mindset,” she said.
Kent is a meditation teacher and musician. Her guided meditations appear on the “GROUNDED” tracks “Breathe” and “You Are Love.” These are breathing exercises accompanied by Ebert’s original, composed music.
“I asked her to record meditations, gave her creative freedom, trusted her expertise and then wrote music around her words,” Ebert said.
They met by working together on a digital show they were going to put together for Mahall’s.
“We were hanging out on my porch, I set up the recording equipment out there, and I didn’t know this about her—that she was a meditation teacher,” Ebert said.
Ebert said she didn’t feel as confident in her own ability to record guided meditations, and she was aware of the fact that a lot of meditations are recorded by white women. She wanted to bring more diverse voices into “GROUNDED.”
“So I felt like LaToya was the best fit and superqualified. She’s just such a calm, collected presence. It was just perfect,” Ebert said.
She also worked remotely with Cleveland animator and multimedia artist Sequoia Bostick on the visual pieces for “Ways We Wish the World Was,” “Ditch Resistance,” “Chill Out For One Minute,” and “Here Now”.
Akron Symphony Orchestra cellist Erica Snowden-Rodríguez plays cello and does a guided meditation in Spanish on the “GROUNDED” track “Meditación,” which Ebert said is one of her favorites.
Getting the most out of the listening experience Ebert said “GROUNDED” is for anyone who wants to explore sound as a form of relaxation.
She recommends listening to the album through high-quality headphones and starting with the breathing exercises.
She said listeners should treat it as an introduction to other forms of meditation that may work for the individual person.
“GROUNDED” captures the sounds and environment Ebert experienced during lockdown and could help show others how to find joy in elements that were previously overlooked.
“It’s an overarching theme of 2020 because we are encouraged to stay alone as much as possible, and then we’ve all had a lot of time to reflect on things that are important to us and things that make us happy. Learning to adapt and foster resilience,” she said.
She said she had moments of doubt that she could do it in the beginning. Then she wrote 20 songs, and she has 20 more ideas she hasn’t finished yet.
“There were no directions. There were no rules. I had to make it up. I had to stay focused and productive, and I’m really proud of it. That’s not something I say that often,” Ebert said. “I really think it’s my best work that I’ve made to date.”
“CLEVELAND, Ohio — For Cleveland musician Christa Ebert — aka, solo artist Uno Lady — making music is a form of meditation.
‘It’s where I can truly be in the present moment,’ Ebert said. ‘I can turn off my brain… I guess it’s been my own form of chanting.’
Meditation has helped Ebert find peace through the past year of stressful events stoked by the coronavirus pandemic. Now, she hopes to help others find that same kind of peace, through her latest Uno Lady album ‘Grounded.’
The project arrives on Tuesday, Jan. 12, on streaming sites. It consists of a mix of music, guided meditations and breathing exercises.
‘The purpose of ‘Grounded’ is to help find peace in the present moment and offer kindness and healing through this difficult time,” Ebert said. “A lot of people were requesting it more and I had such a surplus of ideas, I figured it was a good time to dive in.’ …
The full “Grounded” album includes two meditations guided by Mourning [A] BLKstar vocalist LaToya Kent, and one meditation guided in Spanish by Erica Snowden-Rodriguez, who also performs cello.
Even on the songs that don’t include breathing exercises and meditation instructions, Ebert experimented with the musical side of meditation.
‘I’m trying out polytonal singing and creating binaural beats with my voice,’ she said. ‘I was trying to make it sound like meditation music, but also my own music, taking a twist on it that way.’
In “Binaural Bees,” Ebert hums two tones that are so close together, they sound like a pulsation. In “Meditación,” Ebert throat sings, creating two notes at the same time.
Ebert has made use of a synthesizer in previous albums but replaces the instrument here with her own vocals throughout “Grounded,” with a few extra sounds, including recorded nature sounds from her backyard and a trip to France, and samples from NASA’s Soundcloud account.
Singing, Ebert said, helped her find peace in the last year.
‘Making this album has helped me articulate and find a path to self-acceptance. It’s allowed me to acknowledge my overthinking brain and offer kindness and love,’ Ebert said. ‘Since making this album, I’ve experienced moments of mental silence for the first time, and I thought sharing my vulnerability and process could help people learn, too.’
The album is also a replacement for in-person Uno Lady performances, which Ebert had to largely cancel due to the pandemic.
‘I hope it reaches people who appreciate music, people who want to explore meditation, art appreciators — and it’s also a gift to residents of Cuyahoga County,’ Ebert said. ‘I hope it helps people just relax for a little bit, or find ways they can find peace and show kindness to themselves, and people they love.’
After “Grounded” is released, Ebert also plans to release more videos featuring the album’s guided meditations. You can follow future Uno Lady releases at unolady.com.
I spent all summer socially distant, researching, writing, growing flowers and filming nature in my backyard. For GROUNDED, I researched the healing effects of sound and mindfulness and listened to dozens of audiobooks through the Library. To create some of the songs (Here Now, Awaken the Peace Within, Binaural Bees) I’d meditate in the garden, film flowers, capture nature sounds, and then go into my studio to record. Every song was sung in a positive mindset with loving and healing intentions. Every flower filmed was captured in the hope of making you smile. At the very least, I hope sharing these pretty sights and sounds will help you zone out for 20 minutes and share ways to show love to yourself and the people you care about.
The album is made up of mindfulness exercises, mantras,and meditations. For it, I wrote minute long mantras of positive affirmations to balance out the experience of negative thoughts—and I feel like it has worked. Somemornings I wake up with a song called “Good Vibes” or “Four-Square Breathing Box” as my first morning thoughtrather than a.m. dread.
LaToya Kent is a musician and meditation teacher. She radiates love and is so cool and calm. I asked her to record meditations, gave her creative freedom, trusted her expertise and then wrote music around her words (Breathe, You Are Love).
Free time to focus on art is what I craved most, pre-pandemic. I decided to make something good come of a tragic situation. When life is full of worry, it’s important to balance perspective. Even when chaos is overwhelming, there are beautiful occurrences still happening. I recognizemy privilege. I can stay home. I have a home. I have a garden. How can I share these privileges while social distancing?
My music has a hypnotic meditative quality. Over the years people have requested I make more meditations. The first one I composed, 5 Minute Meditation (Amateur Hour, 2014) poked fun at my fleeting attention span. I didn’t realize it was relatable. For years, I have meditated and assumed that I was bad at it. I thought my overactive thinking was a unique curse. However, I misunderstood the mechanics of the brain. Now I know that we are all constantly thinking—organic machines are made for it. It is the judgement we tie to these thoughts that cause our suffering. Fighting and suppressing these throughs is pointless and only increases distress.
I am not a doctor, but I am a self-proclaimed expert at experiencing worry and anxiety. I share my vulnerability and path to peace through my art in hopes it helps you too. Making this album has helped me articulate and find a path to self-acceptance. It has allowed me to acknowledge my overthinking brain and offer it kindness and love. Since making this album, I have experienced moments of mental silence for the first time. In the past, I wrongly assumed I was too antsy to meditate. I sought out learning different forms and it tried running, sitting, and standing. Chanting is what made me realize that I have been meditating my whole life. And I’m good at it. Singing is my meditation. It is deep breathing. Vocalization sends healing vibrations into the various parts of my body. Singing and songwriting is where I find flow and can be in the present moment. I think back at times when I was unable to sing, and remember feeling miserable, in pain, and experiencing mental distress. Songs are my soul singing. My breath is my spirit. Music is my medicine.
I hope this film helps you explore meditation in whatever form works for you. Please sing or hum along if you so desire. If it brings you joy, please do it. We can all use more moments of happiness right now.
This film is only a fraction of the record. The digital album will release early January through Bandcamp. There will be more meditation videos released then too.
GROUNDED is supported by the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Uno Lady presents GROUNDED: an ambient, experimental film based on meditation
Film premiere: Monday, December 14, 2020, 7pm – on YouTube
Self-trained musician Christa Ebert (who performs as Uno Lady) has created a short experimental film about mindfulness that includes mantras, soothing songs, and guided meditations for busy minds. Filmed mostly in her backyard in Cleveland, Ohio during the pandemic, Ebert created stop-motion animations with homegrown flowers, sweet potatoes, drawings, and paintings, spliced with calming footage of nature, all set to a soundtrack composed specifically for the project.
The music features vocal harmonies, field recordings of nature sounds, bells, and synths sprinkled throughout. Background music was created from environmental elements such as crickets chirping and babbling streams, percussive beats were made with bird songs, and Ebert even created a guiro effect by grating ears of corn she grew together.
Multi-media artist Sequoia Bostick contributed hypnotic animations to several of the songs, and in addition to Ebert’s voice, one of the meditations in the film “Breathe” is guided by LaToya Kent a meditation teacher and musician who performs solo and as a part of Mourning [A] BLKstar.
The purpose of GROUNDED is to help people find peace in the present moment and offer kindness and healing through these difficult times.
The full album will be released digitally January 12, 2021 for the new moon, and more meditation videos will be released then as well. Preorders start December 4, 2020.
GROUNDED was made with support from the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Tip if you’d like: Venmo @TheUnoLady – PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org – cashapp $TheUnoLady
CoolCleveland – “Wed 9/2 @ 8PM Christa Ebert, who performs as Uno Lady, is one of northeast Ohio’s most interesting — and most chameleon artists. Calling herself a “one woman choir,” she makes her music by processing and layering her voice with electronic effects pedals, creating a dense and hypnotically dreamy sound. Her oddball, sometimes surreal, lyrics add to the strangeness of her impact, as does her constantly changing appearance. She’s released several albums, including last year’s Osmosis LP.
Ebert will perform as part of the Maltz Performing Arts Center’s LIVE @ Silver Hall streaming series, which airs a different locally based artist every Wednesday and Sunday. It’s free to tune in. Go here.
I am ecstatic to be awarded SPACES’ Urgent Art Fund. With the support I will present GROUNDED: an ambient, experimental film series and audio-visual installation based on meditation.
We are grieving on a global level. The purpose is to help find peace in the present moment and offer kindness and healing through difficult times. Modulated nature footage will show the powerful effects of nature’s everyday occurrences. While other meditations focus on relaxation, this series cycles through emotions sonically. It is a journey that pierces the audience’s attention throughout the process, creating an engaging experience that will remain with the viewer for a long time.
The series will be accompanied by a soundtrack composed specifically for this project. The music will feature vocal harmonies, field recordings of nature sounds, theremin, singing bowls, bells, and synths sprinkled throughout. Some songs are lyricless, ambient, and the visuals will be abstract – others pieces feature natural sounds and have breathing exercises intertwined. Mindfulness segments hope to depict short attention spans and share methods that can retrain focus.
Music is a community building art form. Recent BBC article, “The world’s most accessible stress reliever,” touts the positive, healing effects of music and how singing is meditative and mood boosting. The video will feature a continual stream of songs, providing a sonic narrative to accompany the visual segments.
There will be a free virtual viewing of the film. Guests who register will receive a download of one of the songs featured in the film. An audio release will be produced. Details will be shared later in the year as the project develops.
Congrats to the other awardees: Amanda D. King, Anna Tararova, and Mourning [A] BLKstar Collective! I have so much love and respect for your art and am looking forward to seeing what you create.
SPACES has one Urgent Art Fund grant left to award in 2020 and artists are encouragedto apply. Applications are judged by three external jurors based on feasibility, public accessibility to the project, artistic quality, and timeliness. Interested artists may contact the program coordinator, Cierra Rembert (email@example.com) with questions about applications and requirements. The Urgent Art Fund is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a Support for Artists grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. (more).