NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 96

By ROBERTA HILL Rain through Wires For Michael B. Sutton, Composer You call from California to share the sound of rain beating on rooftops, palm leaves, patios, drains. Drops are drumming— hitting the rim quick palming a groove in congas shaking caxixi. They hand us hope in the oldest sound by pushing heels in the hide stretched so thin it becomes a living voice, the voice of healing that hearts hear in wood when it honors its underground. Tambourine, marimba, shakers in rain. The base travels on a syncopated patter. My mid-west ears, stuffed with snow, listen to your gift. Nations of drummers leaving the world above, a diaspora afraid of being left, afraid of losing love, afraid of doing something wrong. Their music tumbles in the time it takes to break a heart. We listen to the weaving of riddles, shifts in tone, more music on the ground. You sit on your bed, the room full of mixers, midis, modules, amplifiers, your door wide open, keys you play all day glint in muted light. You’re pleased with a rhythm whose swell leads you into feeling the mist lolling in the window, drops pearling your hair. Blue notes of exile stay in city textures, ruthless avenues, glitzy stores, the furrowed world of streets where people meet sudden danger and do rituals to keep songs from crumbling, rhythms from breaking, poems from slackening into sighs. Loneliness marks a heart like a muddy boot. We search for a word that sings, afraid of being left, afraid of loving, afraid we did somebody wrong. We push ourselves searching for progressions, a fresher key, but are there keys we haven’t found, Michael, chords the rain is playing now, words the drops sing from worlds above, words the moon is fondest of? Sound shapes vibration cohering in a void, a voice with no choice but to play. Truths in music make troubles change— big voices, the ease of language, the memory of an LA breeze reaching me through the phone. The tongue depends on heart, the heart on breath and breath begins a gift that cycles into song coming from ears that have practiced long by listening to rain, by paying attention to that hope always greater than we need falling near, there as well as here. 94 Information on Michael B. Sutton can be found on this website: http://www.saveoursoul.nl/artists/features/michael-b-sutton.html##websites BRN-FALL-2013.indb 94 9/13/13 12:48 AM