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Varda Artists Residency experience

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This past August my sister Carla CascalesClaire Ulenberg and I had the pleasure to live aboard the SS Vallejo in Sausalito (California). Literally, living on the water, on the Pacific Ocean. My cabin-studio was incredibly beautiful and inspiring and I was immersed in a totally different and new landscape and soundscape.

I used to wake up early in the morning to the sunrise and go to sleep right after sunset: the life rhythm was marked by the light of the sun and the moon. Maybe the most curious thing about living on a houseboat is experiencing the tide: we would return to the boat at night and find so much water around the gangway that we couldn't get into the boat. Then we figured out that we just had to pull off our shoes and wade through the water until we reached gangway. After some time, we were experts!

Carla and I carried out the project that we finally titled: Tide - Lighthouse, an interdisciplinary project combining Music and Sculptures. She created these beautiful mobile sculptures: Tide and Lighthouse and I composed a piano piece to give them a sonority dimension. Also, excited to have my handy recorder with me, I spent some time recording the noises she would make by building the structures. Afterwards I put them together creating an acousmatic music piece that shows the creative process through sound. 

Another fantastic experience was collaborating with the dancer and choreographer Alexandra Kamerling, whom I had met two years ago in San Francisco. I absolutely love her work and I had always wanted to work with her ever since we met. I like to think that we were supposed to meet, it was meant to happen. We scheduled a few rehearsals in San Francisco, where we shared ideas and tried to connect Music and Dance - it was such a beautiful creative process. By the end of the month, we performed a little show together in an amazing studio at Alonzo King Ballet Lines Ballet Dance Center, hoping that it would be just the first of many other collaborations. 

I also had the opportunity to play a show with Sofar Sounds San Francisco at a beautiful house in Twin Peaks, with incredible views of the city. The audience was so warm and thankful - I felt like the happiest girl that night. The one thing we were hoping not to find was high tide (we were carrying the keyboard ourselves! - without a keyboard case!!).

The keyboard I had in my studio was from Lucy Sheils - singer and sound designer -, who kindly lent it to me during my stay. After finding out that she was a singer, I thought of a little piece for piano and voice that I had wrote a while ago. Nobody had sang it before and it seemed like the perfect moment to bring it to life. So yes! She came over the SS Vallejo and sang it with all her heart. From then on, I decided to compose for voice more often - it's so powerful. 

Now I am back in Barcelona, full of new energy and inspiration. It's been such an incredible experience - personal and professional. What I appreciate the most is having been able to share these moments with beautiful people. To Carla and Claire: thank you for being part of this adventure. 

Marta Cascales AlimbauComment