is creating an 'Earth OPERA' !!!

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About mamalama

Thank you for showing up here.

This 'Patreon' page is a way for the my community to directly support the creation and development of an interdisciplinary new opera, "Seeds Under Nuclear Winter: An Earth Opera". 

"Seeds Under Nuclear Winter: An Earth Opera"
Is a large-scale production that recreates dreams and spiritual visions through music, movement, moving visual art, light experiments, multi-sensory experience, storytelling, and audience participation.  It is an immersive and interactive experience.

The Earth Opera has been in development as an artist-in-residence at Byrdcliffe Colony of the Arts from 2018-2020, and it is now COMPLETE and ready to share (excerpts, followed by full production in 2022).

musicians, dancers, actors, choreographers, and artists throughout the Hudson Valley region are bringing this Earth Opera to life, evolving the work as we come together again as a  creative community.

Your PATRONAGE will DIRECTLY support the artists, musicians, dancers, and choreographers within our community.

This body of work is orchestrated for a world music 'pit' orchestra, and includes an ethereal vocal ensemble/choir, many harps, a chamber string section, Native American flutes (South and North America), Indonesian gamelan, frame drums, horns, chanting monks, luminous dancing deities featuring Hanuman (Hindu), Mother Tara (Buddhist), Jesus Christ and the 3 Marys (Christian), the appearance of familiar and uncommon Saints (Saint Margaret of the Parking Lot and others), Earth Mother (as herself), a Narcissistic dictator, serpents, seraphim, birds, moths and other flying things, water, wind, clouds, storms, plant spirits, the experience of darkness, and  the presence of light.

'Seeds Under Nuclear Winter' is set in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, and in the center is simply about finding light and beauty in the darkest of times. The Earth Opera dives into spiritual realms and the non-linear experience of dreams as these places are recreated through music, movement, visual art, sensory experience, and light. All of these experiences are invoked by a small village of cast members, artists, dancers, and musicians from around the globe. 

The opera will first be performed/premiered completely underground, site-specifically in a vast old cement mine that is now an underground, earthen amphitheater, and will later be adapted for many other spaces.

The video attached here shows you just a little piece of a collaborative concert from 2+ years ago in the mine, with Mamalama & Andes Manta performing "Green Little Things".  The music video here gives you a sense of the unusual underground setting for the opera.
(New videos of the
'Earth Opera' will be shared as the opera is in rehearsall and developing..)

'The Mine'  you see and hear echoing in the video is a natural underground amphitheater and performance space, complete with a misty lake behind a stage, and giant stone pillars that open to the light.

"Seeds under Nuclear Winter: An Earth Opera" will be brought to life by an entire community of artists from various disciplines....dancers, visual artists, actors, musicians..... Because it really takes a village to put something like this out unto the world.

We will need your support to bring this project to life.

Your Patreon commitment will DIRECTLY support and sustain all phases of this opera creation. Stay on board as long or as little as you like, as you are able.

Thanks to many of my Patrons here, the 'Earth Opera'  was completed during a three year artist-residency at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock NY (2018-2020), including the final composing year being 2020, amidst the turbulence and strangeness of the pandemic.
Within the solitude of a little cabin in the forest for 5 months, the final scenes of the "Earth Opera" came together, and the writing was completed. 

Now that some re-openings of music spaces are allowed, we are finally preparing to share excerpts of the 'Earth Opera' live and in-person on August  28-29, 2021 in the Widow Jane Mine! 
(The full opera will be produced and performed hopefully in 2022, as funding for the full production is sought out.)

Now is the time of gathering musicians, actors and dancers
, designing stages and costumes, lining up video/photo documentation, and finally-----offering a day  (or several) at the Earth Opera, underground.  

The 'Earth Opera' will eventually include 
adaptations for different spaces, though the first and original premiere site-specifically in the Widow Jane Mine.

All Patreon donations directly support ALL ARTISTS directly involved with the creation, development and performance of the opera. This production will truly take a village, so thank you for your ongoing support of us all----especially at this moment in our collective history, when things are not financially easy for artists and musicians!

Please SIGN UP at any tier, and help to support what it takes to bring this musical vision to life.

Thank you for lifting this up.... 


ABOUT MUSIC and the path:
Music is and has always been, for me, a form of medicine. It has become a form of prayer. It is a mirror. It can hold anything for us. Music reaches the heart quickly. It heals, it teaches, moves us, soothes us, riles us, strengthens us, and gives us good company if we are lonely. It soothes a cranky child.  We can pray with it, we can cry into it, we put into musical forms our joy, sorrow, wonder. It is (mostly) invisible in it's delivery, ancient re-invented rhythms and new melodies traveling wherever they want, without boundaries, ~~~just like water ~~~~~, lifting up and crossing over/under ALL borders, and redistributing as it pleases. It carries the stories and rhythms of our ancestors, and always has. It breaks our heart. It heals our broken heart. And so on. These things I'm sure you know already.

The path that music has taken me on is unexpected-----and profoundly beautiful. Because you may or may not be familiar with the different ways I work with music in the world, I think it would be good to share some of that background with you.

As you probably know, my main musical presence in the public eye is with my work as Mamalama, an evolving harp-and-voice-fronted, sometimes fully orchestrated world music ensemble performing a kind of 'modern sacred music'. Mamalama has taken on different incarnations over the years, working with a varying orchestration of human beings and harps, ethereal voices, African balafon, a string section, French horn, hammered dulcimer, handmade music boxes, glockenspiel, Irish flutes, frame drums, and most currently---- a plethora of traditional Andean flutes and Native American instruments, and choral/vocal arrangements. ( 

Now, I am in the midst of creating an 'Earth Opera', a large-scale body of work that I'm about to dive deeper into during my 5-month long residency at Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in  Woodstock, New York.
This is the
 first piece I've made of this magnitude, and as mentioned above, it is an interdisciplinary body of work that recreates dreams and spiritual visions through music. It will be orchestrated for a world music 'pit' orchestra, with dance/movement, multi-sensory experience, light experiments, moving visual art, and audience participation.
The opera will be performed/premiered completely underground, site-specifically in 'The Widow Jane Mine', in Rosendale NY in 2021.

.............And it takes TIME and FOCUS to create such a large piece, which is why a residency is such a blessing.

Aside from Mamalama and opera writing, I work with music in quieter ways, bringing music to places that seem to need music the most.

Over the years, I have been asked many times to play my harp at the bedside for people who are actively dying. I've been there at the deathbed with my harp for my own grandparents, and for other people's grandparents. I've also played for many (young and old) who are in comas due to traumatic brain injury, and made musical rounds on a tracheotomy unit for those who are on breathing machines. Because music (especially harp) seems like an enormous comfort and benefit to the needs of the ill and dying, as well as to the family around the bedside, I have made myself available within nursing homes and hospitals to deliver bedside music to those who are on the threshold.  
It's been a gift to be present to this, and I've experienced the mysterious and medicinal potency of music in such a deep way through this work. In truth, I think I know less about what music IS now then I ever did before---and I love music infinitely more for this. These experiences all inform my work as a composer. Alongside these experiences, I also studied in a "Contemplative Musicianship" in a monastic setting through the Chalice of Repose Project in Mt. Angel, Oregon, with the guidance and teachings of Music-Thanatology (music for the dying) pioneer Therese Shroeder-Sheker. This time spent studying through The Chalice of Repose Project has greatly informed the work I do around end-of-life care and with my music as a whole----though most of my experience and learning has been gained directly in the field, right there at the bedside. 

Another branch of my musical path has been what I do through "SageArts: A New Voice for Elders", a non-profit organization in which I am a foundational composer/supporter/performer ( SageArts brings our community elders together with songwriters to create an original, collaborative piece of music that deeply reflects upon what has been essential to each Elder's life. These songs are created over several months of very personal, collaborative work between songwriter (me) and elder. The pieces are then orchestrated and performed live for the community at large, honoring our elders and all of the wisdom and experience they have to share with us all, through music. I have written pieces with many different elders, and will be embarking on the next Sagearts project in the fall---- writing original collaborative music with holocaust survivors. This intense personal work involves visiting the homes of elders over the course of several months, spending time getting to know each human being and the stories that they would like to share through song. Over time, we begin to collaboratively create an original piece of music about that person's life. There is a documentary being made about this work, and a good chance that it will be aired on PBS in 2019. More on that later, as it develops.

Another place my songs have taken me over the last few years is to an alternative Men's Rehabilitation Center in New Hampshire, playing small, intimate concerts for groups of men of all ages who are in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. This particular rehab incorporates a Buddhist-based philosophy into it's program, incorporating meditation and contemplative practice, it's model based on the creation of a "healing/therapeutic community". I visit this community several times a year to play music for both the residents and the professional interventionists who visit the rehab in search of effective recovery space for their clients. My harp and I were flown out to Las Vegas (just a week after the massive shooting this past year---we landed literally across the street from where this shooting took place) in order to give a concert for those attending a National Interventionist Convention. The audience consisted of recovering addicts, detectives who track down lost people, doctors, interventionists, and addiction specialists in many fields. While I've never struggled with addiction myself, I can clearly see how effective and healing certain forms of music are for those who are struggling with this, and for those who have experienced such intensity and human suffering while working to help others. Considering the vast opioid epidemic running rampant in this country, taking so many lives and destroying so many families, and with a lack of fully understood, effective options for deep healing---I am so glad to bring music to these places where it seems to be even the slightest bit helpful. They keep inviting me back, so something worthwhile must be happening. And I keep saying yes. 

In addition, I have worked with children and adults with special needs through music, playing therapeutic concerts at many public and private events. I have been a featured performer within such events as the "Mind-Body Connection Conference" at The Center for Discovery (,  a conference which showcases the work and expertise of many scientists, doctors, featured TED talk speakers, and technology pioneers along the topic of medicine and the mind/body connection. 
This is all part of my story. All of these things inform my music, my writing, my 'performances' (though I shy away from this term, as music feels more like a contemplative, devotional practice to me, rather than a performance). 
I'm seeing as I go how music is a kind of medicine in so many ways, and it's beautiful. We have enough "entertainment". I'm most interested in how music transforms and heals, whether it's at the bedside or through a live concert.  

I'm asking for support from those who believe in the possibilities of my musical work.

Please consider supporting me ongoing so that I can dive into these things more deeply, and specifically, so I can get this opera into form.


THANK YOU for everything.

The video attached here shows you a little bit of a collaborative concert from 2 years ago in the Widow Jane Mine (Mamalama & Andes Manta).
This is the location where the 'EARTH OPERA' in its entirety will premiere.....!
Help make it happen!

$102.18 of $1,000 per month

Your support will begin by helping to sustain my 5 month long creative deep dive into forming and composing "Seeds Under Nuclear Winter", my first "Earth Opera"---and will continue into the next phase of creating the work.

The idea for "Seeds Under Nuclear Winter" sprouted in a dream in November 2016, and began to take shape in January 2017 while on a retreat with a wonderful mentor/composer Meredith Monk..... when the dream became a walking dream........the kind where you find yourself living in the exact place and time of the dream.
Though, the seeds of this work have surely been there for a long time, sleeping until NOW.... 

" If you have a vision of something you want to do, follow it and you will find a way".
-Meredith Monk

"When you have a vision, you have to DO what you saw..."
-Grandfather Albert Ward, Mi'qmac Spiritual Elder

Your Patreon commitment will DIRECTLY support and sustain me during all phases of this opera creation. Stay on board as long or as little as you like.

This opera venture begins with my upcoming 5 month Byrdcliffe
residency, and continues into the phase of rehearsals, working with a set, making costumes, hiring musicians, dancers, and actors, lighting, documentation, publicity, and finally-----a night (or several) at the Earth Opera, underground.

Step 1: Diving into the Deep-- 5-month Residency:
Begin by being supportive during my residency. This will be a time of diving into the content deeply, orchestrating all musical pieces, editing content,  beginning to create and recreate scenes in a practice theater space and incorporating movement/dancers/choreography, pulling together a cast of artsits/dancers/musicians, foraging the great big world for props, etc.

(Residency is from May 1-September 30th 2020.)

Step 2: Vignette Performances
You'll see how things are progressing at several condensed 'Earth Opera' works-in-progress performances in various local theater spaces later in the summer of 2020. As a Patron, you will be on the guest list for these performances, and your feedback will be valuable as the work progresses.
All Patreon donations directly support all artists directly involved with the creation, development and performance of the opera.

Step 3: Will update as support grows and opera expands!

Please SIGN UP at any tier, and help to hold the EMPTY SPACE/TIME it takes to bring this musical vision to life!

I will be updating all of my opera patrons ongoing as the next developmental phase of this opera arises. You can be my patron the whole way through....from the opera's creative beginnings to the fully-realized performance....
and celebrate with me when the dream becomes a real thing. 

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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 6 exclusive posts
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