Simmer 5: Is Community the Answer?

The fifth episode of Simmer features an interview on the topic of community with community consultant Gaya Erlandson, founder of the Lotus Lodge Community & Learning Center in Candler, NC. For counterpoint, her comments are interspersed with reactions of a fictional Azerbaijani housewife named Gunay Qasimova.

Community consultant Gaya Erlandson shares her perspectives on American culture and the importance of community. Topics include dynamic governance and intentional community. Erlandson is the founder of the Lotus Lodge Community & Learning Center in Candler, NC. For counterpoint, producer Carla Seidl voices reactions from Gunay Qasimova, a fictional Azerbaijani housewife whose perspectives draw from those shared with Seidl by several Azerbaijani women during her Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan from 2006 to 2008.

Gül Senin Tenin

Your skin is a rose and I am in a cage among roses.
My homeland is by your side…
I have but one soul and it is for you.

I listened to and adapted Mahsun Kırmızıgül’s version of this song while living in Azerbaijan from 2006 to 2008. This recording is off of my debut album Under My Skin (2009).

English translation of the original Turkish lyrics by Carla Seidl:

Your Skin is a Rose

Your skin is a rose and I am in a cage among roses
My homeland is by your side
A servant to you.

I’ve tried many times;
it doesn’t work —
I can’t forget you.
You say let’s split up;
You’ve no right to want this.
I can’t give you up.

Tell me my love, away from you
What does breathing matter?
To be forgotten is like dying, believe me.

Tell me, my love, away from you
What does breathing matter?
Look I’ve given up everything
I have only one soul and it is for you.

© 2009 Carla Seidl

Download mp3 from CDBaby here. See me improvise movement to this song here.

La Belle Vie

Song about gender equality off of my 2013 “Who Are My People?” album. The song was written for my Togolese middle school chorus as part of my work in Girls’ Education and Empowerment. Photos taken in northern Togo, West Africa.

La Belle Vie

La mère souhaite une belle vie pour ses enfants
Elle veut qu’ils soient très bien éduqués
Pour diriger une entreprise un jour
Pour être médecin ou professeur

Mais elle n’a même pas fréquenté l’école
C’est comment?

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Oui les garçons peuvent balayer (et cuisiner)
Oui les filles peuvent bien étudier (et diriger)
Tout le monde peut avoir la carrière qui lui plaît (et le succès)
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Tout le monde est digne de respect
Tout le monde a le droit à la santé
Tout le monde peut vivre en prospérité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

Changeons!
Réveillons-nous!

Oui les garçons peuvent balayer (et cuisiner)
Oui les filles peuvent bien étudier (et diriger)
Tout le monde peut avoir la carrière qui lui plaît (et le succès)
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité
Si nous choisissons l’égalité

A Beautiful Life (rough English translation)

A mother hopes for a nice life for her children
she wants them to have a good education
to run a business one day
to be a doctor or a teacher
But she has never been to school.

What do you think of this?

Let’s wake up, let’s change.

Yes, boys can sweep and cook
Yes, girls can study well and lead
Everyone can succeed in the career that they desire If we choose equality

Let’s wake up, let’s change.

Everyone is worthy of respect
everyone has the right to health care
Everyone can live in prosperity
If we choose equality

© 2010 Carla Seidl

“Simmer” on the air

Carla’s six-part radio series, “Simmer: Bringing the Global Local” begins tonight at 7:30pm on MAIN-FM (Asheville 103.7). Listen to all six episodes on PRX here.

About

 

Bringing the global, local, with multidisciplinary artist and returned Peace Corps volunteer Carla Seidl.

“Simmer” is a six-episode experimental series of 30-minute programs produced for Asheville’s MAIN-FM in 2013. Host and producer Carla Seidl returned from teaching abroad in Azerbaijan and West Africa and sought to tie her experiences living in less economically developed regions to issues facing her community of Asheville, North Carolina. The program straddles art and journalism by combining interview with music, collage, and personal reflection. It aims to expand listeners’ awareness and sensitivity to other cultures and perspectives.

Topics are evergreen: education, democracy, health, media, and community.

The series served as Seidl’s practicum toward her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.

Simmer 4: Citizen, Not Consumer

The fourth Simmer episode features the second part of the documentary “Telling Our Own Stories: Wally Bowen on Creating a Democratic Media,” plus an original spoken word entitled “Citizen, Not Consumer.”

In the second part of “Telling Our Own Stories: Wally Bowen on Creating a Democratic Media,” Bowen speaks of the importance of an engaged citizenry. He encourages listeners to manifest their own visions and stories. This Simmer episode also features an original song, “Citizen, Not Consumer,” by producer Carla Seidl.

Simmer 3: Democracy and Telling Our Own Stories

The third Simmer episode features the first part of the documentary “Telling Our Own Stories” introduced by anecdotes about democracy from Seidl’s time in Azerbaijan.

Producer and host Carla Seidl shares anecdotes related to democracy, localism, and corruption from her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Azerbaijan (2006-2008). We then hear the first part of “Telling Our Own Stories,” the 47-minute-long documentary that Seidl produced in spring of 2013 on the life and work of media reform activist Wally Bowen, founder and executive director of the Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) in Asheville, North Carolina.

On Bricolage

I came across the idea of bricolage in Stephen Nachmanovitch’s Free Play: Improvisation in LIfe and Art, where he describes the bricoleur as an artist of limits, making do with whatever is at hand. I related immediately to this with regard to my cooking and my radio work, in which I aim to create the best possible combination of a given set of ingredients or sounds. However, thinking about it more, I saw that it could apply to all of my creative endeavors.

I remember being moved by a French film called Les Glaneurs et La Glaneuse, in English translated to The Gleaners and I, when it came out in 2000. The film, by Agnès Varda, follows those who glean for food out of poverty, but also features those who glean for fun or as a political statement and artists who base their work on found objects. I wasn’t sure at the time why this movie so resonated for me, but I believe now that it kindled my incipient appreciation for and understanding of the connection between the artistry and ethic of using what others leave behind.

In many ways, I see bricolage as trial and experimentation instead of predetermined linear procedure. Like gleaning, bricolage holds an assumption of possibility, no matter how barren one’s environment may seem. It also teaches, and requires, flexibility. I needed this technique while living in other countries, far from the usual pacifying material comforts of the US. There was a joke circulating among fellow Peace Corps volunteers that instead of seeing the glass half full or half empty, the Peace Corps volunteer would see the glass and exclaim, “Hey, I could take a shower in that!” It is in the spirit of bricolage that I included images from my dance improvisation sessions in my MFA portfolio and that, in my writing, I often jump back and forth between prose and verse depending on which seems a better tool for expressing the meaning I am trying to convey.

I also realize now the connection between my style of bricolage and my philosophy of non-waste, the value I place on conserving the Earth’s resources and using only what is needed. Taking the example of cooking, approaching making a meal with the lens of bricolage means that I will open the refrigerator, open the cabinet and see what ingredients are available and at their peak of readiness. Creating a meal from those, going to the store for a supplementary ingredient only if no imaginable substitute is present, creates much less waste than the alternative approach of first imagining a meal, then going to the store with a set list of ingredients and quantities, purchasing those without regard to freshness or cost, and meanwhile letting what is already present in the kitchen spoil or grow stale. By developing an awareness of the potentials of existing ingredients and imagining how they might combine in new ways, I create a meal or dish that I usually find tastier, or at least more interesting, than the alternative, too. I just have to be open to new experiences.