TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO, the site of the chapel was a source, a spring, a stream. To rare water high on a hill people will go. And as they go a road comes into being, step by step, wheel after wheel. And so its source becomes a protected place, a sacred one. By 1413 it was written this site was always a holy place. Circled by stones or dogs, a drum, a fire, a fig tree, then walls, priestess, priest, a roof with a cross, baptisms, ownership, a name or two, or three. First the water, then the trade, then the people drying into silence. A lock. Silence. A key. Silence.
You can’t go straight in. This secretive chapel requires a key crafted of
both metal and metaphor. If you are lucky enough to ask for the key, you may learn it is being passed around the village just ahead of you.
Turning the key unlocks a space quietly longing for sound, praying to be a source again. And there you are, confronted by stillness and a shivering potential of sound. One note and the chapel immediately responds with resonance as if caressed by a long-gone lover, touched by one of the oldest, most venerable human sources: music.
Les Audides or L’Audido means the echoes in Provençal and is the name of the hill where the chapel sits. Like smoke signals, pre-Roman “callers” sang out
messages between five echoing hills. Found at the site centuries ago, a priestess’s sacred life is memorialized in stone for presiding over the Roman temple that was likely the chapel’s octagonal and acoustical foundation. Standing watch and cradling a mute instrument is a haunting statue of the patron saint of music, Saint Cecelia. During nighttime, candlelit rehearsals we felt her expression melt from sternness to breathlessness, coloring her cheeks and our melodies.
Through its eight-thirteen second reverb, the chapel creates layers
of overtones, and depending on which way you face, the movement of sound changes. As with all echoes, there was no way to contain, perfect or inhibit them. Our compositions emanate from a musical conversation in and with the chapel.
This musical dialogue was playful and fierce, far from stuffy or solemn; the space emptying and filling with children, visitors, dancing, rigor, egos and prayers, plenty of unkown, and a feeling of protection - a swirl
We trust you will hear our humanness - hands, breath, vulnerability, waves of emotion. There is no resonance without us; we turn the key, we are the key.
So, this music is sacred. We reach into the “space between”, plunging deep into waves of sound, feeling rhythms of the mystical and everyday, and raising up a jewel from the grey, cold dark. Our recording evokes the experience of being in this magical space: sounds rising, dissolving, blending, crossing, moving your body and filling your ears.
Listening with headphones, the public backdrop of the village comes into being: chiming, chirping, talking, wheels turning, and the private, mysterious transformation of sound through the chapel’s reverberation. We recorded live with six ambient mics plus harp, voice, and percussion proximity mics into which all other sounds flowed. Along with more complex pieces, we give you a solo harp and a solo vocal piece, each in its most raw, ambient form to tune you in. And if you listen closely, intimately, you will sometimes discover a rare and mysterious upper harmony, not human but certainly female, a third voice, a result of the collision of human music and sacred space.
From dreams of music in the chapel and the first innocence of turning a clanging key in a silent lock to its seductive, answering overtones, we invite you into the echoes, LES AUDIDES.
Compositions from the Chapelle Saint Jean Baptise
Megan Metheney, harp and voice
Rebekah West, percussion and voice
A dynamic Americana duo, Megan Metheney and Rebekah West deliver a creative set of original music from their current residencies in Southern France. Strengthened by West's rhythmical prowess and Metheney's world-class harpistry, the women showcase their craft with simple vocals, stellar harmonic interplay and a magnetic onstage chemistry.
Phoenix-born Megan Metheney is a classically trained harpist with a unique, inspiring style that resists the traditional classical harp. Her fresh approach to the Celtic harp reflects a love for jazz, rock and roll, acoustic world music and an ear for invention. Tasteful and accomplished, she has truly cultivated a style all her own.
Rebekah West is a Boulder, Colorado artist whose musical influences include two decades performing Flamenco dance and cajon, plus theatrical, and vocal and body rhythm. Her wondrous site-specific compositions, where she tunes into inherent nuance and rhythm, have lit up airplane hangars, sacred places and digital spaces.
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