Sacred Notes: a Passage of the Soul

This work is about a passage of the soul, journeying to another stage, through another window, looking within and without. These passages have involved three countries in the past two years – Ireland, India and Portugal. Music has played a large part in my emotional memory and has acted as a medium for my painting.

For several summers, I worked in Tavira, Algarve and it will forever be associated in my mind with Amelia Rodrigues, The Queen of Fado. In the heat of summer, I listened to her voice, strong, haunting, female and sad as I painted in my studio on the roof.

It is a quality I also have found in the Irish Gaelic tradition of singing and it has been a large influence on my work in Ireland. I have often collaborated with the Gaelic singer, Mairead Ó Domnhaill, who also has these soulful, female qualities
to her voice.

Now my attention has been turned to India, the Malibar coast in fact, the land that Vasco da Gama conquered in 15th century. Working in my studio high up amongst the coconut palms in Tasara, a Creative Weaving Centre, I listened to the singing and transcendent flute playing of the great classical Indian musicians. Every morning I was awoken to the muezzin, the Islamic chant to call the faithful to prayer, later it would be the morning Hindu chant. It all felt so familiar.

These sacred notes, listened to ‘through the heart’ as Sean Ó Riada, the great Irish composer said, is how to listen to Irish and Indian music. I also would include Portugese Fado music in this catagory.

The way to understand my painting is to look at it ‘through the heart’, to understand it as a passage of the soul.

Janet Pierce 2008 ©

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Sacred Notes: A Sacred Notes: B
Sacred Notes: C Sacred Notes: D
Sacred Notes: E Sacred Notes: F
Sacred Notes: G