Notes: Conversations with songwriters can be illuminating. Moira and I talk about wanting our voices to make a difference, and how to evaluate that, how Moira's voice has protected and shaped her, rest as part of the job of being a creator, and so much more. She shares a song that is in the process of becoming, and we get a very special glimpse of this creative process, which includes a calling sound that fascinates Moira right now. As you sing along, you'll be able to really tune in to what feels good to you this day -- is it the commitment and determination of "each day we make a little light"? The seeking melodic curve of "mmm...render...mmm...a remedy?" The wild, aching cry of the calling sounds? Or something else that you feel called to bring to the song? As you're singing in your own space, I wonder if there will be movement -- stepping or dancing or swaying?
Sign up for the A Breath of Song mailing list (the little form on the home page; you might have to scroll down a bit) to receive a heads up as a new episode is released, plus a large version of the artwork, brief thoughts from my slightly peculiar brain... and occasional extras when they seem vitally important! No junk -- I will never sell your address. I read out all your names into my living room when I send new mailings... I appreciate the connection to you who are listening and singing these songs with me.
Songwriter Info: As a composer, Moira Smiley is known worldwide for choral arrangements like Bring Me Little Water, Silvy and originals, Stand in That River and How Can I Cry. Her music is sung by millions of singers worldwide. She’s credited with helping to bring body percussion into the choral mainstream and is in demand as a commissioned composer, writing multi-movement pieces including Time In Our Voices and In The Desert With You for the Los Angeles Master Chorale, evening-length secular liturgy, The Song Among Us and Tis A Fearful Thing for Craig Hella Johnson’s Conspirare and CVAE, Vonnegut Requiem: Light Perpetual for Voces Novae, Loud My Soul for Ad Astra Festival and I Have A Voice for ACDA Women's Choral Consortium. The European premiere of Time In Our Voices was performed by the voices and mobile phones of Ars Nova Copenhagen under the direction of Paul Hillier.
In 2018-2019 Moira released the album and choral songbook, Unzip The Horizon as companion to her ‘The Voice Is A Traveler’ solo show. In 2021 she released the all-vocal social-justice centered album, In Our Voices with four powerful singers of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. She continues composing and improvising in collaboration with artists in film, video game production, theater and dance, and her work can be heard on feature film soundtracks, BBC & PBS television programs, NPR, and on more than 70 commercial albums.
“Moira Smiley is marvel—an omnivorous singing and composing chameleon with a voice that can wail or caress at will!” -- Grant Gershon - artistic director, Los Angeles Master Chorale
“Moira Smiley is a brilliant musician – an innovative composer and arranger, and a heartbreakingly beautiful singer. Her music transcends (and expands) boundaries.” -- Billy Childs - multi-grammy-winning composer/pianist
“I’m so thankful I’ve had the privilege of performing and recording with Moira. She embodies the endless creative potential of the voice, and… (has made) a deeply moving body of work.” -- Merrill Garbus - Tune-Yards
www.moirasmiley.com for all info including sheet music, practice tracks!
https://moirasmileysubscription.com/ to support Moira monthly for as little as $4/mo.
https://www.instagram.com/moirasmiley/ for up-to-date personal and music pics
https://www.youtube.com/c/MoiraSmileyMusic for official music videos, song and body percussion tutorials and live performances
Lissa Schneckenburger -- the link goes to her interview on A Breath of Song, which includes her own site links and more
Night Song - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook. The link goes to the title song of the album. Here is the album on Apple Music.
Shara Nova - "My Brightest Diamond" -- This link goes to a live performance and interview (go to about 2'40" to get close to the start).
Nuts & Bolts: 4:4, Minor, Dorian & Aeolian, harmonized layers
All 1:1 (Unmetered) 12:8 2:2 3 3:4 4:4 5 & 6 Mixed Meter 6:8 Accept Acceptance Sing Be Grateful Be Present Calm Celebrate Change Dawn Earth Empower Farewell Fire Flex Flow Friendship Gather Generosity Grieve Grow Heal Hope Journey Lullaby Moon Night Notice Nuts & Bolts Open Pain Play Release Rest Scale: Aeolian (minor) Scale: Dorian Scale: Ionian (Major) Scale: Minor Scale: Mixolydian Scale: Mixolydian Flat 6 Song Form: Ballad Song Form: Call & Response Song Form: Harmonized Song Form: Layer Song Form: Round Song Form: Unison Song Form: Unison With Separate Harmony Line Song Form: Verse And Layer Song Form: Verse & Chorus Song Form: Zipper Songwriter Conversation Stars Sun Tend Trees Trust Water