For our last minisode of season two, ShortCuts dives into the archives of The Words & Music Show, a monthly series of poetry, spoken word, music, and dance performances that has been happening in Montreal for over twenty years. Last year, SpokenWeb RA Ali Barillaro was digitizing that collection when she heard a recording that caught her attention. It was a recording of Tanya Davis performing “How to Be Alone.” As Ali listened, she felt a dissonance between Davis’s version of aloneness as freedom and the imposed and necessary aloneness of the pandemic. Along with being an academic, Ali is a singer – and this ShortCuts takes us into Ali’s story of navigating her artistic practice through the pandemic. We embark on this sonic journey by starting with one recording – the recording of Davis – which shows what you can make when you pause to notice what catches your attention.
A fresh take on sounds from the past, ShortCuts is a monthly feature on The SpokenWeb Podcast feed and an extension of the ShortCuts blog posts on SPOKENWEBLOG. Stay tuned for monthly episodes of ShortCuts on alternate fortnights (that’s every second week) following the monthly SpokenWeb podcast episode.
Producer: Katherine McLeod
Host: Hannah McGregor
Supervising Producer: Judith Burr
Ali Barillaro’s recording of reading of her blog post, “Tanya Davis performing ‘How to Be Alone’” on SPOKENWEBLOG, 6 August, 2020.
Tanya Davis performing “How to Be Alone,” recorded at The Words & Music Show at Casa del Popolo, Montreal on 12 December 2012. Listen to the entire audio here: https://spokenweb.ca/tanya-davis-performing-how-to-be-alone/.
Excerpt of Cover of “Digging my own grave” by Thrice performed by Ali Barillaro and Vincent Pigeon here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y6H9QuL6q8
Watch Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman’s 2010 film of the poem “How to Be Alone”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7X7sZzSXYs
Watch the 2020 film made by Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman in which they revisit the poem as “How to Be at Home”: https://www.nfb.ca/film/how-to-be-at-home
Find out more about all of SpokenWeb’s audio collections here.