The Monthly interviews Tessa Ann about her work creating sounds for performance.

Could you tell the Monthly about the Circadian Rhythms Project?

The Circadian Rhythms Project was something I started a few years ago which involved me creating sounds for wellness for an American radio station. Circadian Rhythms is a term used for the human body clock, the rhythms of the body. The kinds of tracks and soundscapes I created, were developed with sounds, pitch and tempo to represent the body clock, and for different times of the day and different times in the cycle. The most popular of those were the sounds produced to help improve sleep & focus.  I also created tracks to encourage general well-being.  These were aired at set times during the day depending on what I had produced them for specifically.

I’ve always loved working with rhythm and connecting that with the movement of the body. This is something that has stayed with me for some time, with the idea of moving this forward creatively.  I would always push the idea to the background because I was too busy with other projects.

And this changed during Lockdown?

Yes. When things became a bit more still in the initial period, I found that my creativity blossomed. I was in a position where I could work on producing sounds and that meant that I was able to concentrate on production and recording again.

You started to produce again?

I’ve worked for many years with therapeutic sound, face to face in person, so during lockdown I had to find a way to make a living and recalibrate my business.  As I had decided to start producing and recording my sounds for my sound bath online sessions, this inspired me creatively, encouraging me to look at my work as an artist once more in the areas of production and performance.  My background for many years had been in production and performance as a DJ and I have delivered meditative performances with my soundscapes over the last couple of years.  As with life, when it gets busy, these creative endeavours often get set aside, so production & performance is something I wish to really step in to now.

This is a link to one of the dance meditations I created in the earlier stages of Lockdown under the Circadian Rhythms Project:

Lockdown seems to have worked for you?

I don’t wish to minimise why Lockdown happened or the extent of what has happened with Covid-19, but I reflect upon what the experience has meant for me personally. My view is that what Lockdown has allowed me to do, actually forced me to do, is to look at what I was doing, how I was working and to reassess how I move forward creatively in a way that feeds my soul. Both in my work and my art. Lockdown has allowed me to reset. I don’t have to work in the way I did before. I can re-orientate, shift the balance and identify my personal priorities, taking a positive from this resent Lockdown experience.

You have a track on the Beyond Skin Make Music Day website?

Yes. I have done a fair bit of work with Beyond Skin over the years, providing sound relaxation sessions for young people, online workshops & events.   When Make Music Day was approaching they offered me a chance to collaborate with a visual artist.  The visual artist listened to my sounds and was inspired to produce the images you see on the video.  It was a great opportunity and the process worked well.

Where to now?

I have created vocational education courses in therapeutic sound using all manner of different instruments, textures, themes & contexts.  The courses allow people from many different backgrounds to learn about this area of sound and receive a qualification so that they can practice what they learn and share sounds with others.

For the next few months alongside my teaching, I am focusing on my work as an artist and performer with the intention of returning to performance very soon. I have some exciting sound projects on the horizon and I look forward to updating CAP as soon as the information is at hand.

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New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.