Just home from a recording session with the divine Issa (aka Jane Siberry), working on new songs for a new recording. My colleagues are the Kim sisters, Pauline on violin (a friend since Juilliard), and Christine on cello.
The work is exacting in its way. Issa's ears hear subtle details of sound and especially timing. Playing her music well always takes me out of my usual performing mind set. Sitting with her in the studio as we played through passages tonight, often a graceful movement of her hands or a phrase quietly sung, revealed the secret to sounding spontaneous. Her music is in her body and achieving the spiritual uplift in her songs requires physically conforming to her inner rhythms. Giving oneself over to these rhythms allows a special ethereal freedom and flow.
Every musical style has its own own vernacular accent, its own way of filling the space between beats and notes. The process of finding and sharing in a particular musical language is difficult to describe, but it is the stuff that brings a musician's life to life, and fills it with secret pleasures and satisfactions. It fills the spaces between notes and the rest.