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1.
We Too, Roar 10:40
deep down in the belly  of the beast  where they didn’t tell us that we too  are prey that we too roar have little fires that bellow and rage and sweep and set all that makes us us ablaze deep down  in the belly  of the beast  how can you  put out that  which you cannot recognise its own scream? how can you put fires out when you  cannot recognise  their screams?  deep down in the belly  of the beast  we once were warriors now cowering suns hiding from  mother courage  and so  it had to come to this it had to take a soulstorm chasing each of us  for the  world to go under water whilst the mirrors came up in each of our houses  and the clouds too they lower and the magpies too seared and singed  wings bandaged  crutches hobbled  along telephone wires  they too swoop and surrounded us in our hour of resurrection  and we sit  cross legged in pause position to the buzz cut  of freshly mowed grass  and we settle  into non syncopated rhythms  of cups of afternoon tea  in the morning  and sex hops in bed with a couple  any time  of the day  and we too  begin to talk  in mammal when fun and joy  see saw on swing sets we too begin to talk in mammal and napkins turn into straight jackets for knifes and spoons and chairs  huddle and become  hostages to an unlit cafe we too begin to  talk in mammal and we summon the under water people to hoist the world up with their tails  for they too know of soulstorms and the curse of being loved  too much by the sea deep down  in the belly  of the beast  where they didn’t tell us that we too  are prey it had to take a soulstorm chasing each of us  for the world to go under water whilst the mirrors came up in each of our houses  and we swirl and ride the waves  strong and supple swirls we collide into other swirls that become  valleys of butterflies  set free from the cage and the swirls become the ocean and we gulp pieces of land and the ocean  rides us and we swirl and ride the waves  strong and supple swirls we collide into other swirls that become  valleys of butterflies  set free from the cage and we pray  and we pray  for those that  cannot place  safety next to the word home and  for the battered hordes of women  chiseled wood  cut split bruised into a position that could look foetal or final and we pray  and we swirl and ride the waves  strong and supple swirls we collide into other swirls that become  valleys of butterflies  set free from the cage and we pray that grandmother time  shows us mercy  has proven she does not wait for no man and birthday candles are lit and then blown out by solo hands and black leather shoes weep at the weight of not being  able to carry us to funerals  and dry up from not being worn and we pray deep down in the belly of the beast can you hear in the distance  a large steam boat  and as it nears  arms reaching out to a sorry world  each of us in two places  at the same time  ready to collapse  into star things and start over  deep down in the belly of the beast 
2.
Firefly Jars 14:35
Introduction and the sky is  an up in smoke colour  a fire engine river red eye colour and we gather fire flies on top of mountain  to pray  Piece 1 I woke up wanting  your chest a railing  for the soft landing  of my chest  our fingers  interlaced  as if  this was their safe place  If your body was  half a continent  I would want to  wander it  not as a guest but a voyager returning  to her homeland  your lips are pilgrims unholy yet shelter still  not for the use of  prayer  see to me they are shaped like my church  there are many gods  we can worship  not every arch or doorway is meant  for everyone to enter through I want  to feel the precipice  that point  where your bones climb into the gloves of skin  where your heart beat where your heart beat where your heart beats so mine can begin what is this jive  this jam this traffic  of endorphins  these pheromones  and how long does it take for them to wane? I want  to feel the precipice  that point  where your bones climb into the gloves of skin  where your heart beats so mine can begin what is this jive  this jam this traffic  of endorphins  these pheromones  and how long does it take for them to wane? do all the stories of lovers  have to end with a drive into the sunset? or can some finish with a moon  embracing shadows a pair of silhouettes  that know the dangers of flying too close to the sun  Piece 2 your palms are  holding  the whole of me up I said your palms are  holding  the whole of me  green  like rainforest fern leaf  umbrella of my sky the world is too hot  right now  you  you are the dew the cucumber  to my skin  the running water to my bath  the hands speaking honey  to the 206 bones that carry pain in my body your eyes are windows  without the imposition  of curtains  you teach me  you teach me you teach me how scripture  can be without bible your eyes they speak to me  of lifetimes of lives lived how we were the embryo  of a star  how we lit one another  how for millions and billions of years  and dove like pebbles into  one another’s ocean  how we never sunk  because we both offered up our bodies as rafts have you seen a moon disrobe  in front of her sun it forces all the colours of the rainbow to bow  you know my island  how to gather my wings and alchemise  the lightning bolts  striking my sky  into fireworks just for my viewing  so why then do you not know how to stop dropping bombs and tearing holes into my heart  your eyes  your eyes they speak to me  of lifetimes of lives lived how we were the embryo  of a star  how we lit one another  how for millions and billions of years  and dove like pebbles into  one another’s ocean  how we never sunk  your eyes they speak to me  of lifetimes of lives lived how we never sunk because we both offered up our bodies as rafts how we were not just shells on someone else’s sand  but housed a sizeable  portion of each other’s spirit  how this was the secret  to staying afloat anchored in the harbour of the other I can see your palms pressing  firmly on the dressing  as if this gesture were a kind of prayer  but I keep on bleeding  I remember now  the lovers manifesto is that  we are the greatest  veterans of  a cold cold war Piece 3 I studied you  in dolphin all the angles of you I dove deep into the grove of your nails I sipped the neck of your ocean I told you I told you  I told you you are what  love  comes  from the arch of  your story  stretches beyond lane of ocean beyond the hips that cradled  man and  let him  loose is before  parrots were made kings before stained seconds and dirty fences  I studied you  in dolphin all the angles of you I dove deep  into the grove of your nails I sipped  the neck  of your ocean you  you sat  with night  on hard roads you were life assembled from water a mesh of light in the eye of the universe's  storm a sleeping sun and you  are known by name and you are here  to chase the land back to the ocean and reverse the clown's curse Piece 4 can I lay across your sunset lap and be held by arms that aren’t  my own just this once  for even a red wood longs to be  a bonsai tree sometimes  your arms they speak to me of all that is good  like cinnamon  like cinnamon and my grandma’s front door I have  memorised each stain  on her pine wood like  I have   every pattern on her face  like how the  rivers and roads she’s ever crossed have found their way  to the heaven of her and I think I  love you  like I love her I think I love you  bend all the vertebrae  of my spine  touch me like the soft folds of the first fractals of light  like butter licking the  waistline of freshly baked bread  be the sea  be the sea  be the sea  whispering sweet nothings  of  it’s going to be okay it’s going to be okay it’s okay to be okay  bring hope to the world make sure this black body can fit in it  see that zebra vase on the  living room table  see how it is the only thing  I can own in a country  that won’t claim me  so please won’t you claim me claim me  claim me  Piece 5 do not talk to me of war when bombs are falling from the sky daffodils and dandelions  were gods  before the  primitive man got hold of the bible and turned saint mary  into a witch and crafted  hell as the merchant  that  doesn't  sleep do not talk to  me of war  when a  black man's disco tears on the freeway become his war song he cries diamonds from his mosaic wings alongside him the world's issues fall
3.
we have been Cupid’s arrows/ blue bottle  jellyfish like/ shooting balloon sacs towards the edge of  the water / we have had to learn how to breath below the sea a while / how to hum to the  song of the amoeba a while /to the  protectors  of our pulse  you have kept the  morsels of us mortals buoyant  while our skin coats  stretched out as sea weed rolled out  like carpets  of endless  sand/  an amusement  park or a museum  of memories and myths yawning on the bed  of the screaming ocean covered by shells of shelves  of  all the selves  we shelfed in/ when pain  outgrows it’s own  host  it’s many tentacles  are exposed choking  and squeezing  every one of our arteries  pressing  hard on a vessel and threatening  to burst  a capillary/ we are  raw and  red  and blue and we know  we cannot go back to what once  was  can only start over  often / healing  ourselves often / when  we can hold ourselves on one hand as small and gods on the other equal to all things  that are  also in all measures  god we can hills hoist  hang high and drip  dry  clean the trauma of  entire bloodlines/ punctured wounds that  need healing  often / healing  needs starting over often/ so we slip off  the skin  cloak octopus legs rubbery like tyres of rings oily  and pearly/ we must  undress to the sound  of her intelligence/ she knows how to be  a sacrifice  an honour often/ for the thing that makes  us dense will evaporate into the  moisture  of the air  eventually/ by the good will of the wind  we will travel/ when  our bodies are bound  to the tar of the earth  by the good will of the  wind we will travel/ we must douse the selves that  can  no longer be of service  in petrol on the rocks  and hold  a bonfire  and seperate the chaos  that is not  scared/ we must  burn  and let ourselves quiver / to quiver is feel is to fall apart  is to speak the language  of presence/ a dialect  that the  tongues of the  flowers talk and we must each of us arrive  slithering away from our  polished  excuses  we must arrive  on our  islands another  shedding  a rebirth  on the sleepy cove of transformation and soothe ourselves  in the balm of a gentleness that the moon in her tides  in all her shadows and figures  has  taught us all along  how to  awaken  we must lay out our booby traps the loops and the mazes the freeway sized sentences  with no brake pads stuck in a frenzy frantic peak traffic  anxiety  on replay/ and there’s the long service  soldiers  fighting  for us  senselessly / there is no war but with our own selves  also on repeat endlessly/ but  we  each of us  forever  on the edge of change  we must  give our soldiers  the order to hang up their boots and fall into the bosom of the universe and surrender often/ we  all of us must find our song in the sound of the fan and it’s  metal  propellers pushed soft  by electric  waves the  lullaby of the dolphins  and the  hymn of the  seals ring through  the turtles in the water tank if you listen  the song  will be our  victory/ we are  creases of gods who’ve recognised themselves  enough to  return home to our selves  we are occults  are our amens to our own ceremonies  on repeat often/
4.
Piece 1 
today  today blue grey  elephants float  through  the canopy that is sky or perhaps  they are  puffs of smoke  that hold  the secret  life of things there is an art to holding  light and fluff-ily please origami  fold your joy into a crane  made  of paper-wings if love really  is the essence remaining after we’ve  de-masked  and turned our bodies  inside out so we carried  our flesh  the other way so too is love  then a verb  to hold  light and fluff-ily today a cloud looked like  someone’s buttocks and legs  and I laughed that snorting kind of laughter  and despite it all  I felt that  that line  that line that connects tippy toe to belly button belly button  to crown that makes the  whole body feel good  line and this tasted like part of the revolution sweet sticky silly syrup Piece 2 the isle of lovers the isle of lovers can be located in the lakes carved out of the ridges  of two backs  first colliding second collapsing and third climbing into one another this valley this valley is a kind  of paradise  Piece 3 there are women folk who are favoured  now what I mean is there are women folk who can make the sun blush/ whose spirits can rise to the surface of skin/ can glow maple  and honey cinnamon  and guava / there are women folk who must have been created on one of God’s  really really good days/ when God must have been in her laboratory  at a cove on the coast of paradise surrounded  by waterfalls and hot springs  a parade of birds  and spice infused tea leaves platters of papayas held inside the  ring of a rainbow/ what I mean is  there are women folk who are chapels who can take the breath out of a room  by the clusters of stars  gathering to pray in the alter of their retinas/ you see these women folk are only for the purpose of worship  for only they hold  the kind of reverence  that make even the wind  stop it’s course  to courtesy at the nape of their necks/ not because they  are definitions of Gods but because they are decent/ what I mean is  there are women folk who can drape the sky  like a scarf around the curves of their  bodies/ whose cheekbones are the shapes of clouds blossoming light and warm like the last rays of sun before nightfall or perhaps more like the peaks of  mountains made clear after the rain on these woman  folks faces  you cannot wage war  in fact they are quiet hurricanes that settle the battle  within they can calm demons and put the devil to bed  these women folk are  mostly made out  of magic dust 

about

Closed Beginnings is the debut collaborative release of Tariro Mavondo, Reuben Lewis and Peter Knight; three prolific artists at the forefront of Australian contemporary art music, bound together by a deep-rooted connectedness in response to the zeitgeist.

Painstakingly developed over a three-year period, Closed Beginnings is an immersive and evocative work in four movements that lands like a gut punch. An inspired sonic journey that utilises the power of the spoken word to take the listener deep into themes of revolution, isolation, unshackling from stagnant modes and paying heed to the exigencies of the moment.

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Narrm/Melbourne, Tariro channels the outdatedness of dogma during a time when the schisms of society are becoming clearer and more prevalent. Her words are silhouetted and sympathetically resonated further by the evocative sound-worlds created by Reuben, Peter and string trio. The result invites the listener to share in a slow blossoming of ideas and connectedness across three deeply rooted musical relationships, tapping into the subconscious, propelled by the uniqueness of the human voice.

“My interest is to find the uniqueness of expression," says Tariro, "to find the nuance, whilst bringing in the underbelly of deep emotions and shining a spotlight into our deepest psyches.”

This is exemplified in the feature track of the album, ‘We Too, Roar’, which arose in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and severe lockdowns experienced in Melbourne through 2020. "Tariro reflects viscerally upon those moments," says Reuben, "giving voice to the counterintuitive sensation of experiencing isolation and fear, whilst at the same time feeling cradled and supported within our own homes. It's a poetic articulation of the juxtaposing abyss and claustrophobia offered by the unknown.”

“Closed Beginnings will take the listener deep into the belly of the beast.” Says AAO Artistic Director, Peter Knight. “It is our intention that the sound worlds we create will hold a safe space for the audience to be drawn close to the material that Tariro is articulating and offering within her poetry.”

credits

released June 25, 2021

Poetry by Tariro Mavondo
Music by Reuben Lewis and Peter Knight
String arrangements composed by Reuben Lewis

Featuring
Tariro Mavondo – spoken word
Reuben Lewis – trumpet/pedals/percussion/synthesisers/electronics
Peter Knight – trumpet/electronics/revox B77 tape machine

Also Featured on ‘We Too, Roar’ & 'Sweet Sticky Revolution'
Lizzy Welsh – violin
Erkki Veltheim – viola
Zoë Barry - cello

Recorded over 2019-2020 at Rolling Stock Recording Rooms, In Rezza & WeFO Studios by Jem Savage & Reuben Lewis
Mixed by Jem Savage & Reuben Lewis
Produced by Reuben Lewis
Mastered by Helmut Erler

Cover image by Pier Carthew
Design by WBYK www.wbyk.com.au

www.aao.com.au
www.reubenlewis.com
www.peterknightmusic.com

Executive Producer: Rosemary Willink

Thank you: Jem Savage, Jerry Remkes, Rosemary Willink, Helen Svoboda, Lizzy Welsh, Erkki Veltheim, Zoë Barry, Leo Dale & WeFO Studios, MPavilion, Francis E. Parker & MUMA.

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Australian Art Orchestra Australia

With an emphasis on improvisation, the AAO explores the meeting points between disciplines and cultures, and imagines new musical forms to reflect the energy and diversity of 21st century Australia. Led by trumpeter/composer Peter Knight, the AAO explores the interstices between the avant-garde and the traditional, between art and popular music, and between electronic and acoustic approaches. ... more

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