Night Gathering: A Ritual in Four Acts CD *limited copies available*
Koto, Violin, and Voice performed & recorded by Marielle Allschwang
Mastered by Luxi
Photograph by Margaret Muza
Print by Marielle Allschwang
All proceeds for Night Gathering will be donated to the Sojourner Family Peace Center.
I approached the head of a long table, and a host of beings were waiting for me. “Where would the food come from?” I asked. They pounded their forks and knives in unison and chanted, from darkness, from night.
We often hear, “These are dark times.” And they are. But darkness also represents a sacred night, when we see by many other eyes, invoke long-forgotten names, assemble without permission, hold vigil, and reconcile with ghosts under a shroud the color of soil. Night Gathering is an evocation of, a nourishing and uncompromising darkness.
In the wake of Doctor Christine Blasey Ford’s heroic testimony we saw, again, an affirmation of lies, contempt for women and sexual assault survivors, and patriarchy’s death wish. I re-read accounts of medieval witch hunts—entire towns of women and girls tortured, pitted against one another, and gone. The term "witch hunt" has since been reappropriated in a grotesque inversion. So I put a mirror against that inversion and this is what I was able to scry: a witch that hunts back.
I decided to create a ceremony that could transform my disgust, to place words carefully in a world where words and names are constantly dissembling as though they've caught some disease. Propaganda.
These songs were written in urgency. Music was composed over the course of a few takes in a crowded and cluttered room in my house.. Songs jostled me awake and pulled me along, through brambles of inchoate ideas, and into a clearing.
I love the darkness for its companionship alongside the inscrutable, and that which we have been told we should be ashamed of. Words and names have guiding power at night, when we cast our spells, because magic recognizes truth.
These four songs are acts of a ritual, and each bear a proclamation.
-Marielle Allschwang, October 2018