FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2015
THE POWER OF SONG: ELEANOR DUBINSKY AND HAJAR DEBUT THEIR NEW SONG ON JAN 29TH IN NYC!
Stacy Parker Le Melle
Afghan Women’s Writing Project
New York, NY – On January 29th singer-songwriter Eleanor Dubinsky will debut her songwriting collaboration with poet Hajar of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project at a 7pm concert at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. Hajar will be in attendance. Tickets are $12.00 and can be purchased here.
Dubinsky, who is also a cellist, guitarist, and dancer, was inspired to work with an Afghan Women’s Writing Project writer after participating in the Passerine Project musical benefit in December.
“I was asked by (sponsor) BMI to read a poem at AWWP’s benefit at which students performed songs they had written based on poems by AWWP writers. It was an amazing, moving experience that really struck a chord because I have been focused on doing creative work directly related with critical social and global issues.”
Soon Dubinsky began working with Hajar, an AWWP poet who is in her first year of college in the United States. “Eleanor and I have had a very inspiring cooperation with each other,” says Hajar, who has had several poems published on the AWWP website. “We both have traveled hundreds of miles to meet and work on our project.”
They chose to write about domestic violence, a terrible problem faced by women all over the world, and one that is acute in Afghanistan. “The song is about a woman who experienced domestic violence despite believing her marriage was based on liberal values,” says Hajar. “The lyrics have a mixture of anger, emotion, and hopelessness, and love.”
Both writers have learned from their collaboration. “Eleanor and I are two different women, with different age, from different continent,” says Hajar. “But we both are sick of men controlling our emotions and body. We both want independence.”
Dubinsky found she gained a lot from the work itself: “I am following the winding road of a creative process. We are adjusting the lyrics and melody together, so it’s really a joint process.”
Dubinsky also reflected on what’s special about their collaboration: “We are two women who are creative and strong, from quite different backgrounds,” she said. “I am Jewish, Hajar is Muslim, We talk some about that. There are some restrictions about privacy, including being careful about using her full name. And I feel we are working not only for us, but also with the frame of AWWP, and I hope that what we do helps AWWP to get the word out.”
Be among the first to hear their song on January 29th at 7pm Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3, 185 Orchard Street, New York City. 21 and Over. $12 cover. To learn more about the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, click here.
About Eleanor Dubinsky
Eleanor is a New York City based singer-songwriter, cellist, guitarist, and dancer. She writes original songs in English, French and Spanish with rhythmic influences from Brazil, Latin America and West Africa. She graduated from Brown University in 1998 with a degree focusing on art and social change. Eleanor performs regularly in New York City, nationally and internationally and has released two CDs to date, Touch The Sky and Listen To The Music. www.eleanordubinsky.com
Hajar started writing for Afghan Women Writing Project from April 2015. In Afghanistan, she worked for GoodWeave, a non-profit organization working to end child labor, where she is still serving as a member of Standard Committee. Hajar has also worked as Project Manager with the Afghan Women‘s Education Center on a project that focused on enabling men and women to achieve more resilient livelihoods in a peaceful environment. In addition, Hajar worked as Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for the Cooperation Center for Afghanistan and as Admin/Finance Officer in Herat and Kabul with GIZ.
About the Afghan Women’s Writing Project
Founded in 2009 by American journalist Masha Hamilton, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project strives to give women the basic human right to tell their own stories – a right that has too often been denied. Through online writing workshops led by international writers, educators, and journalists, AWWP empowers women in seven of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Poems and essays are published in an online magazine that carries the writers’ voices to a global audience. www.awwproject.org.
Copyright © 2016 Afghan Women’s Writing Project, All rights reserved.
I think art making has to do with accepting that life is not how you want it to be, or fair, or a fairy tale. With accepting reality, accepting things as they are, rather than continuously being furious that they are not as you wish they were, you start to see and to value your story of how you wish they were as material, and free up a tremendous amount of energy for self expression.
Art doesn’t have to be true, but it has to be true to you, come from an authentic place. It’s not about facts, but it is about authenticity,
Continuously trying to change what is into what you wish it would be is like burning fuel into the atmosphere without powering anything– wasted gasoline that is polluting the world, when instead it could be fueling your life and creative practice. Telling the story of what you wish would be is powerful. Owning that wish, expressing, elaborating, detailing, decorating, hyperbolizing that story, telling it authentically and the best you can, being proud and courageous enough to say “I’m human and I imagine this,” that can be powerful.
It’s very liberating to let go. It makes me move and dance around. It feels free/ing. It doesn’t change the facts, it just releases the angst of trying to control what I can’t control and gives me a different relationship to it so I can express it freely, and joyfully. I can make a poem about how I wish things were, write a song, do a dance, make a painting. Tell my story, be in relationship to it, imagine it to the nth degree. Without expecting anyone to do anything about my story, I can do whatever I want, and I’m much happier and freer. I have creative license, it’s wholly mine, and it’s actually fun rather than torture. Controlling arguments are losing battles full of misery, at least in my life they are.
So How do I, how do we get to a place of being able to let go? It’s is a good question, and I don’t have any definitive answer. I feel like every so often I am visited by insight, and I can let go of my attachment and of controlling, and I can write a blog entry like this, dance around, maybe write a song.
I wish I could let go more often. Differentiating between what is real and what is fantasy land is so confusing sometimes!
Meditation helps, and being around people who have worked through this, who resonate as wise and experienced also helps. It rubs off, is contagious.
Recognizing when the control bugs are loose is also a useful skill to cultivate. One sign that things are spinning off into fantasy land and I’m holding on too tight is when I am continuously disappointed by something and still keep going after it, again and again. A repetition compulsion. That could mean that I’m trying to change reality into something it’s not but refuse to accept it as is, and that and I have to look deeper and let go.
Letting go makes it easier to have awareness. Awareness of the difference between my story and what’s really going on, between my story and someone else’s story, which, go figure, he or she believes is just as valid and real as I believe mine to be. It makes it easier to be in relationships, and it just might make space for new and surprising realities to emerge that wouldn’t have the space to do so if I was controlling everything all the time.
Letting go, and making art, is humbling. It’s getting out of your own way (I know, a cliche) so you can see yourself and your story more clearly, and gift it to the world, so that we all can be inspired by what it is to be human and working it out in this world. Just telling your story because you can see it clearly enough, without judgment, to tell it, now that’s something.
FRIDAY, MARCH 29: 6 – 8 PM
With Jason DiMatteo (bass), Vita Tanga (guitar) and Scott Morehouse (drums)
2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Free with museum admission
Advance tickets highly recommended
Photo by Alison Bert
This creation is a riff on a long conversation I had with my boyfriend that involved me getting down on myself, and him reminding me that I’ve got a lot to offer. I also went to a benefit event for my high school last night and today am reminded of how fear of judgment and wanting approval can really stop me in my tracks. Gotta check myself before I wreck myself:
I may or may not like it
I may or may not care
I may or may not respond to you
No matter how much integrity you air
I may or may not want you
I may or may not look
But what does that have to do with you sitting down to write your book?
It’s up to you my friend
To be true to yourself
Feel it out, my friend, be true to yourself
Put it out there, say your piece
For no one, oh no one, has you on a leash
I may or may not reach out
When an opportunity occurs
I may or may not think you’re best
Could be my judgment blurs
I may or may not be on your page
Or care about what makes you rage
But what does that have to do with anything, Dingaling?
It’s up to you my friend
To be true to your self
Feel it out, my friend, be true to yourself
Put it out there, say your piece
For no one, oh no one, has you on a leash
Send the email make the call
Wear your heels or nothing at all
Relax out max out get that fax out
Open your heart and see
Your road to freedom is you, not me
Dare to do what you can do
As Seth Godin says, “the world needs you”
Because life is in the living
And gifts gain life through giving*
So jump in the pool
Might be kind of old school
But guess what?
It’s time for swimming.
My boyfriend (and bass player extraordinaire) Pete has been encouraging me to write a blog for a while. He is inspired, in part, by Seth Godin, who is a guru of our times, and who we both heard speak recently. Seth has a blog, and revolutionary ideas about how to make it in this new world where no job is secure and it’s creativity and the will and guts to stick it out that get you somewhere.
I’ve been mulling the blog idea over – sharing insights with my public in case they are helpful for someone. Then I was in dance class today and had a particular light bulb moment, and it felt very blog-worthy. So here goes, and thus here goes the beginning of my blog beyond pictures.
Have you read this quote by Marianne Williamson?:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
It’s bad ass.
I was in dance class today, and my teacher, after we had gone through the phrase we were learning a few times, said “see something!.” By this I believe she meant to tell us to look up, come alive, let “it” shine, whatever it is inside of us as we interpreted this piece of choreography. I have heard “look up, see something” before from David Dorfman, and many other brilliant jewels of wisdom from choreographers I’ve studied with (Ann Carlson, Susan Rethorst, Tere O’Connor, Neil Greenberg and more). So I watched the students in my class dance. And I tell you almost no one was looking up, and really seeing something. We were inside, internal, remembering the steps or just habitually closed off to revealing our real vulnerability, which is OWNING THE MOVEMENT, IN PUBLIC, and acknowledging that other people are there, watching. That there is an audience, and dancing for this audience and saying “I know you’re here and I will communicate directly with you.”
My observation that no one was looking out, or up, or seeing something (and pardon me if you were there and were looking up and seeing something), made me think about owning my own capabilities, and of how much I hide or couch what I really can do. To fit in, to not stand out, or make waves, or face criticism. I do want to fit in, and to belong. But what if belonging comes with the price of short-selling myself and what I can really accomplish? Or keeps me from carrying out my ideas to the nth degree? And therefore being unhappy, or living a less than fulfilled life in which I didn’t realize my potential? To realize my potential I have to stick out. Dare to be better, to look up, to see something. I’m scared to do it, but it helps to realize that one part of what comes with it is sticking out, showing myself when others may not. That I can set an example of how much bigger and better it can be. CLAIMING GREATNESS with all of its pitfalls and the vulnerabilities that come with it of being criticized, or falling on my face as I reach higher than I have before.
DARE TO BE EXTRAORDINARY. That was my big insight in my dance class today, and what I want to tell you, and why I am writing this now. Dare to show yourself. It would be so cool if everyone dared. And of course we can cultivate environments in which this Daring Greatly is more likely to occur (see Brene Brown and also her blog, Ordinary Courage). But bottom line, it’s each and every person’s unique responsibility to show how awesome we are, and therefore to help other people show how awesome they are. So that in the end, perhaps we all belong, but belong to a company of greatness, rather than mediocrity (thanks again, Seth Godin) and we live the lives we are capable of living.
One more quote:
“Experience has taught me that you cannot value dreams according to the odds of their coming true. Their real value is in stirring within us the will to aspire. That will, wherever it finally leads, does at least move you forward. And after a time you may recognize that the proper measure of success is not how much you’ve closed the distance to some far-off goal but the quality of what you’ve done today.” – Sonia Sotomayor (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) in her memoir My Beloved World.
Until soon, XOXO
Mellow in Puerto Morelos…this is a fishing village, but also a protected national marine park, and home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. I have yet to go diving here, but hopefully I will by the end of the trip.
The port mid-day:
The path to the main road in the jungle where I am staying:
Sasha, Roki and I ate more whole fried fish. I’m not sure what this kind is called but it was big, and delicioso. Came with beans, rice, tortillas, hot sauce and tortillas. And cerveza.
Sasha took a picture of me at dusk. The sun was shining gently in my eyes:
Roki at sunset, pre-fish:
Musicians playing for tips from tourists. Incredible skill and beautiful music. Sasha requested the classic song La Iguana.
As I post this, I’ve actually already landed in Tulum, so more photos coming soon…
Wow! I’m in Mexico! After a harrowing and traffic-filled taxi ride to JFK and a quick three hour flight, I landed in Cancun to begin my two week’s adventure in the incredible Riviera Maya. My friend (and drummer/percussionist) Roki picked me up from the Cancun airport. Unfortunately the tequila bar at the exit was already closed, but we headed straight for local tamales, made by this senor, sold fresh outside the 7 Eleven, with hot sauce on the side:
I am staying for the first few days with Roki and his girlfriend Sasha in the jungle that is next to the fishing village of Puerto Morelos, a mere 15 minutes from the Cancun airport, and a world away from the big all-inclusive resorts. I woke up this morning to this view:
Puerto Morelos has an active port and offers incredible snorkeling, a family-oriented atmosphere and lots of peace and quiet. Here’s a view of the beach at mid-day:
A view of the center of town:
Long story short, friends lead to meals, and I had lunch in La Palayita, a “100% family restaurant” with whole fish, ceviches, guacamole, beer, etc. I ate with new friends: a Swiss musician and his son who I met on the plane, a family that just arrived here from Baja, California including a musician-painter parents and their three small children, and another couple who live in PM who are Czech and Mexican. So I got to use my Czech and Spanish today!
Kids and fish, what could be better?
Pescado frito (fried whole fish) en La Playita:
No pets in the restaurant by the way, no matter how big their eyes are:
After, I took a walk on the beach. There are few tourists still, maybe they’ll arrive next week. For now it’s mostly locals and a handful of foreigners, with open stretches of sand to cover, poco a poco.
The sun begins to set…