The travels of Gypsy Dawn

I have been experimenting with sound since I could glossaliate and percute. Like all children. Unlike many however, I was raised by a meloman-percussionist with an easy ear for language. Like him, traveling through many languages and countries, I was somehow equally infected with the lie of language and the materiality of speech. Perhaps this points to the beginning of my first attempts at poetry and what has since been called spoken word.  I was 12.

Although highly unproductive in terms of public exposure, I have accumulated years of work –and destroyed, lost or disgarded even more that was written for private use.

I thought it might make sense to at least share my latest and last endeavor here: a tribute song cycle to Gypsy Marpessa Dawn Menor, a woman of African American/ Philippino descent, who was later naturalised French.

The actress and dancer, born in Pittsburgh left the United States for a better life in New York and then in London as a very young woman of 17. Gypsy Dawn was a nanny and a governess while working at becoming a dancer-singer. In Paris, she met her first husband film director Marcel Camus, the man who would cast her as Euyridice in Orfeu Negro. The franco-brasilian production won the Cannes Palme d’Or award in 1959. And the mariage was short lived. Gypsy Dawn would go on to play other roles on screen and on stage, she would marry again and have a modest family life.

She died in 2008, of a cardiac arrest, just 40 days after her screen love Orfeo, Breno Mello, who also succumbed to an heart atttack.

My interest in her story, is an interest in Eurydice, in this protean versatility.

The loop cycles of poem and sound will be available at SoundCloud at some point. My battle with my other adult activities is ongoing. And reaching completion is compromised quotidianly.

Voice/Cello, Tamara Liot Backer Walcott

Bass, Milan Gombert

Apple macintosh

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