The Dwindlers are Benjamin Dauer and my collaboration blending his music and my voice. Here's a little background information on how we make what we make...
Each piece comes to us differently. Sometimes the words are first, and other times it's the music. Tracks 1-5 on "Dreams" are a combination of older poems of mine and writing inspired by dreams I had during our first Fall in North Carolina. For these tracks, I read the words to Benjamin, and he wrote music to enhance them.
We consider the last two songs on "Dreams" our bonus tracks. They have special associations, and will someday be part of bigger collections. To me, both feel like witchy poems, weirdly supernatural things I wrote without too much of a road map. By this I mean, I felt that even though I did my research, following my rabbits down into their burrows, I was less in control. Words came inexplicably. These poems do not feel totally finished. They feel a bit blurry, like waking up from dreams. And they feel hypnotic, like I want to retell them or cast them as spells.
"Ms. Dog and Ms. Pipistrelle" is inspired by Anne Sexton and bats, two of my favorite creatures. It is already a long piece, but there is more to the text which I have written onto paper and tucked away. Someday, I hope to lengthen this poem even further. Some things that you write just need to grow bigger. I'm not sure what "Ms. Dog and Ms. Pipstrelle" will turn into...I have drawings for it too, so perhaps it will be in a book with an auditory element. Time will tell.
"Hummingbird" is also bigger. I see it as part of a future musical collection we are slowly making, dedicated to pollinators. Loving the pollinators of the world, worrying about their futures as they struggle with diseases has been a deep concern of Benjamin and mine for years. It is an ongoing labor of love to find ways to use our art to help support research for the cures of White Nose Syndrome and Colony Collapse Disorder. We have written for the bats, "Hibernacula" and "Winged Angel Child." Both songs are available for sale, and all proceeds go to the Save Lucy Campaign. We also have songs on deck for the honey bees. We continue our research to find group(s) as honorable as Save Lucy for these creatures. Like I said, it's an ongoing labor of love. We welcome suggestions. Thank you.
Our second album, "Allegories" is a complete narrative that includes a sonnet, another reference to Anne Sexton's work, and guest vocals by Esteli Caleca. Our good friend and fellow musician, Leonardo Rosado, released "Allegories" for us on his label Heart and Soul. For this collaboration, we are eternally grateful.
We wrote the words and music for this compilation somewhat simultaneously, as responses to the physical pain and loss of mobility associated with arthritis. Being inside pain and learning how to cope with it every day is obviously challenging, for both the person experiencing it and the loving caretaker. Benjamin and I have always looked to art and nature for comfort and inspiration. For "Allegories," we did the same. The creatures on the album--pelicans, monkeys, ostriches, spiders, peacocks, kitties, and dolphins-are noble totems. They symbolize many personal things, but rather than explain these in too much detail, I'll let the songs speak.
Currently, we are working on a third album. Most of the music came to Benjamin in a flourish over one particularly fruitful Thanksgiving holiday. I don't think either of us knew what would become of these beautiful sounds until we left the U.S. to live abroad. Sometime during our months in Europe, it came to us that each musical composition he had written felt like a city. So we are writing songs for Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Paris, and London. There is also a "city mouse/country mouse" kind of a theme within this one. There is a feeling of longing for cities we still want to see, as well as a desire to return to some of the natural, quiet places we love. We write as we go. Stay tuned.
And thank you for reading and listening.