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Interview with an artist: Galen Hefferman on Creativity during COVID

I was blessed to spend some time with musicians Galen Hefferman and Jahnavi Veronica last year at the Women of the Woods conference in Washington state. It was after the big bonfire had burned down, after the big music, and the big crowd had dwindled to an intimate circle, that the real music (in my opinion) began.

I remember feeling startled into stillness by the gentle yet piercingly immediate true tones that these two wove together. Ancient, primal-sounding rhythms and melodies . . . something that felt so familiar that I could not quite put words to (but am doomed to keep trying, because it touched me so much).

A few months later I joined Galen and Jahnavi in a friend's home in Portland, Oregon for a "vocal weaving" improvisational singing gathering (which if you know me personally at all, you will know is right up my alley). Everyone in the group was an equal player regardless of musical "talent" or experience. We each had the one thing that we were all there for: our individuality and authenticity combined with our availability to join as one, expressed through our voices. I felt like a whale who had been separated from her family at birth, finally finding her pod.

Galen has generously shared his EP "We Are All Stars" with the Gnome Home Page project (my and Ani McManus's new fun-raising/fundraising project that benefits the homeless at I'm so excited that Jahnavi will be sharing her music with us soon as well. Listen below.

In Galen’s web site bio, “The current incarnation of my music seeks to weave nature into performance, with altars made of plants around the forests and gardens nearby. I seek to bring attention to the things we may sometimes overlook, and to bring remembrance of the musical and life-tending creatures that we are. To remember that humans have always sung to the children arriving, the elders leaving, to new houses formed from mud and stone and trees, to apples gathered into baskets, and to the sun at the winter solstice when all seems dark.”

Last Friday as the afternoon sun sank down and touched the horizon, we discussed over zoom what it’s like to make art in Covid times. So much of what is alive for both of us in music has to do with being with our audience in a direct and intimate way, and having to keep physically separate, and keep the art (and our hearts) alive, has been excruciatingly hard. And Galen shares his perspectives on the blessings we can glean when we're willing to look for them. Here is a video of our conversation.

Themes we discussed: letting go of trying to do what worked before — getting a much needed break, finding ways to do our art in different ways, developing patience, stepping off the hamster wheel, tempering frustration & impatience . . . developing increased capacity to be with what’s happening, the hidden gifts in these times.

Galen's web site:

The purpose of this project is to cultivate and celebrate creativity in our community while raising money for the homeless and hungry. If you like this please download, enjoy, and share share share!

Many thanks to Galen and to all those who are helping to raise fun and funds at the same time. We continue to look for exceptionally uplifting and magical music, art and other creative expressions for our Treasure Chest Gift Shop. If you, or someone you know, has a gift that you think would make a good addition to our gift shop, and you would like to put your gifts in service to helping those who are most vulnerable, message us here:

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