MUSIC AND LYRICS
How to describe music in words?
THE WAY THAT HELPS US TO BE IN TUNE AND TRULY HEAR EACH OTHER
On The Road
Music appears when something can not be formulated otherwise. The freedom to be yourself is to allow the emerging music to sound.
The song was written during the pilgrimage of We Here team on the island of Gotland.
The song almost literally conveys the route along the seashore, mixing the roar of the sea with military shooting in the background.
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The word about free home
This song was produced the way the music was written traditionally – reproducing the current moment and view of the community, in this case the community of the Art-Lab «We here: companions in the wilds». It is a folklore text blended with modern music techniques, recorded by a community of social activists during the Art-Lab in a remote village in the North of Russia.
A folklore text is inseparable from the connection with a specific tradition and region. As a tradition in this case, the authors were portraying a common-thinking community of people, and thereby giving voice to the desired freedom of being oneself. The place that united this community is the village of Verkhniy Bereznik, where the art-laboratory took place. In the space of this village a city dweller feels the connection with one's native land and its traditional culture - which is absent in the ordinary life.
Meeting with people of the place helped to deepen this connection. Being in the village and taking part in its life in parallel with a creative process led to a personal transformation and deep reflection of many participants. It occured not only for each individual participant, but for the collective as a whole, leading to the realization of collective responsibility for each other and the world we have inherited, the common land, common culture.
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Voice Of The River
This piece is a collaboration project that originated within the "We Here" Art-Laboratory in Verhnij Bereznik (Russia, Arkhangelsk district) in March 2019. A group of artists, performers and musicians united around a river theme and set up what was unofficially called a "Water laboratory". We started experimenting with sounds of water in all its variety and also presented a performance at one of the gatherings. The audio recordings made during that short period formed the basis of this piece. The work continued afterwards in Moscow and Helsinki. We exchanged files and ideas, sending them back and forth.This is the first realization of the river-themed project. We are hoping to continue this work and expand it in various directions, for example, eco-activism.
This piece is an audio poem, a sound art/spoken word project. In some way it is an invocation, a ritual of the River awakening. It starts with sounds of early spring, the thaw. It's getting warmer, the snow is melting. But the River is still locked under ice as we saw it in the remote village Verhnij Bereznik. A human voice and mouth sounds is used here to communicate with Water and praise it for what it is - a natural medium, a mighty force that connects worlds. The communication with Water is intimate and fragile yet powerful.The River is waking up from sleep, crashing the ice. It's coming to life and starts breathing openly. It flows and brings life. It's a silent celebration, a muted hymn.
This project started with deep water sensations of rivers and lakes scattered in different places. In the beginning of our work we imagined the Ustya river, that had brought people to Bereznik village many years ago and formed their community, economy and householding. Inspired by qualities of liquid power that is capable of bringing together communities and groups of people separated by distance, we address our project to people all over the world. We hope that the sound of water as well as the sound of our voices and bodies will awaken the feeling of nature inside their bodies and minds.
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Ladoga lake
"It seems to me that this song has already existed, and my task was only to find it. The motive of this song appeared on the shore of Lake Ladoga, along with an homonym (in Russian "on the shore" and "to keep safe"sound alike). The life on the coast was easy, the place shared berries and mushrooms, awakening the feeling of gratitude. During the hours of inspiration I wanted to meet the lake as a living creature. To imagine that Ladoga is living in its own rhythm, she has her own breath and pulse, history and the future. Now we came – for what? Try not to hurt. Try to hear what she's talking about. Try to save all this beauty for future generations".

Yulia Komarova, author and singer
This song is about caring for the place – a reminder that we are responsible for preserving the planet. Its future depends on us. Separation with the general organism of the planet creates a veil that prevents us from seeing the degree of destructiveness of the fruits of civilization for the environment. This song is about unity with the roots and "remembering" who we are on this planet, an attempt to reunite with the Earth - Gaia. Living together with the place, feeling on its side. Dreams of a world where human is inseparable from nature, is a part of it despite the progress and development.
In the spring of 2019, at the "We Here" Art Laboratory in the northern village, the song took shape thanks to Vlad Sakovich (who worked on musical and semantic content) and Ivan Chinneniy (sound engineering). Later, Nikita Trubitsin's saxophone was added.
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And how to breath
Two parts of the text of this song were written by two different people and at different times, but on the same island and about the same military shooting range. During the pilgrimage around f the island of Gotland (piligrimage was organized by Juanma Gonzales: juanmagonzalez.com/apostlahastarpagotland) Igor Polskiy wrote his Russian-English part of the song. Oksana Ahlstrom, author of other text parts, lives on Gotland in Suderbyn ecovillage across the road from the military base, where military exercises have been held in recent years. This part of the text and the main beat appeared during "We Here" Art-laboratory. In the process of improvisation, after discussing life in Suderbyn with a constant soundtrack of military trainings, words started to come to Oksana as she experienced how military political structures affect indigenous peoples, generations, nature and unity of mankind, expressing the pain inside.
The Art laboratory participants experimented with different music styles (from folk singing to hip-hop) and sought for a format in which everyone could express themselves and take part in the creation of tracks. Some moments in the music tracks remind real sounds of the shooting range in the vicinity of Oksana's home on Gotland.

Sound and environmental pollution, the restriction of civil construction permits within a radius of 20 km around the base have brought a lot of trouble since the last "awakening of the base" in 2014-2015. Residents of the eco-village were not able to build new residential buildings, a training center, a cafe and a hostel, thus the future development of their community was limited.
The military occupied some western part of the island and blocked access to a large part of the forest, coast and sea. Propaganda of the need for defense against an imaginary enemy looks particularly contrasting with the international community of Suderbyn, living on the principles of non-violent communication, joint decision-making and working against xenophobia and racism. Oksana Alstrom was born in Russia, in 2017-2019 she moved to Suderbyn ecovillage and married a local Swede Martin Alstrom. They planned to build their own small house on the territory of the village, but this did not happen. All this makes the song more than personal, still connected with the global processes of militarization. For Oksana, this was the first experience in writing poems, and after that - the first experience in recording a voice in a studio. Kirill Astakhov and Igor Polsky helped to polish the text, Julia Komarova, Ivan Chinnenyi, Sergey Dedulya and other musicians made8 the arrangement.
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Two stories
A grotesque song about brainwashing, civil protests, freedom, accepting the other and the world in all their complexity and inconsistency. A listener observers toxic patterns of our mainstream culture through the experience of imaginary interstellar travels visiting an alternative planet, where the patterns are openly seen. The song itself is courageous and free, as an example of free creative expression. This is not a serious, but also not a meaningless song. It is a carnival when roles, masks and hierarchies can be dropped to celebrate the uniqueness of anyone in his/her true essence.
The song was written during one hour at a surge of inspiration, freedom and fun, so it turned out. This song represents two stories that happened to the heroes of the song on the same day and are almost as strange as the reality that surrounds us.
In this reality, each of us can be ourselves and accept others as they are. If you dare to accept this complexity and gain enough peace within to accept yourself and others.
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Work with texts
We consider art in a broad sense as a special way of exploring, reflecting, living reality. Addressing a person, first of all, through the organs of sensory perception, art is able to cause an immediate lively response of the body and soul, bypassing the protective mechanisms and familiar patterns of perception of the world. It provides an opportunity to at least temporarily get out of the ordinary state and penetrate beyond the boundaries of familiar reality and, thus, helps to live and give rise to another alternative vision, new connections, meanings, values, relationships.
We Here is a cultural movement on the freedom of being oneself, supporting each other's uniqueness and building the shared responsibility for the world we live in.