Shelley Hirsch

Born and raised in East New York Brooklyn, Vocal Artist, Performer, Composer, Storyteller, Interdisciplinary Artist Shelley Hirsch has been pushing boundaries with her unique vocal art and performance work, drawing on her life experiences, her memory, her vivid imagination for decades.

The New York Times called her “A woman of a thousand voices… She offered an enthralling demonstration of the way songs, vocal styles and language might have evolved out of more primal musical impulses”.

vocal score

Book Bark Tree Skin Line

Book kkkkk
Sk in. In.  In
Tree tree
Bound feet
Skin taut
Skin taught
Teaches…..((((yes it does))))))))
Skin knows
Haut knows

(((Heart arteries veins pulsating.. look like trees))))
Boim in Schweitzer deutsche

He tore them down
He eeeee
Said they were weeds(what are weeds in German unkraut,in Hebrew in Arabic in Chinese)?
Morning glories are weeds.
I love the purple flowers.the petals are so fine
Fein fine line

Reeds reads
Twine spine

Fine so Fein.
She reads books in the bathtub

Letter in German.
Sounds violent to me
Stabbed blood lines
Letters letters
Bleed through in the bathtub when she reads
In the bathtub
No one brings books to read while in a lake or in the ocean
But in the bathtub
Oh my mama…(sung)
She loved to read

Books in the shelf.
Books in the dark room.
Books behind the headboard of their bed.
..dirty book turned out to be
A good book.
Not that good book
Not the biiig book

Not The bible the Torah,the Koran,the book of dead,
Maos red book
Kama sutra now there we get to the fine line
Well it’s not fine
It’s very different from pornography.

Well (whisper) small book.paperback book
Small enough to fit behind the
Sliding door of   in the Headboard
Of their bed…like I said
And then in the small drawer..
In the basement
That almost pornographic book
with a photo of a red haired woman and a little boy
Dirty book..whose hands are they held in?
Tell tales
Told tales.
Tall tales
Tall .(sliding high notes from bottom up).

In the soon to be demolished building
He found leather bound books
Beautiful to me
Huge volumes
Balzac ( Peau de chagrin from Balzac)
Edgar Allen Poe
Guy de Maupassant
I don’t think he ever read from
them from the
Yellowing pages (spread different microphones).
But he lined them up and drew them
On oak tag
No..oak tag doesn’t come from oak trees (all at once)
(Quote from tree book about the breeze)
Popular misconception..books don’t come from trees
Brancheeeeeeesssssx ..
Overlap…several voices
Li berries brancheeeeeessss little kids we always called them lie berries
I like that

I’m always losing books.
Even way back then
The library  book from the librrrrrrarrry in the projects
I remember walking under a  low roof that led to you get to it
I remember the cover the plastic cover over the magazine..I remember tangerine and turquoise I wish I could remember the name
The name of the magazine.
i lost  a book in Hebrew school (lost a book sung like oh my darling clementine ? Greedy..I wanted more and more boOoks She and I I read together in the dark room in bed..single bed on metal frame.i stuffed stockings  in my bra.
She knew but wouldn’t let on.
We read to each other..Peyton all gooey down there. You know where.
We read the Tibetan book of the dead 15. Or 16?

and all of the Herman Hesse books out of bed.
We read and read and read
13 year old boys in the village told me Krishnamurti wasn’t intelligent and that I should be reading Kierkegaard

Leafing through books
LooseLeaf leafing
The split between the branches where they separate
From the trunk…
spread legs
(Open spine page lines)it all started when I connected to that space where the branches branched off from the trunk.
I was lonely then
I identified my between the legs place with the tree.
Hear me now
Hear me now
Oh how liberating…liberating library libero libre free
Hear me now
Comes from

(Note..say more about this)

Bark..don’t forget bark don’t forget bark
Uh..I love the texture..of some bark.
Bark is the skin of the tree
Oo  I love looking at the pappeln trees..
I feel a song coming

Like camoflouge and so smooth

skin tissue is  fabric.textile texture text
Fabrik is  factory too
Wordless..mix of paper and leaves.

I felt the leaves fall.i saw the leaves fall
I heard the leaves fall.
I made a paper trail

No no no movement  now
None.. at all none at all
Nicht nicccccht niiiicht
Spread your branches down
Along the ground and cover me cover me cover me
.( sung very slowly)


In Chinese the noblest  people have  the best handwriting.
((((Note..more about the scribe.))))))
The person writing the poets words onto paper
has the opportunity to interpret the words.
On parchment…x
Early books
Made from
Animal skin
Cow skin
Sheep skin
Goat skin
Skin  skin
Parchment the main ingredient of books in the Middle Ages.
From Latin variant
Spelling of caudex ?

Paper paper papier
Pa Pa ris

Made from the plant
The pith of the plant.repeat many times
P p p p.chant
The page appears …as tiny holes… or defects.. chant
Rubbing against the trees ….causing holes in the  hide

And then it was embellished with red thread or whatever color and damn it looked so individualist ( go around asking audience if they knew that)I had no idea how it was caused

As we read Chaucer we could see those imperfections on the page, the hide
The skin.
Bad skin
crackles because of its uneven thickness but as we know,
imperfect skin
Is far more interesting
Say some
.wabisabi…more about this

In the? Century another material appears in Europe from Arabic culture.

((((ResearchNewly found)))))….Origin of scribe
Middle English,sense 2 of the noun:from Latin scriba from   ‘write’
The verb was first used in the sense’write down’; in sense 2 of the verb it is perhaps partly a shortening of ‘describe’.
Another.from Middle English.

scribe from old French scribe from late Latin usage of scriba (Secretary) which had been used for: to render from  the Hebrew (writer,scholar) from scribere ( to write draw, draw up,draft(a paper), enlist,enroll, levy Origin to scratch, probably akin to scrobs (a ditch,trench,grave)

Scrbble.from Middle English scriblin from Medieval Latin scribere to write
First known use: 15th century.
Scribe..diatribe tribe

lineage family Tree he cut em all down he
Didn’t want to know about our heritage
But I want
I want to see the family tree there must be a trace
A trace
There is a trace.
In an archive somewhere

I can press the sponge of me
Yet ..still not recollect as I never knew.. I would have held the memories
In this great treasure chest of mine.they
didn’t want to remember.
That there kin were not from here.
Cut rope
Twine climb.
…a ladder perhaps up to a boat…a.spiral staircase perhaps
Metal like a cage for my bird lines

Other lines more lines.
But back to strings.
Don’t want to be too Richard foremanesque but can’t seem to get strings out of my mind.
Stringing things
Across the stage
Pages blow on lines clothes lines ( the sound of a clothes line..paper blowing clothes line as midi sound source..phoneline.whats my line?

zI, underground wrapped up in roots
Under the trunk. I will sip the water and you will still grow..tree tree. I will slither up into the trunk of yOu..its personal now.

(((((Note..I just had an image of choir writing answers to questions which appear on the screen..kind of bubbly fish like..
(How do I incorporate my writing?)quite

Bark texture text.
Don’t text me.stop texting me.your screen is too small.
Your lines are too curt.
Text hurt
Cut lines

Break broken

Bark rough
And variegated

(Write memories live?) As I sit near the water and watch little sail boats sway I think of dad
And how when we took a ride in his motor boa
I remarked upon how the motor cut through the water which  looked just like an open book— white frothy pages Pages turning.He liked that.

I remember asking people what associations they have with person said.a Library and that the smell of old pages is what they most enjoyed. In the room the room
I guess I remember the smell of the hardcover books but it is the way they look what they emanate.

Dr Tufts library
Virginia Wolfes a street from that
I remember her roaming through the streets looking for the right pencil
A pencil a pen. a feather
And there were  mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce books and all the medical journals piled up on his desk waiting for him
I remember the letters tattooed on the grocers they were numbers..numbers

No one in moms family had numbers engraved on their arms.

mom had many books
Maidas little houseboat and Cherry Ames junior nurse

Maybe you were the kind of kid I was..always asking questions about everything.
Why is the sky blue?, why did the name Adam and Eve.?
I guess I could have found it an encyclopedia or at the library
But I wanted to be told
We were decades away from Google.

(Pull ring beat instrument along with the cadence the rhythm of my speech.).

Turn turn turn touch touch touch ppppppp aaaaaage pppppppppaaaaaaaggggggeee pppppppppaaaaaaagee. A age age age age age age age he age b urn urn turn turn touch touch touch touch touch he touched me
Burn turn page age
Paper age page turn aging

Cauldron heat burn hide stretch spread
Every little breeze seems to whisper Louise while I cry
I squeeze ..books with colored liquid inside
I retrieve language from under my skin
Tracing backwards under
Clothe me drape me
Fabricate me
Text me
Textile me
Dial me up

Carve your name into my heart
But don’t text
Force.. field ..Reign
blowing swaying trees
They speak


Rhyme rhyme rhyme

(Once again how to generate immediate response.point or press to get multiple voices.
I like mschumachers portable multichannel set up. Reminds me of alvin lucier.)

I think that I shall never see. A poem as lovely as a tree
Harmonies chorus…canon
A tree who may in summer wear.
There you’ve got the tree, the textile you can just imagine the bark..
Sheeeeeee wore a paper bag as a dress..A big bag
..a nest of robins in her hair.
Strung out like medusa
Starlings swirled around her in the wind.

A tree who’s hungry mouth is pressed

Print press point me my body
Write between the laugh lines
Write within the
Scarred skin scarred skin scarred skin scarred
My body my skin( chorus sings)

Against the earths sweet flowing…breast
Oh I got yearning
A tree who looks at God all day
And lifts its leafy arms to pray
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree

Book tree bark skin line
And text
texts age sect sex

The bible¥
In that sense

Jews continue to write on the scrolls though time has past they can write into the past

((((Have people write write questions and phrases in the break and come back and improvise with them.)))))
At harvest works imichaala

A door a door.
A door adore
Aorta vein lines
Skin vain ligaments
Wrinkle in time
Time Worn worn worn worn worn
Rough rrrrrruff bark
I cry
Bark I cry
Bark I cry
Crying time
take you higher
Heart break
Line spill
Soiled but not spoiled

((((A snippet of tree appears
On the wall)))))
Between branches
marked line fine line
He carved their names in the bark

She said you should never choose an apartment based on the trees you see from the window.
Even if the leaves do turn yellow in fall
Drift by my window

I had a cat on my shoulder..before he fell out of the window
I carried him on my shoulder to the bookstore where Bill  worked
St  marks bookstore
Years before I was so skinny
When a book was the book was the book when the book was my companion
my companion
I needed to walk with a book to feel safe.
On the way to the subway
They called me whoo a!!!!! but
I was not that kind of whoo a,!!
I wanted velvet and hard   bound covers-and
beautiful print on the pages
My p ages my p ages my
I was young when I lived on hemlock st.
There were trees..but hemlock is poison
I didn’t think of that the

Crotch of the tree, crotch of the tree


Now..why haven’t I said anything about letters the letters ensconced the letters he wrote the letters on the scrolls
More about letters and scrolls
And those who write
The position of the one who transcribes
In China
In the Jewish religion
In early early times
Given a high high value

Ways to voice the words.

I am a tree
I am a tree
I am a tree branching out.
I will branch out from trunk deeply
Rooted buttresses
Her hands

Language what
To the power of the piece when the themes
And words are not consequent enough.

Text text text
Texere cloth fabric

Written words the elephant in the room
The title

I write I write
I want to stop the voices

Lines on a stave
Notes on lines
Notes falling free of lines

Notes fallen
From branches
Slow ……..strings I hear the sound as curved lines
I feel the hair on my skin
Shall I not call the name out…it starts with L
I was thinking of
Pulling wire
I saw Joel do it once.he fed the wire.
Sound fields
Why am I laying in it again or waiting for it to
Drizzle down
On my…….
You know the starts with S
I am thinking of translucence so
Translucent…………you know the word.
Can you see the veins, the blue under her………
and the rivulets that appear above her aging  skin
You know the word.
I’ve been left without an association
So I will just sing
Slowly..sinuously….. veeeeeeerrrrrrrryyyyyyyyy veeeeeerrryyyyyy
And they will sound with me…there may be sound pulled along with us.

And thinking of using the singers
And mixing them with other more authentically idiosyncratic voices.
Thinking about where the singers will be in the park and how to approach the
Public..asking questions.
Thinking about how to make scores .q​I can have parts in headphones.
And give them tapes to learn parts and my techniques..words in English and in German on the screen.

Gil plays many different kinds of recoding devises with my recorded sounds..cassettes. Victro las Lips, computer
I type, I write I speak. Installation idea.
So perfect
Can even work at roulette.
Immersive..sometimes seeing something that really doesn’t  work can lead you to what will work.

Gill sitting on the floor with his records and my sounds words on them.
Me in the space with different mic sand ways of writing..on paper, on the computer, processing voice in different ways?? Maybe not necessary.
But if it is hours long then there can be different solos and I can conduct different groups..with sound from Gil or maybe not.
I thought of perry and how words could go across the balcony.and maybe small images flickering on on the stage in back..timing regulate by what?
I’m stealing ideas from everyone everywhere.and language.we take.we bend. It evolves, from everything we have  seen and heard into  everything we hear and see.

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