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this edition of framework:afield, entitled whisper to dragons, was produced in the united states, using recordings made in south asia, by michael northam. for more information see producer’s notes:

whisper to dragons — an impressionist regurgitation of a time spent being sensitive in an increasingly insensitive world.

This is a document I put together in order to digest my 2022-23 chapter of life in South Asia during a relatively turbulent moment at the ending of the Covid restrictions to travel.

Having already stayed several years in India and Nepal, I was forced to return to North America after six months of lockdown in southern India. Having no place to return to I ended up living in a ghost town and then eventually wandering in a minivan. I finally ended up in Crestone, Colorado where through some strange connections received a miraculous invitation to have a job in a normally restricted area of the Himalayas.

So once again I returned to Asia, but this time with a load of equipment to offer my introductory course on SonicArts as a way to impart the fundamental skills of sound engineering at a vocational institution in a rural facility in the eastern Himalayas.

This radio work is a collected impression of my time there and the continuation of my stay in Asia the rest of that year.

After four months, and a relatively stressful time at living in a fabulously primordial place where I had to work under peculiarities of the culture—I wound up moving on to Nepal and ending up struggling in the cold fighting a bout of bronchitis for a month. Afterwards, I returned to India and headed south on a slow train to Kerala. Before I knew it, I was being hospitalized for a minor surgery. Awkwardly I had to find a place to recover afterwards and stumbled into an amazing situation where I stayed five weeks in a humble bamboo shack along a meandering bend of a river.

When I felt ready again to travel, I returned back to Nepal in the spring and eventually reunited with some mountain ngakpa friends and was invited to join them in their rustic camp in Yolmo.

Finally facing a return to North America, exhausted, with some illusions shattered and another practice ahead, of starting over, again.

Here is a cobbled together collection of sounds of a range of sources, qualities and process from landscapes and situations I passed through that year—incidental recordings, comments from students and post travel reflections sprinkled through along the way. Re-digested and produced at the Mossy Stump Studio hidden a forest on a peninsula on the Puget Sound.

please note – country in eastern Himalayas was not mentioned due to sensitivities expressed by the authorities that I worked under – but thanks should be extended to my students and namely: RP, Karma, Choki, Guna, Jigme, Chencho, Tamang and Chandra who’s voices and work appear in this piece.

Michael Northam, 2024.04
patrick 2024, framework:afield

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