a musical review at the home for wayward women

So spring awakening. For me, it's been all Hildegard of Bingen and Judee Sill, women operating together in messianic time if not together in man's history. Sill has been in the changer for months, her self-titled 1972 acoustic guitar and dreambell Laurel Canyon masterpiece pricking me through mind-numbing reading and bouts of loneliness. Music can quiet or amplify, and Sill's voice seems to find out the empty corners of the room and magnify them. How else could a songs like "The Kiss," ostensibly about the union of two, sound like a lament? To me, her voice is more meant for the acoustic guitar, her language mirroring the subtle nylon bend at the end of phrases til it sounds like this Northern California girl was stone cold Southern, which she was by tragedy if not by birth. Check out "My Man On Love" for those decends and bends mixed with that affiable 1960s hippie Christian mysticism that seems so naive in these fundamentalist times.

Hildegard, on the other hand, not a tragedy but a hidden success. A few weeks ago one of my former students asked me why her father had never studied Hildegard in school – as if the 12th century German mystic composer abbess was the collective fiction of 1970s historical revisionist feminists! She didn't have to be dreamed, she lived, and though I remain a committed atheist she is still my current patron saint. Listen to "O Ecclesia" and try not to think of Nico, since that would be too much tragedy for one day.

So Sill, gone cavorting with Southern California singer songwriters, a cabal of women lovers, and magick, makes four part choral music for one woman plus guitar in the early 1970s, and Hildegard writing her own words and music in an era no one did both and women were largely illiterate non-creators. Thanks ladies. You've gotten me through my own rough spot.