As part of the Documentary Art Project, Hannah Wells offers her artistic interpretation of a recording by Hazel Delehey, Genevieve Roby, and Will Foote.
Back story: At a middle school in the Ukraine, Genevieve Roby sees a group bullying her friend Anja. Genevieve takes a stand and intervenes, but she is one against many.
I was in middle school
Friend from India
She was made fun of
For how much hair she had on her arms
Coming from one girl to another
A precursor to a full-fledged documentary song, “I Lay My Eyes on You” relates Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s impressions of Barbara Brooks’s work balance with 2 year-old Ian in childcare.
Clio Berta selected this song to illustrate as part of the Documentary Art Project.
Hannah Batley – vocals
Nora Willauer – cello
Malcolm Brooks – guitar, bass, and mandolin
I fill my coffee cup
The work is piling up
How am I going to get through this?
I see your photograph and breathe easy
Another marathon and then
Gabrielle Attra left a home, a cat, and a relationship. She considers whether to begin anew in the depths of winter.
Gabrielle Attra – story source
Lois Anne, Sandy Weisman, Grant Andreaus, Kathrin Seitz, Rich Anderson – co-writers
Will Foote, Malcolm Brooks – teaching artists
Workshop hosted by Kathrin Seitz and Rich Anderson.
I woke up
My immediate thought was
About the cats
It’s so cold
Not loving another
Would only hurt me
The Push Farther Project – Live at Union Hall, December 2019
Belfast, Maine: Alex meets a potter named Dehmie and they become friends. She makes and glazes a colorful oval pot as a gift for him. Alex senses that the gift may be a sort of communication between two like-minded artists.
Dehmie calls the clay pot a “boat” as she gives it to him and says, “Whenever you look at this boat, think of how I believe in you.”
Alex told this story to Khalid and Will, who collaborated with him to create this documentary song. The recording is a run-through after the first draft of the song was completed.
Oswald Chambers, Biddy Chambers – Story Sources
Mimi Bornstein, Chris Finn, Malcolm Brooks, Rushmore DeNooyer – Teaching Artists
Directed by Mimi Bornstein
Produced by Rushmore DeNooyer
From the Songs from Oswald Chambers project
The key is only, only prayer
The key is always, always there
The key to the problem
Is in the hand of God
Not work, only prayer
Not common sense
The key is only prayer
As part of the Documentary Art Project, this song was selected by Anna French for creating a series of panels. It was written before documentary songwriting became an established method.
It expresses Hannah Batley and Malcolm Brooks’s approach to life.
Hannah Batley, Meredith Batley, Anna French, Danji Buck-Moore, Ian Brooks – vocals
Sophie Davis –violin
Nora Willauer – cello
Rushmore DeNooyer – bass, guitar, percussion
Malcolm Brooks – guitar
Produced by Rushmore DeNooyer
Mastered by Pat Keane
Come with me
Walk with me
I’m off to find peace
Utah and Colorado: Hazel Delehey and friends are hiking for miles and Hazel has fallen ill. She and her friends call themselves the “Stoke Train” to keep them going.
I got a bad cold
Terrible heat for 18 days
My feet hurt, my throat hurt
I got a fever in the night
I wanted to go home
Every day was a struggle
for me to keep going on
Single file and singing
Everyone’s on the stoke train
Stoke train keep on moving
Keep me from sitting down
Québec, Canada: Sharon MacLeod receives a phone call that her son Alexander is in critical condition at the hospital. He may not live through the night.
Something has happened to Alexander
Had barely turned 15
Got a phone call from a woman I’d never met
I wish that he
Could have grown to become a man
And I could be
Just another mom
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: Malika Bakayoko’s mother and father come from different tribes with different languages.
Their language in common was French, so that is what she learned at home and school. Now she longs to feel comfortable with her tribal families, but she cannot even talk to them. She must always turn to her father and say, “What is she saying?”
Mom is Christian, Dad is Muslim
Mom is Ébrié, Dad is Dioula
So they speak in French
Neither of them taught us
The language of their tribe
Brussels, Belgium: Sacha De Keizer (on the left in the photo) grew up negotiating a French home life and a Flemish school life. Additionally she found herself acting as “a third wheel” confidant in her parents deteriorating marriage.
They divorced, and and she lost her family, her home, and even her loyal dog Happy. She says, in an understatement, there was “Collateral Damage.”
For me everything that is family
Is my house and my dog
She is the only one
who went through it all with me
I am the third wheel in the marriage
There was collateral damage
London, England: Camila Solis Torrez, who grew up with her Bolivian mother in England, recalls a time in 6th form when she yearned to be friends with people who shared a Spanish cultural background.
She finds them, but then she discovers that she is different from them. She’s not interested in fashion or the things they love to talk about. She becomes so isolated that her mom says, “Your room looks like you’re depressed.”
London, England: Noura Safar is a university student in London whose mother is half-German and half-Iranian. Her father is Iraqi. She grew up as an only child with Germany as her home, but her heart feels alive whenever she visits the Middle East.
In either place, she feels she’s only half of herself. She has learned that she has a half-brother from her father’s previous marriage. She’s reaching out to this half-brother, hoping, as an only child, to find a sense of kinship. She emails to introduce herself, wondering, “Should I say My Dad, Your Dad, or Our Dad?”
Hasting Brook, Maine: As a young boy, Don Mitchell witnessed a fire raging through his Maine village. But then, in the ashes, beautiful raspberries began to grow.
Film Design and Artwork: Clio Berta
Story Source: Interview with Don Mitchell by his son Roger Mitchell
This work is part of the Documentary Art Project.
The fire came, the fire came, the fire came down
Well, she started at Hasting Brook
Hasting Brook by the big falls
Between Jackson Sluice and Adam’s Ridge
She took out strip of land
And the trees, she took ‘em all