19.9 C
Byron Shire
April 16, 2024

S Sorrensen’s Here & Now: Good Grief

Latest News

School holidays at the market

Victoria Cosford School holidays shouldn’t only be holidays for children. Parents too are entitled to a break in routine, the...

Other News

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation wins major international prize

Australia's Indigenous Literacy Foundation is the 2024 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature – a global award given annually to a person or organisation for their outstanding contribution to children’s and young adult literature.

Man charged over alleged home invasion – Kingscliff

A man faced court yesterday charged over an alleged home invasion in Kingscliff that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

Wage peace not war

Northern Rivers Peace group, Remembering and Healing is inviting all community members to a peace gathering on the eve of ANZAC Day.

School holidays at the market

Victoria Cosford School holidays shouldn’t only be holidays for children. Parents too are entitled to a break in routine, the...

Step towards healing

While reading Michal Schiff’s letter (Echo 3 Apr) I am reminded of the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart’s request...

Amber alert for blue green algae at Lake Ainsworth

Blue green algae status in Lake Ainsworth currently is Amber level and investigations into the causes and increased sampling will be in place.

Image S Sorrensen

Nimbin. Saturday, 7.35pm

Leonard Cohen wrote: There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. (From Anthem, 1992.)

It’s a beautiful line. It took me a long time to understand what he meant – I think I understand now – but tonight, sitting here in the Nimbin Bush Theatre, I have realised something else: that the crack in everything can also allow the grief out.

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

The woman’s hand, subtly lit and just visible through the semi-transparent screen, dances with her voice, rising and falling. Her face is also lit and floats, luminescent, about the microphone, but it is her hand that fascinates me – now ascending like a jellyfish pulsing upwards, now hovering like a gull on a shoreside thermal, now diving like a gannet fishing. Movement and sound are so intimately entwined, I’m seeing the melody. It’s an elegant synaesthesia.

On the screen, colourful fish dart and flit (like her hand) among the living coral. A strange long fish swims by, and a turtle glides past…

Also lit behind the screen is a man playing a wind instrument. He plays the sampled calls of endangered species through a wind instrument, creating notes from those sounds, constructing melody from those notes, layering those melodies one upon the other with live looping until an endangered symphony is built, into which the woman’s voice swims like a sinewy eel into a coral high-rise.

A tear rolls down my cheek. That’s embarrassing, but my fellow audience members are so engrossed in the performance no-one notices. This is a show about extinction, but I’m enjoying it… and I’m crying. How can this be?

Inside me is grief. A lot of it, I think. I keep it repressed, though. The grief of a lost father, a lost love, a lost planet… It’s many griefs but one grief, and it’s buried deep, denied and ignored, because I don’t know how to let it out.

As we tumble into the sixth great extinction, as we watch the miracle of life become a horror of extermination, as the human legacy toxifies the ecosystems that sustain us, annihilates our companion species, and condemns our grandchildren, grief grows like a tumour inside me.

This performance, Dangerous Song Blue, shows what we are losing. I know this stuff already. It’s terrible. It’s so crushingly sad I can’t bear to think about it. But tonight this awful knowledge is transformed. Art can do that. This performance about what is being lost is not a dark requiem, but a colourful embracing.

If there’s a crack in everything where the light gets in, that crack can also let the grief out. That crack is art.

This art, here and now, does not deny the awful consequences of human ignorance, but rejoices in the wonder of what is. These artists have allowed my grief out, not as rage or depression, but as an exquisite melancholy expressed as a song, as a smile, as a tear.

This performance honours ecosystems and species, gone and going, with a visual and sonic testimony to the glory of life. And it honours humanity, because humans can create art. It is the best thing we do. Without art, we are lost.

No, it is not a perfect world. Far from it. But I can no longer hold onto the idea that it should be. We can only do what we can do.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.



Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

New chef at Crystalbrook Byron

Joachim Borenius has been appointed as the new executive chef at Crystalbrook Byron resort’s signature restaurant, Forest. Joachim Borenius brings a wealth of experience, gathered...

Jungle Juice – squeezing the most out of life!

Four years ago, Guido and Natalia Annoni decided to swap the rat race for the jungle – heading north from Sydney with their kids...

Local grom takes national tube-riding prize

Local grom takes national tube-riding prize. Broken Head surfer Leihani Zoric has taken out first place in the U/14 girls and best barrel (girl) categories of the Australian Junior Online Surf Championships.