Author Archives: Susan Clynes

The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

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The Art of Trusting (in times of terror)

Dear you,
Thanks for taking the time to read this and care enough.
It’s been a hard couple of days. So shocking. So sudden.
I can’t really say the right things about what happened in Paris. So I won’t. No words can describe the pain, the sadness, the despair, the feeling of total paralysis.
But I will say this. (And I use my words extremely sparingly, as I don’t know how else to put it.)
It’s hard to trust.
… (Wait, what, trust?! How can you talk about trust in this situation??!!)

What Hurts More?

So yes, it is incredibly hard to trust. Of course it is, because it HURTS when your trust is broken. Yes. It hurts. It hurts like hell and you cry without end when it happens. But I want to ask you and myself the following question. What hurts more? Trusting with the knowledge that it can hurt when something happens that tries to trample that trust? Or the fact of not trusting at all?
I’m sure many people would argue for the first one as it seems the more obvious one. If you don’t give something away (like in this case trust), it can’t be taken or stolen from you, and you can’t get hurt, right?
Wrong. So wrong.
It’s so wrong it even hurts thinking about possibly living in a world in which everyone thinks like this. It hurts because the first one we hurt when living like that, is ourself. And this is really ironic, because the primary reason we don’t dare to trust is self-preservation. We think we are protecting ourselves from something by withholding our trust, but we are in fact harming our own fragile little selves. Every. Single. Time.
But why does it hurt ? I think it hurt so much because that little fragile self of ours can’t possibly be whole, be happy, be elated or inspired when we block the first reflex that any living creature has as it is born into this world, the reflex of trust. Without it, we wouldn’t drink our mothers milk, ( it might be poisoned ! ), without it we would not learn to walk ( we might fall ! ), without it we would not learn to talk ( words can be so painful ! ). I would argue that without it, we would not learn. Anything.

The Radical Response to Terror (The “Good” Kind)

When faced with terror, it is of course SUPER hard, to keep our hearts wide open, trusting the world.
It hurts SO much. It’s SO sad. And of course we feel SO hurt, and SO afraid, and our first reactions are quite logically reactions of self-preservation. At least it seems rational and logical in first instance. But it is then that we have to decide if we will let terror into our hearts, if we will let the fear it induces control us.  The goal of all terror is control. And someone who fears is easily controlled. Someone who fears is predictable. Someone who fears will definitely not try anything new, anything potentially harmful, anything as messy and definitely unsafe as… trust.
As strange as it may seem, as counter-intuitive (depending on the definition of this intuition), I am convinced with all of my heart that the only thing we can do to get through things like this, as an individual AND as a community, is to increase our trust in each other.
And if you disagree, please do argue with me. It’s so important.
I’m nuanced in most everything, I think, but this one doesn’t seem to be done justice, nuancing.

I think it is of vital importance to be a radical, extremist truster. 

And will it hurt? Undoubtable. But we have to trust that there is always more love available than we could ever possibly need to heal the wounds, to pick ourselves and each other up again from the floor and to continue on trusting and loving. More fearless than before. I believe in our capacity to love and to trust and I know that if we all join hands and love and trust like we have never done before, we will thrive, we will evolve into a force that is unstoppable by anything.

Why I wrote this

I want you to know this is not an article in which I’m trying to tell you what to do. It’s an article that I needed to write, for myself. To give myself the courage to trust. More than ever before. And I ask for your help. Because it’s not easy. It’s scary. So scary. But I’m doing it. Even if it is.
So please.
Will you please help me trust? Will you please trust me? Will you please trust yourself? Will you please trust the world?
Thank you.
I love you.
I trust you.

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Resolutions for 2015 I’m planning to keep

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1. Being the most loving human being I can be, in the profound experience & knowledge that when I give fully, and hold nothing back, I am truly living, and being myself in my most natural state, beneficial to myself AND everyone around me in the best possible way.

2. Supporting, sharing and promoting wonderful ecologic and humanly economic projects.

3.  Consuming as ethically, honestly and responsibly as possible in a fun way, supporting with my money and energy the production processes I believe in, and want to see more of in the world.
Asking myself with each action (as I’ve heard it is said Native Americans used to do) : ‘What will the effect of this action be, if it is repeated for 7 generations.’ Will it be wonderful or harmful? If it is harmful, why do it?

4.  Recycling and upcycling as much as possible, making treasure out of trash and if I can’t do it myself, having it done for me by these amazing people. (Don’t want to ruin the surprise, just check it out, you seriously won’t be sorry.)

5. Asking and accepting the help & support I need when I need it in the knowledge that asking and accepting help is allowing others into our hearts, that vulnerability doesn’t make me weak but actually reveals my true strength.

6. Finding what it is I can do to benefit the world and beings in it in the best way possible.

7. Appreciating all the beauty within each and every one of us, focussing on it so it can grow.

Happy 2015 sweet people. What are your resolutions you plan on keeping this year ?
Love –
The half of the couple of weirdos called
Susan

Resolutions for 2015 I plan on keeping.

Inspiring little image.

Susan Clynes – Life Is… (2014)

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Waking up the blogging activities again – by a wonderful review of Rafaella Berry for Prog Sphere … Enjoy?

Love

– Susan

Fire of Unknown Origin

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TRACKLISTING:
1. Life Is (4:21)
2. A Good Man (3:49)
3. Childhood Dreams (6:31)
4. Les Larmes (9:36)
5. Tuesday Rain (5:08)
6. Ileana’s Song (3:37)
7. When You’re Dead (7:15)
8. Pigeon’s Intrusion (6:00)
9. Le Voyage (3:22)
10. Linear Blindness (4:12)
11. Butterflies (6:38)

LINEUP:
Susan Clynes – piano, vocals
Simon Lenski – cello (3, 4, 7, 8, 11)
Pierre Mottet – bass (2, 6)
Nico Chkifi – drums (2, 6)

Belgian singer/pianist/composer Susan Clynes first came to the attention of the progressive rock audience for her stunning vocal performance on the song “Glass Cubes” (written by her husband, keyboardist Antoine Guenet, also a member of Univers Zéro and Sh.t.gn) on The Wrong Object’s critically acclaimed 2013 album After the Exhibition. With a solid academic background supporting her obvious passion for music, it was just a matter of time before Clynes’s talent – first showcased…

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Susan Clynes – Life is… (2014)

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Susan Clynes – Life is… (2014)

Thank you Alfonso for this lovely review ! I will have some Italian friends translate it to English to understand it even better , but even with Google Translate it makes me very happy! All the best to you, Susan

La Luna di Alfonso

cover_SC.jpgMJR061 – 2014

Parafrasando un’efficace frase del dialogo finale del bel film di Valerio Zurlini “La prima notte di quiete”, defineremmo Susan Clyne come una donna dai buoni ascolti. Il disco d’esordio internazionale della vocalist e pianista belga, registrato dal vivo in tre differenti occasioni con organico variabile dal solo al trio, mette in mostra un repertorio ricco di influenze disparate, assemblate in un percorso sonoro già abbastanza personale.

Si parte strizzando l’occhio al pop americano di qualità, con la title-track e la successiva A Good Man che richiama alla mente Tori Amos, ma subito dopo questo piacevole incipit si cambia passo con le evidenti tracce di minimalismo “a la Reich” che introducono e permeano lo sviluppo dell’intensa Childhood Dreams, ben sostenuta dal cello di Simon Lenski, dove Susan mette in luce le sue peculiari caratteristiche: vocalità potente ed istintiva, a tratti “maleducata” e declamante nello stile di Annette…

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How it feels to release a Debut Album

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1 : You get sick of your cover picture even though you love it

The thing is : you see that cover picture everywhere you look…
'Life Is...' Cover
And even if it’s the single best picture anyone has ever taken, (which is of course how I feel about my very first official album cover 🙂 ) if you see it 24/7, at some point, enough is just… ENOUGH! And in my own particular case, it is my own particular face – and not with the most  joyful expression on it either… in particular 🙂

And the album isn’t even out yet! So just to refresh my retina but still stay on topic – here’s a picture of my arm… Background-Arm-cutout

2 : You get frustrated with the Post-Man but suspect they are your biggest fans

Let me state the obvious first… so we get that out of the way. We love our Mail-Men, Mail-Women and everyone else working in the Mail around the world (We wouldn’t want to get any angry letters…). But if an American Record Label sends some nice lady in Belgium some of her CD’s, and they are sent on January 27th – doesn’t that mean there should be ample time to get them to her in time for her Release-Date on the 18th of February ? Of course – they ought to leave the costal shores at one point. Which they… didn’t yet?! Well… Dear sweet readers… I have a theory that explains everything! Here it comes. I think the people of the Mail have become my biggest fans. Because, not only did I not receive them, but I found out they are actually ‘stationed’ in New York – and have been stuck there since the 29th of January.
So : dear people of the mail : I love that you dig my music. I really do. And I understand you want to keep it ALL to yourself. But you know, dear MailGirls&Boys – I haven’t even seen my own CD’s yet! Imagine if YOU would have been deprived of the opportunity to see MY CD’s. That would make you sad, now wouldn’t it? Well… IMAGINE HOW I FEEL!
Ok… Sorry I lost my temper there. But you know – if you like my music so much, you should really do your best to make make me happy again. Then maybe I’ll send you some more CD’s to hog during more than a week!

<CRUCIAL UPDATE> The CD’s are now ‘somewhere’ – which makes more sense of course…

3 : You find out they are not your biggest fans and remain frustrated

I think this is somehow a self-explanatory statement. But I am of course delighted to elaborate. Just send me a mail – for a detailed description of my feelings about this.

4 : You spend your life on your computer

Having a hernia and being forced to sit lying down most of the time might add to this, but hey, when people are talking about you, you want to know what they are saying – right? For now it’s mostly press-releases, although there is already one review of the song Childhood Dreams which you can listen to here or just simply watch us play it on the YouTube below.

Apart from that, your PC-quality time is spent making sure your site is up to date, sharing press-releases, talking with fans and communicating quickly and efficiently with all people involved (label, PR-people, booking-agents, etc…). And of course, liking adorable selfies of dogs…

5 : Blogging about how it feels to release a debut-album

I’m not sure how much I’ve said about how it actually feels – and there is so much fun stuff to talk about – I just thought I should get this post started. Inspiration will surely strike sooner or later… Sometimes it will be romantic – all with inspirational success stories, princesses, hardship and breakthroughs. Just not today. Sorry 🙂

Until then – thanks for your interest in reading this blog and this post. And if you have no idea what I am talking about – and somehow missed my incessant spamming on the subject – here’s a video explaining it all. (I hope.) And for the ladies – the guy doing the interview is really hot, right? Hands off though – he’s mine!

My message to the dear supporters of my first crowdfunding campaign!

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So…
Completed!

With 24 funders and 30 days of campaigning, this bunch of exceptional people that are my friends, family, and both old and new fans raised 2000$ to support this new album I am releasing with MoonJune Records, called ‘Life Is…’!
'Life Is...' Cover
I am so honoured and touched that I want to publicly make the promise that I will do everything that is in my power to keep making music and to never stop.To keep deserving all the trust these sweet people have instilled me with. And I  am so touched to know that there is support out there, for anyone who dares to ask for it, and hope this will inspire others to set up their own campaign and find out what a life transforming process this is. Not only do you get support in the form of money, but even more valuable – it creates enormous amounts of connection. People see what you’re doing and they give your their honest opinion about your art, your music, your communication, their feelings, their passions and their dreams. You get to connect with people that resonate with what you are doing and you get SO much out of it! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. I intend to keep connecting with all these beautiful people – not only the ones who contributed financially (because that option is just not available to everybody!) but with everyone who cares and wants to connect.

Amanda Palmer was right – people don’t need to be forced into doing anything! If you just give them the chance, and ask for their support, they will gladly give it to you – and in more ways than you ever dreamed possible.
I look forward to each and every request for support of each and every one of you, and I am so happy to start spreading out all those goodies & gifts I have prepared and am still in the process of preparing…

Oh shall I say it? Yes I will… I! LOVE! YOU! ALL!!!!

Susan

How to write a piece for Baroque ensemble and not get caught.

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So I’m working on a piece for Baroque ensemble. A bunch of passionate musicians playing recorder flutes, guitars, cello, harpsichord and double bass. And the greatest part is I’m really getting to learn a lot. This is because – believe it or not – I’ve never ever written for guitar. Nor have I ever written for recorder flutes. Nor is there a chapter on recorder flutes or more than half a page about a guitar in any of the books  I have on orchestration and music in my cupboard. Apart from the fact that this probably says something about the books I have in my closet, I am, to put it politely, in more than a jiffy… 🙂 Oh yeah have I mentioned it’s supposed to be for this week in Christian culture called The Good Week?  And I’m not really Christian (mom’s baptised but I’m not) … nor am I Jewish, really (dad’s Jewish, but technically I’m not because my mom’s not) … but I do have my own take on spirituality and was profoundly touched by a fabulous text which was posted on the blog called the ‘Diversity Chronicle‘. To read it click here. This text was being portrayed as speeches and other thoughts formulated by the new pope. Very inspirational words, which I hope he will actually speak for real one day. Still I do believe that this pope has more balls than his predecessors and I do believe positive change is on its way…

So anyway : this blog post of mine is about how to write this composition for amateur Baroque Ensemble – right? Well : basically I did the following :
0.  Have fun (repeat incessantly with every step)
1. Find inspiration. Yes – you read it correctly –  I didn’t say ‘WAIT until inspiration strikes’. Go get it. Find meaning in what you are doing, in what you are writing. If there’s no reason to do it, don’t do it. But I bet you there always is a connection to be found somewhere. Music should always transcend music itself. Now this may sound esotherical but it really isn’t. Transcending something to me is adding a meaning to it. When you are asked to write for cello, you should find a reason why you want to write for cello. Why there is the necessity to write a piece in the first place and second why it has to be cello.
2. When you’ve found that connection and have managed to put it into notes (more on this step later – I’m still writing a blog post and not a book here) you’re ready for the logistics.
3. Pick up a guitar and try to play what you wrote. If you can play it and you’re not a guitarist – that should mean any person having studied guitar for more than a week should be able to do it. So that’s already not bad.
4. Ask another guitar player to play it. I will ask Antoine to proof-play the harder guitar-parts I wrote – which I can’t play – but that doesn’t really mean much.
5. Realize that recorder flutes will always sound a bit off – and don’t worry too much about it. The reason for this is that apparently recorder flutes are not at all ‘uniform’ in how they were made. Recorder flutes from different ‘brands’ have different tunings and in most ensembles you will find all these brands of flutes mixed together. So that makes that even when you write notes that should sound great, technically speaking, you should be prepared for some sound waves crashing into each other.
6. Have the ensemble play your piece and listen to the recordings & live sounds. Correct where you feel it’s needed.
7. Have fun. (repeat this step at every step)

So I started this blog post some time ago – lost lots of thoughts I had written down as soon as I had hit publish the blog says like ‘oops something went wrong’. So before it does that again – and while it’s still relevant – I’ll quickly post it before re-reading. So please be compassionate with possible missssstakes – yes? Thank you oh so much…

Susan

‘Childhood Dreams’ Susan Clynes & Simon Lenski

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WebTeaser of my first Official Album, recorded entirely Live – appropriately entitled ‘Life Is…’ featuring Simon Lenski, the amazing cellist from the Belgian experimental -contemporary-folk-rock band DAAU (Die Anarchistische Abend Unterhaltung) and my own compositions. Energetic musical contributions of Pierre Mottet & Nico Chkifi – and stacked with spontaneity allover. Out on MoonJune Records in February 2014 and currently crowdfunding it – with 21 days left to go!

Why Composing is the best Job in the World

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Life is What we choose to make of it

… even if you think it ain’t true

I wrote this song and somehow this whole album to remind me of some important things I didn’t want to forget. Maybe it’ll help you too, maybe it won’t.
That’s all for today.
And guess where I found that thing in my hand…