“All is Written” by Matana Roberts


Listen carefully to the opening of the prelude to Matana Roberts’ Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee and you might hear her softly murmur, where the fuck is this place, amidst a supernatural soundscape of birds, church bells, pages, footsteps. The third in Matana’s twelve-chapter Coin Coin project––an in-progress epic exploring her predominantly black ancestral lineage alongside history––summons the U.S. South through a solo collage of field recording, song, mournful reeds, electronics, and readings from text occasionally discernable in the ebb and flow. This is solitary but urgent music. Even with its particular narrative, it summons resonances that I cannot push back when I listen: my own long-gone relatives, their stories, warscapes, times, countries, ghosts. When I first heard this I was passing through a dense fog on a fast train. Oh youngster there perhaps you’ll see…. It has become a recent meditation for the places that I cannot know, nor see, alone.

-Maryam Ivette Parhizkar

IMG_0064_maryam_photo_by_dave_aMaryam Ivette Parhizkar writes, researches and works via her musical training. She is (out-going) co-managing editor and part of the editorial collective of Litmus Press & the author of two chapbooks: Pull: a ballad (The Operating System, 2014), and or, as for the future Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, forthcoming). Of Houston by birth and a drifting denizen of New Haven, New York and Jersey City, she is a PhD student in African American and American Studies at Yale University.

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