Ohònte Wenserá:kon (2022) means sweet grass in the Kaniènkéha (Mohawk) language. The work tells a story of the sacred plant, sweet grass, that is used for weaving baskets, as a perfume, to cleanse when burned and as a flower essence for purification and positivity. I was privilegee to study with Tawènte’se (Ray John), longhouse leader and elder from the Oneida Nation, for many years before his passing. He gave many teachings on sweet grass upon which this piece is inspired. Tawènte’se taught us to treat sweet grass with the honor and responsibility that we revere women. In the morning, the sweet grass holds the dew, a sacred nectar. When we harvest her, we thank her and tenderly tug from close to the earth to loosen her connection with mother earth. We make braids from her body the same way that we do on our people. Ohònte Wenserá:kon shares her delightful fragrance even when carried by the wind. We utilize the strength and flexibility of sweet grass for our baskets and adornment. We pray in thanks for her many gifts.
The work is almost entirely based on the playing of natural harmonics, incorporating plucked,
bowed, single, double stopped, repeating and across string harmonics.
is composed for Wilhemina Smith who gifts the world with her beauty,
grace and strength as a woman and a brilliant cellist who has the same attributes as the sweet
grass of mother earth.
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