Stumbling Upon Neysa
I had begun a project with the working-title, “Star Babies” just prior to proceeding into the California Mojave Desert on a video assignment for The Light Body School. Linda, the dean of the school said to me, “I want you to interview Neysa (KNEE-sah) – she has a great story – be sure to get together with her!”
Neysa’s reputation precedes her … she is like the morning desert wind: cool but elusive; and indeed it took me three days to get her in front of the camera. But when I did, I knew that it was going to be special and that I was in the right place. She did a heart-touching interview with the caveat that she had not answered the question that I had asked. Realizing this, she sat next to a reflecting pool and said, “I’ll continue, but do you mind if I sing to collect my thoughts?”
“Go right ahead,” I said.
As I heard what she did next, I dropped what I was doing, waded into the reflection pool with a microphone in-hand, clipped it to her and started the field recorder and the video. The result was the track “Ajna” on this album.
I asked her several weeks later, “Neysa, in what language are you singing?”
“I don’t know — I channel it in!”
Loving the answer that she gave I continued, “Would you be interested in a collaboration on an album called ‘Star Babies?’”
“Oh, Bill. You’ve read me so right — I’m such a Star Baby — I would love to do a ‘Col-lab’ with you. I had no idea you were a sculpturer of sound!”
It took a couple of months to find Neysa in Joshua Tree, California where I recorded her, but the results have mesmerized me ever since.
I am a fan of all of her tracks, but the one that I call “Celestial Lullaby” is one of my favorites. It was the last song of the session and we both knew it. I was humming the melody from the prior track that we had recorded and she said, “That’s a fun idea … I think I’ll hum a little bit.” I started the recorder again.
I hope you will enjoy these tracks as much as I do. Let the spirit of mystery and discovery wash over you as you listen.
And check out the album on BandCamp.com (where your purchase is always voluntary but nonetheless appreciated):
In the desert, I was glad that I had a digital SLR close-at-hand. I grabbed it during the session and captured this informal video showing how spontaneous Neysa is while recording: