Gina Leishman

Composer, Multi-instrumentalist, and Singer

September 14th, Sicily

Halfway through my gift from the Akrai Residency program of a month in Palazzolo Acreide, a lovely old hill town in the Hyblaean mountains of southern Sicily. How lucky can you get… [<www.akrai.org> http://www.facebook.com/akrairesidency]

I have been working away… I share a piano with the other composer/musician in residence (Roman, a genial bear of a man from Siberia with a marked resemblance to Jesus), and said piano resides in a little monastic cell with a skylight as the only window – I go every day for a couple of hours, and I like the discipline of it very much – going to the office… I have written a piece a day there so far, with a time limit of 45 minutes and space limit of one page (I have very small MS writing), watching the little square of sunlight traverse the wall in front of me – who knows if any of it is any good but at least the wheels are getting greased – it’s about time… then I work at home on Vagabond, and play the mandola on my rooftop terrace every evening for an hour before gathering for dinner – nice work if you can get it…

Two days ago we (6 of the 7 resident artists plus our 2 hosts) took the day off and went to the beach (earning it by 2 hot hours in another larger hill town with 50 baroque churches – a bit too much of a good thing, but the back streets were beautiful, and I got a hat for the beach) – an hour’s drive through hairpin bends, down to the southern tip of the island (hello africa – we are actually south of Tunis) to a national park, with a healthy walk through ullastres and wild (dry) thyme to the beautiful beach – very reminiscent of menorca, with reddish earth and limestone rock, even caña at the head of the baranca, only more african somehow – drier for sure… oh so happy to be in the embrace of my beloved blue water again, even if only for a short while… thank you, Claudia and Salvatore, for all of it…

things that grab me: doors, bells, birds, balconies & balustrades….