Jeff Gburek: Vigilance Suite I & II CDx2 (gatefold)
Jeff Gburek’s homage to his ancestral homeland Ukraine Vigilance Suite I & II is two discs of improvised, solo acoustic guitar.
"Music played privately at home doesn't count as much as humanitarian aid, on the ground, where events are scattering lives -- but making these tracks was one of the ways I began to weather the storm, when one of my homelands went under military siege.
It was over a century ago my ancestors on my mother's side left regions within and near Ukraine to come to the USA, perhaps as refugees of some similar conflict. Vigilance Suites were recorded on February 24, 25 and February 28 and March 1, 2022. I used a slightly drop-tuned acoustic guitar in open D tuning, zither, e-bow various preparations over the course of time to represent shifts of mood and transformations of mind.
The colorful rag doll depicted on the CD disc is called a Motanka. I bought it in a market in Lviv, Ukraine in 2015. It reminded me of Hopi Kachinas, Voodoo figurines and Roma magic-spell fetishes. Motanki are hand-made, using scraps of cloth or discarded clothing of relatives.The use of needles, scissors or machines, is forbidden. Motanka is a composition of energy and substances inside can be coins, herbs, grain, intentionally charged. They are house-guardians and they represent the healing properties of plants, seasonal and nature spirits. The cross on the face represents the sun. Motanki links us back to the ancient Pagan and animist cultures of the people who live in the Transcarpathian regions.The Motanka set upon the background of the traditional pattern of head scarf from Ukraine represents the folk culture of the people.
This music, born out of the time of reflection, waiting for news, perhaps carries the hopes, fears, perhaps within its imagery some of the brokenness being transmuted into sound, as struggling distant friends endure these trials, these ups and downs, the outrage and the sense of rebound, the sense of loss, displacement, bewilderment.
Many thanks to Michael Sill for offering to release these works.
War is the polar opposite of vitamin D, low in nutritional value, hard on the eyes, even at a distance, the kids look like they will start smoking at an early age. Do we have leaders or bleeders? I don't really want to go anywhere. Can the volume of gunpowder be lower. My thoughts about it remain maladjusted. Perhaps I am slightly more sane when asleep. It's getting more difficult to write letters starting out of with how are you or what's up. First you whistle then you duck. People stop on the bridge. People are looking at one another with eyes asking from where do you come.
Only now has ceased to exist. Retinal linkages acknowledge infinite regressive passage over this scroll of enzyme-grammar. It would be easier to survive as a simpler form of life. It is too much to deal with here. Unless it ends, soon, suddenly. All those children of the bloodlands wandering now as living ghosts, perfect mirror, for I, who lived as a shadow all these years, no I at all, just outline, a man sunken somewhere behind the shade.
There are no large bottles of water in the supermarket. The whole half-aisle where they keep bottled water is an empty palette ghost town. Something starts to snap. Inside. Many new faces in the streets. I couldn't find AA batteries. Sudden sense of confusion and the voice inside says you don't need any batteries.
Indeed, I did buy 3 extra sets a few days ago but now not being able to see any where they used to be starts to bother me. Like somebody cut down a tree whose shade you once enjoyed or whose strength and tenacity you admired. Something comes a bit more unhinged. When I go out I see the Sinti family with their shopping cart piled high. But this is normal. Thank god something is normal. Walking out of the shop I tear off my mask and I wonder how ironic the empire of the mask may just be coming to an end.
Walking down the street I pass the Ukrainski Smak Pierogarnia and glance at the women -- they have the kitchen with an open window, so you can always seem them at work, rolling, pounding, folding the dough on the floured long tables. It's at the door to the restaurant part, the small, traditionally minimalist "bar mleczny", it's there I see the sign-board, not a menu, but a long list of words in Polish that are mostly unknown still to me, but the known part tells me clearly it's a long list of supplies, medical and otherwise, being collected to take to their people.
That's where I kind of lose it for the first time, something goes out from beneath my feet and I stagger to the wall. That distance that separated the war "over there" from us in our reality over here was suddenly removed. Let's call it a quantum entanglement. A missile struck me.