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Ledah writes: Born in 1930 in Baltimore to immigrant parents amid sounds, smells, and sights still vivid today, my grandmother Paula Finck spent the first half of her life encased in city talk and city smog. In 1980, she and my grandfather bought 100 tree-covered acres on a ridge in very rural West Virginia and moved from Pittsburgh, PA into a tiny gray tin-roofed house at the top of the hill on the property.
A few years ago Bubby produced two booklets of her own poetry, the first called “Under the Silver Maple” and the second “Leaving the Silver Maple”. The first booklet contains poems from 1939-2007 and is a celebration of the countryside of West Virginia in which she found her true home, where acquaintances with people were few but meaningful and where acquaintances with both the beauties and hardships of nature were plentiful and profound. The second book, with poetry from 2001-2013, deals with (in her words) 'loss, caregiving, and national issues”, many of the poems coming from around the time that she moved from West Virginia to North Carolina. A lifelong promoter of compassion and awareness, Bubby considers political activism merely “being a good citizen”. And when I recently began delving more deeply into these two volumes of her writing, I began to gain a deeper understanding and empathy for my quirky and beautiful grandmother.
In composing “Hill and Holler”, I used the entirety of “Mountain Mama Dream” and an excerpt from “What makes a city girl move to the middle of nowhere?”, both from Bubby’s first booklet of poems “Under the Silver Maple”. The piece is for me a celebration of many of the facets of Bubby’s life and personality which I admire, but in particular her deep appreciation for and at-homeness in nature. When she moved to West Virginia, Mother Nature became viscerally her protector, challenger, nurturer. Throughout my whole life my Bubby has taught me the importance of showing kindness and care and listening to all the people and creatures in my environment, something which these days I’m becoming ever more acutely aware of. I celebrate her willingness to look and listen."
"Mountain Mama Dream"
The night comes slowly
as I walk the back woods and gather compost for my garden
The sky lights up with vivid colors I lay back on the grass
to see the sky show. . . and then,
eat my dinner, read the Green Tab, slowly drink blackberry wine and become one with my inner nature
my dream does a wild hillbilly dance with sweet touch and pure emotions I do not awake easily
-Paula Finck, 1981
"What makes a city girl move to the middle of nowhere?" (excerpt)
Plant me in a forest of poplars
next to butterfly weeds
down a dirt road to a meadow where the sun sprinkles its laughter
-Paula Finck, 2012
from As I Am,
released November 7, 2017
”Hill and Holler” by Ledah Finck for alto flute, violin, and trumpet + voices featuring Ledah Finck on violin and Louna Dekker-Vargas on alto flute
Kate Amrine is a passionate trumpet player balancing a career developing new repertoire and freelancing with many different
groups in the New York City area. She recently released her debut album “As I Am” featuring new music for trumpet by women composers. Kate also frequently performs on Broadway and in other regional musical theater productions both in and outside of the NYC area....more