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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Tham

the body electric 1

Updated: Feb 8

We will sing the body electric, and celebrate the SYC yet to come.

the body electric* is an SYC60 legacy-memory project in 9 episodes—using Whitman's Song of Myself as a symphonic backbone—we embody sound in movement and song, a theatre of voices, a text of the singing body both personal and social.

We start with words, of the body, from the body; for, in the words of Maria Popova, writer–poet–thinker–muse, on the power of song:

In a lifetime of living in this body, I have known no more powerful a homecoming than music—nothing roots us more firmly into the house of being, nothing levitates us more buoyantly to that transcendent place beyond marrow and mind.

"Know your self-body", Movement workshop with Di, 10 Aug 2023

You will sing of a body electric.**

You will unfurl the self and savour the song's arc.

You will sing fearlessly, nailing free-flying notes like a marksman nails skeet.

You will feel the song glide quickly through your ear, shaking mad-sweet pangs through your belly and breath.

You will burn like the sun and let the song run through and rearrange you.

You will let the note split into its own accompaniment.

You will shelter souls in your sound and hold them motionless as the notes themselves, in that safe spot up next to grace and the divine.

You will be afoot with your vision.

You will swim with swimmers, wrestle with the wrestlers, march in line with the firemen, and pause, listen, count.

You will do nothing but listen.

You will not trouble your spirit to vindicate itself or be understood;

the elementary laws never apologise.

You will know you are august.

August 2025, here we come.


*the body electric is co-written by Jennifer Tham, Diana Soh and Americ Goh—SYC alumni singer-composers—together with the SYCESingers, using their responses to (i) Whitman, (ii) SYC commissioned works, and (iii) Di's exortations to Lift–Place–Pull–Push–Drag–Throw–Tear our selves into being.

**Some of these words are mine, some selected by the SYCers from Whitman, some inspired by Richard Powers' 2003 novel The Time of Our Singing.

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