Harris & Mendieta


Allyn recording frogsAllyna Harris with various artists, dancers, wordsmiths..

Allyna has worked on a number of fascinating sound projects in recent years. Inspired by artwork, dance and storytelling she has written music and created soundscapes that came from collaborative exchanges and so led her in sometimes surprising directions. She has also composed soundtracks for CBC Sesame Street and numerous personal video projects.

Allyna welcomes proposals from visual artists, filmmakers, dancers and wordsmiths.

A compilation CD of Allyna's soundwork is available by request to artists interested in commissioning soundwork.

Contact Allyna at info@harris-mendieta.com

About some of the soundtracks...


The Crystal Palace and The Crystal Heart Meditation
with mind body therapist Kyra Lober 1990 Two 30 minute pieces supporting Kyra's guided meditations. Kyra wanted the music to help create strong visual images of her described scenes and encounters and to support the various breathing techniques she introduces. The music needed to sound like a bejewelled forest, a cave with a clear pool of water, a crystal palace, and be supportive of the rhythm of the breathwork.
During the recording, crystals were placed throughout the studio, lights were dimmed and incense burned. These rituals were sympathetic with Kyra's work and enhanced our collaboration and the musical interpretation of the text.. (see links)

Womensound/Feminvoix with Maya Lightbody, ceramic sculpture for
the "Earth Mothers" show at the Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal 1993
This piece is composed of 4 vocal tracks which sigh and murmur and sing snatches of melody. The second track was recorded wth the first then the third while only listening to the second, the fourth while only listening to the third. Then the tracks were layered in 14 different combinations. The result is a composition suggesting emotional aspects of female energy and experience, where motifs repeat in unexpected and subtle ways, unifying the whole while moving through ever shifting layers of sound.


The Guardians with Maya Lightbody, ceramic sculpture for "The Guardians" show at the Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal 1995
This piece began with visits to the artist's studio, discussions of the pieces and creating the music in the same time frame as the sculptures were created. There were guardians of the ocean, the trees, the universe and many more. They stood in the studio space like sentinals resonating with their own mythological roots. In writing the music, Allyna imagined these beings walking in a solemn ritualized procession. She created tiny character pieces for each guardian, timed for the pause of each viewer before each piece yet universal enough to influence the viewing in a variety of ways. The basic soundtrack is played with soft mallets and guitar picks directly on the strings of the grand piano. Over this was layered clay hand drums, rattles, a peruvian flute and other percussion instruments.

Oceaniam (Hyoide) with dancer Lee Saunders
Atlantic New Dance Festival 1995
Oceaniam scoreDancer Lee Saunders asked Allyna to write a piece for a section of her piece, Hyoide, called Oceaniam in which the lights go up on stage to reveal a huge ball of paper. Lee Saunders unravels herself out of the ball of paper in an eight minute choreograph from one side of the stage to another. To complement the sound of the paper and and Lee's singing of a rather free vocal piece called Oceaniam, Allyna created a piece using four tracks of ocean waves recorded at various speeds and rhythmically mixed in the studio, resulting in an extravaganza of white noise and a mysterious powerful sound whose origins are now disguised.


Sophia's Daughters with Liz Davidson, mixed media; Maya Lightbody, ceramic sculpture and Stansje Plantenga, paintings
Sophie's Daughters scoreMaison de la Culture Cote des Neiges, Montreal 1996
When Allyna began to work with the artists creating les Filles de Sophie she asked the artists to give her words which described the kind of sounds they envisioned hearing with the final installation. Mountains growing/bleeding through/deep resonance from earth's centre/earth moving through space / whispers / silence / stars twinkling / eternal verity / earth's breathing is suddenly heard/wailing keening/creaking trees/vaguely remembered....so the composer was given a rather large challenge! Allyna then asked the artists to give her single words to whisper. They were enormous / vision / winter / mist / through / diamond / place / incubate / essential / time. The ten words were reordered into five"poems" which formed the whispering track, layered on the sounds of metal chinese exercise balls dropped and rolled on piano strings, a heartbeat, a harp played by the wind, the sound of the wind. The piece was composed using 6 tracks of sound, one pair for each of Sophia's daughters: Faith, Hope and Charity.

Orifices with Monique Girard, painter and Brigitte Graff, dancer and choreographer Galerie Horace, Sherbrooke and Salle Jesu, Montreal 2000
This was a truly collaborative work, with painter working from dance gestures and composer absorbing the gestures and paintings in process and bringing soundtrack ideas to group sessions. The show consists of five triptichs, each representing one of the five senses as experienced through our orifices, hence the title.
The resulting choreography was danced at both vernissages and the soundtrack played continuously throughout the show. Allyna began with footsteps, receding and advancing down corridors, climbing and descending stairs, walking running...The footsteps were then ordered into a series of footstep events. Over this were sighs and moans, sniffs, and eating sounds, cries and laughter, a harp played by the wind, delicately tinkling bells, great piano work, including a bow to Bach. The soundtrack had a great sense of simultaneous space and intimacy, primal, sometimes ominous sounds were layered with sounds of innocence and playfulness. The result was a fascinating work which created an imaginary world in which to experience the paintings.

The Musicians of Bremen with Tim Gosley puppeteer
Centennial Theatre and Bandeen Hall, Bishop's University, Lennoxville and The Haskell Opera House, Stanstead 2002
Tim Gosley, longtime puppetter for such programs as Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock, also pursues a career as a scriptwriter as well as creating new puppet shows for live performance.
The Musicans of Bremen is pure magic! Lights and puppets behind a negative projection screen give a three dimensional feeling to this classic Grimm fairytale (with Tim's personal embellishments) Allyna was thrilled to be asked to improvise a piano soundtrack to accompany the live narration and the visuals as in a silent film. The show has been so far been performed in english, french and german. To book The Musicians of Bremen contact tgosley@attglobal.net