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Humans in Harmony Magazine Call for submissions


Throughout the past months, we’ve been longing for presence, contact, and physicality with each other. We’ve also struggled to make sense of the other polar—the meaning of loss, distance, and virtuality.

We are prompted to explore new channels of togetherness: under the fuzzy light of the screen, by the imagined stage of internet platforms, we speak and write, sing and dance, so close and so far, present with passions, toasting to absence.

Still, we miss the restaurant juiced with herbs and spices, the classroom where we don’t have to read eyes, the doors that witness our hugs of hello and goodbye, the concert hall with melodies walking into each other…….

We sway back and forth, continue to create connections on the delicate borderline, to explore this liminal space in between.

We’re looking for articles, editorials, interviews, art, and pitches that may pertain to Humans in Harmony’s Issue 1 theme: Absence, Presence, and the Space Between.

Send all submissions to collabarts@humansinharmony.org. Submissions should be unpublished, original work. If applicable, include all credits in the email.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to collabarts@humansinharmony.org with any questions.

Max + Gloria’s Collaboration Journal

New Project Concept Art:

Our process was relatively odd in that we began our online collaboration project during a socially distanced outing in New York City’s Riverside Park. Seeing the familiar sight of a friend after a long period of quarantine was such a gift. Not long after catching up and sharing stories, we had already begun writing lyrics for our future collaboration.

We started with a brainstorm of ideas, concepts, feelings, experiences, situations and beyond. We discussed Covid-19 and how it affected artists and education before moving to more imaginative topics.

One common interest we landed upon was the way we felt that certain accomplished or amazing individuals can seem impossibly distant or unreachable at times while probably being quite relatable in real life. This train of thought subconsciously helped us in the next phase of writing lyrics.

Instead of laying our goals out clearly beforehand, we dove right into the lyrical content of our piece. Lounging on a picnic blanket in the warm summer sun (6ft apart), we took turns jotting lines down in a journal. Our initial draft became our final set of lyrics for the project – unpolished but true to how we felt in the moment.

……………………………………………………….

Lyrics to “Twilight Entropy”:

Resonate like a flaming star

Joined by constellations

Mountain peaks right where you are

Think so much but I say none

Light the ocean in your reflection

Escape through silent ripples

Twilight Entropy distilled 

Whatever comes, only to be spilled

so long shadow in the corner

I’m off go anywhere for you

I’m taking the steps that I need to to break through to you

I don’t got all the answers now,

navigate break away the doubt

you and I could run this town

darling, we’ll figure it out

When reality crushed our art

I held on to the spark

moments never felt so dark

like Noah’s ark, we’re just binary stars

tears sear down, they burn so sharp

yet so beautiful are these scars

so long shadow in the corner

Did I tell you I adore you

I’m taking the steps that I need to to break through to you

I don’t got all the answers now,

navigate break away the doubt

you and I could run this town

darling, we’ll figure it out

Will you let me in? (repeated)

Will you let me in my darling?

I don’t got all the answers now,

navigate break away the doubt

you and I could run this town

darling, we’ll figure it out

X2

……………………………………………………….

We felt that the spoken images – while not perfectly blending together – evoked the idea of “I don’t got all the answers now” that we had been unknowingly working towards. Using this momentum, we pushed forwards hoping to expand and grow on the words on the page through melody, harmony, and eventually production.

Our process for melody was similar to that for our lyrics. We took turns singing the words on the page, giving them melodies and a tempo, and recording all of our attempts with voice memos. Then we sorted through and picked our favorite sections and phrases from different recordings. From this, we made a single compilation of melodies that comprised our song. We were satisfied and felt that the melody helped describe our thoughts in ways beyond words. 

Excited to keep moving, we quickly got our hand on a guitar and began using the notes of the melody to reverse-engineer chords for harmony. This took us around 45 minutes, and from that we had a final draft of our song!

Later on in a virtual setting, we decided that the unpolished lyrics lent to the idea of not having all “the answers now,” and were okay without further revision. Instead we focused the rest of effort on the production, using lots of different digital techniques to completely change the sound and presentation of the song. The final unmixed product of this project is below, if you would like to listen!

“Twilight Entropy” Draft 1 Unmixed

However, seeing as we began this project in person together, we decided to keep creating a new project in the same vein~ using the same concept but trying the full process virtually! 

Most of our conversations and reimaginations have happened so far through text. Fortunately, we have a lot of the song already complete (lyrics, melody, and harmony) and have a sense of our next steps, direction, and ability to meet virtually. Our lyrics, melody, and structure all need some revision and redrafting, but here is how they stand for now! “Tapestry”:

Wherever your head’s at I’ll meet you there

Whatever the story We’ll be prepared

Your hurried steps, they take you far

Heading for the breach

Do you know just what you seek?

A bit of envy on your cheek

Can I brush it off for you to see

There’s a tapestry 

Your reaction to chase the sun

Don’t need a grand script just to be

There’s a tapestry

Life lines laced,

But then again something changes 

when the tides come and favor one soul,

break the balance away

    The sand dunes shifting

And the peaks rearrange, 

but the grains still remain, stay unchanged

The simple light, the story of the sun

But when the day is done, 

An infinite array of stars above

Glancing through a telescope,

But in your heart do you know?

Your hurried steps that take you far

Now heading for the breach

Do you know what you seek? 

A bit of envy on your cheek

Can I brush it off for you to see

There’s a tapestry

Your reaction to chase the sun

Don’t need a grand script just to be 

There’s a tapestry

Bridge:

(Not yet written)

Final chorus:

(May change some of the lyrics)

Outro:

(Production/riffs)

Here is a rough draft recording so far!

“Tapestry” Rough Draft

“Tapestry” is about the idea that everyone is the main character of their own life. We are all complex and unique individuals that exist in an intricately laced fashion, creating one massive tapestry. The idea behind the song is that there are sometimes two scales upon which to judge a person and their story… the individual level where everyone is the main character and equal in that right, and the universal level where there are certain individuals with interesting and impactful stories ~ this second group could be seen as the main characters of the world, and feeding into this mentality might cause one to blindly follow a detrimental ideal. The chorus of “Tapestry” speaks to this, validating every individual as important and interesting and intrinsically connected in the nature of our universal tapestry. We hope to keep expanding on this idea and develop the song to a finished state and maybe make some visuals after that!

Thank you for reading!! Would love to hear your thoughts, comments, suggestions 🙂

Max & Gloria

Pavel and Gideon’s Collaboration Journal

Pavel and Gideon were both glad to be connected as a part of the HiH CollabArts Project given their shared Princeton major: (astro)physics (Pavel is a “recent” alumnus [PHY ‘15] and Gideon is an incoming junior [AST ‘22]). However, this project was more focused on art.

Pavel suggested a theme he has been slowly working on since December of last year (since the pre-pandemic era), building a shared space around the idea of giving and incorporating elements of Effective Altruism to turn the act of individual philanthropy into a collective endeavor. Together, they decided to make a short promotional video about this topic for Pavel to use with his upcoming project. With their idea and medium in mind, Pavel decided to look more into the video content, while Gideon decided to start making music to accompany the video.

Over the past few weeks, Pavel created an outline for the video focusing on the mindset of scarcity and how we can overcome this obstacle to collectively do the most good in society. Below is a two-slide outline of his envisioned structure for the clip; please let us know what you think of these ideas [Side note: the link he had created back in January to collect people’s responses on causes dear to them is https://onhumanity.net/: feel free to submit your cause area there!]. We would like the video to incorporate something people can relate to on a personal level, and not something too abstract and technical.

Pavel_Collab_Slide1_Problem
Slide1 – Problem

Pavel_Collab_Slide2_Solution
Slide2 – Solution

For context on some of the terms used above, here is Princeton Professor Peter Singer’s TED talk about Effective Altruism, and here is a TED talk by renowned philosopher Rutger Bregman introducing the concept of UBI through a description of the root causes of poverty and, in particular, the mindset of scarcity. 

While Pavel was creating content for the clip’s message, Gideon started coming up with themes and ideas for the music that would accompany the video. He had to create a piece of music that started off somber, but built to something more hopeful and bright. With this in mind, he created various “happy” and “sad” themes to work into the video. Below is a sample of one of the themes he created which starts out somber but grows into something brighter. Please give it a listen and let us know what you think. We want our project to be appealing to a wide audience; any tips and/or constructive criticisms are welcome.

Thank you for reading about our project in this forum post, and we hope you are as excited about seeing the final result as we are. Good luck to the other groups in finishing their projects and we hope to hear your feedback soon!

Very Best,

Pavel & Gideon

Haitian + Jacqueline’s Collaboration Journal

We started with random random questions for each other to answer, from favorite candle scents to thoughts on memory and forgetting. Eventually what we landed on was our state of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic. Haitian started to talk about her experience of living in a rented apartment and hearing sounds from her neighbor through the thin wall. We then had the idea of the song being about the protagonist’s observation of their neighbor’s everyday life: waking up, leaving for work, the little dog who’s left behind in an empty room, door opening and closing, footsteps, and “my” identification with this little company……

But then we thought it might be too creepy intervening private space although it’s without any intention. We retrieved back and focused on the idea of missing someone’s presence in our everyday lives before the pandemic. Jacqueline started sharing a couple of songs that also dwelled upon the vibe of “everyday life”–such as Jung seung hwan’s Timeline, and Bruno Major’s Nothing.

We listed the things we miss that we took for granted: crowded metro, studying at library or cafe with friends, late night/early morning walks, hugs, high fives, going to the movies, picnic, and simply talking person-to-person.

After a couple of brainstorming meetings on theme, we decided to embark on our own lyric writing. It was a long process finding the right words and imagery for the lyrics. Lyric-writing took the longest portion of our collaboration so far.

Brainstorming Ideas and Finding Rhymes
Phrases that we liked but not sure how to put it in a song

As we explored the lyrics together, Jacqueline embarked on composing the music/melody for the song. We discussed a couple of styles and the kind of atmosphere we wanted the music to be: maybe a combination of melancholy and hope, stagnation in solitude and the faith in sharing an experience, memory, and time. In our text messages to each other, Haitian shared Lee Juck’s The Things We Took for Granted, and Jacqueline shared Lee Jin-ah and Onew’s Starry Night. We thought we would go with the kind of vibe similar to these two songs, and here is a sample of Jacqueline’s composition : )

Short Snippet of First draft of the song

Fine-polishing our words and fitting them into the right rhythm, we finished our lyrics.

It is amazing how our storyline and setting scenes shifted as we moved from one draft to another. 😀

Now we are working on the music video. Just like how we shared our favorite songs, we shared our favorite music videos. We naturally agreed on doing stop motion/drawings with simple lines. Google slides were really helpful in collecting our ideas, inspirations, and references together.

With a vague sense in mind what style we agreed upon, we each drew a sketch. Haitian drew the first verse and Jacqueline did the second verse.

Haitian’s Sketch – “Stuck in the night, lost in the moments we shared”
Haitian’s Sketch – “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this street never ends”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Running to catch the train, from our endless chats”
Haitian’s Sketch – “Your words still linger in my ear”

Meanwhile… Jacqueline’s sketches are very simple… haha

Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Rain pouring down”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Echoing my empty heart”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Who else is around,”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Watching the sky without stars?”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “Searching for a stream of”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “moonlight in the dark”
Jacqueline’s Sketch – “I am on my way to you”
Jacqueline’s Sketch

When we met up again, we thought about combining both our styles, meeting somewhere between detailed drawings and simple lines. Jacqueline went on working on more music while Haitian continue experimenting on drawings.

This collection of drawings for the line “You’d walk me home, I’d wish this road never ends” has its inspiration from “After a tiring day passes, underneath the moonlight, two people become one shadow,” a line from Sung Si Kyung’s Two People. We had wanted to adapt it to our own lyrics but faced constraints with the rhythm, so we decided to still include it somehow in our music video sketches.

We are continuing to work on finalizing the music and music video. Moving forward, our title is not yet decided. We would love to hear your input on how you think.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Haitian and Jacqueline :^)

Call for creative thinkers and makers!

Call for creative thinkers and makers! Form here: bit.ly/HiHCollabArt

Apply to be a creative collaborator with Humans in Harmony! This is a process and space to connect with others, and to create and share musical or other creative collaborative projects. The aim is to engage in mutual learning and discovery with one another, and to jointly create our stories and possibilities together. Even if you are new to songwriting, creative writing, visual arts, or other creative arts, we encourage you to co-create with us. We believe that everyone is an artist and every person has a story to tell.

How it works: This summer, we’ll pair you with another collaborative artist and walk you through the process of creating a virtual project together (a 4-week creative process). We’ll launch a fundraising campaign to share works in furthering aims of social connection and community, and publish all creative works on our website or through Spotify/Apple Music. The collective projects will all be a part of an album and online portfolio under a central theme based on the works created.

We invite you to apply by July 1st and join us! We look forward to hearing your stories.

Alright

Monami, a.k.a. “Monami Tsunami,” a young man at NY Sheltering Arms Children and Family Services Inc, partners with Viemma Nwigwe, a medical student at Columbia University to write this song, which Monami hopes “encourages people going through domestic violence and bullying that life is worth living.” Viemma found it “incredibly surreal” to hear how “incredibly open” Monami was in sharing his story.

In the words of Monami and Viemma (introduction):

Monami: This song is about things I went through with my mom and how she was very abusive towards me, and didn’t accept me and stuff, and basically not liking me the way I am…

Viemma: Why don’t you tell them why this song is called “Alright”

Monami: “Alright” is basically about things you’re going through with bullying, domestic violence at home or anywhere – it gets better, and letting you know it’s all temporary and stuff. I wanna show people things I went through my mom and everything. The things she did to me, I want to share that with other people. To show people and give people the courage that I got out of it, you can get out of it too.

Viemma: That’s also his favorite word, “alright”…

Monami: Yeah it’s my favorite word too, it make people laugh too.

Viemma’s Reflection

This was my first time participating in an HiH workshop and I couldn’t ask for a better experience! My partner was incredibly receptive to working with me and we enjoyed getting to know one another before diving into the song writing. We discovered that we had a few things in common which was great. My partner was really open with me, sharing some very personal things about himself and inviting me to have a conversation about it. I did not expect this at all, but I am super grateful to have been allowed into his world for a few hours. The song writing part was incredibly collaborative, and I felt incredibly welcome to chip in. While I had the context of our song in mind, the process of writing lyrics added a whole new dimension to my partner’s story. It was an incredibly surreal experience to see my partner’s raw emotions on paper. Our song lyrics revealed so much more than what my partner had originally shared. I felt like I knew more, and I couldn’t help but feel touched. Putting the lyrics and instrumental together to complete our song was incredibly satisfying as it was tangible proof of the time we had spent together. After the workshop, I was elated. My mood had improved drastically. Even now, as I reflect on my first HiH workshop, I can’t help but smile. I would definitely love to do this again.

Moon And Stars

“My love for you goes on forever
Way beyond moons and stars
But then I just know one thing
I will always love you.”

“My love for you goes on forever
Way beyond moons and stars
But then I just know one thing
I will always love you.”

Storyteller: Child in foster care, NYC

What would you like your song to be about? I love my grandmother. She lives in Virginia.

Any certain words or phrases to include? Moon, stars

Songwriter: Daniel, middle school student, NYC

“I’m Daniel; you know me. I am your sing a song buddy and I had so much fun writing this song. I wrote about how much you love about your grandma and it’s no surprise because you love everyone. And so yeah, I hope you enjoy it.”

Song Lyrics

Dear my dearest Nana
I’m sorry that I can’t see you.
Even though you live in Virginia
I hope to see you soon.

My love for you goes on forever
Way beyond moons and stars
But then I just know one thing
I will always love you.

I remember running to your arms.
I know I’m your favorite too.
Just tired of waiting for summer
I’m real excited to see you.

My love for you goes on forever
Way beyond moons and stars
But then I just know one thing
I will always love you.

Way beyond the moon and stars
Beyond the galaxy and the sea
Climb right into your heart
No matter how far you are.

Because Nana,
Oh my love goes beyond
The stars.
No matter where you are
My love for you goes on beyond
The stars.

 

Life Unclassed

“I’ve fought for this freedom / To live life unclassed / For citizens, Americans / For kindness to last.”

“I’ve fought for this freedom
To live life unclassed
For citizens, Americans
For kindness to last.”

Storyteller: Veteran, 71, Bronx Veteran Affairs Community Living Center, Bronx, NY

Favorite Place: New York

Favorite Person: Elizabeth Taylor

Favorite Quote: “the corps, the corps, the corps” – Douglas MacArthur

Military Service: Army; “mud, water, snow–it was terrible”

“Fighting For:” Equality for women, Black movement, God’s kingdom

Favorite music: Rock n’ Roll, Soul, Classical

Favorite artists: Beatles, Rolling Stones, Nancy Wilson

Favorite songs: “This Will Be Everlasting Love”

What would you like your song to be about?

“I enjoy the cool air in the fall, and the falling snowflakes. It’s pleasing to the senses. I was in Korea, and snow, and we fall asleep almost become it’s so cold and snowy and the wind blowing the snowflakes. It hypnotizes you. [I was] in Korea in 1963 for 13 months…because I left the paratroopers. I had a plan in God and had to do what I planned.”

“I love my wife’s patience, kindness–she lives in California and she comes [to] visit. We met as children, separated in Korea. She’s from Chicago, the windy city, she has to like wind and snow. I love her teasing, rejoicing in Christ.”

Any certain words or phrases to include? Women fall in love with love.

SongwriterArjun Devraj, 17, Marquette High School, Chesterfield, MOs 

Song Lyrics

I’m stuck here Tumbling around
Repetition Drills, I’m feeling pretty down
Dirt clogs pores, I’m sinking in the ground
In this soul sucking mud, but I’m on my way out

Wind blows back, Leaves in my hair
My parched face shrivels from the death in the korean air
Snow pierces, shards cut my skin
But we’re Trudging forward, marching on, surviving the wear

Hardships
Chapped lips
What little price to pay
We’re freedom fighters, striving for a better today

And now I’m sitting in new york
Looking back in the past
I’ve fought for my life
And I know I will last
I’ve fought for this freedom
To live life unclassed
For citizens, americans
For kindness to last

7 thousand miles, love stretched apart
But there ain’t nothing that can wash away the flames in our heart
Love flickers, but burns through the night
Don’t doubt me, i’ll be with you like the stars in the sky
I miss you, my memory is sick,
But neither war nor disease can sever our bond,
Injustice, tears our worlds apart,
But I’ve been sent a journey searching to define my own fate

Hardships
Chapped lips
What little price to pay
We’re freedom fighters, striving for a better today

And now I’m sitting in new york
Looking back in the past
I’ve fought for my life
And I know I will last
I’ve fought for this freedom
To live life unclassed
For citizens, americans
For kindness to last

Hardships
Chapped lips
What little price to pay
We’re freedom fighters, striving for a better today

And now I’m sitting in New York
Looking back in the past
I’ve fought for my life
And I know I will last
I’ve fought for this freedom
To live life unclassed
For citizens, Americans
For kindness to last

 

Let Us Be Strong

“I love you out on my own, let us be strong.”

“I love you out on my own, let us be strong.”

Storyteller: Child in foster care, 11, Children’s Aid and Family Services of NJ

Favorite music: Rap, pop, rock, hip hop Rand B, Disney

Favorite artist/song: R5 – Out On My Own

What would you like your song to be about? A special person that is my good friend

Pick a theme: It would have a birthday city with beats (headphones) and Jordans.

Do you have a title in mind? “Let us be strong”

Any certain words or phrases to include? Brave, courage, confendance

Any lyric ideas? It’s hard without you and I want you back. So many things have gone wrong and every day I want you to be my friend, but let us be strong and everything I’m out on my own and I’m looking for you, but one day I tried to make you my friend but let us be strong. Out on my own and I fallen for you let us be strong and I’ll be fine. I love you out on my own, let us be strong.

SongwriterAlex Vu, student at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons 

Song Lyrics

The city lights the Hudson
Giving cold shoulders
You think falling’s easier now
Now that I’m older

But darling, life’s hard without you
And I need you back
Let me be your friend
Let me have that chance
Let me sing a song
Let me play along
Let me be
Let me be strong

City girl dreams meets Jordans
And a brand new face
But it’s hard to be brave
In this restless places 

But darling, life’s hard without you
And I need you back
Let me be your friend
Let me have that chance
Let me sing a song
Let me play along
Let me be
Let me be strong

Baby look at me
You can be strong too
Give love a chance
There’s no need to be blue

But darling, life’s hard and you
You can use this song
Let it soothe your heart
Let it play the part
Let us sing this song
Let us play along
Let us be
Let us be strong