I wandered a bit too far and got lost in the desert of Wadi Rum. Forward, backward and sideways all seemed to lead to the same unknown place. I walked until I came across a young woman and her daughter, hanging laundry outside a tent. I had stumbled by chance upon the home of the highest Bedouin leader, and this is the song he played for me, his unexpected desert guest.

Jordan, The lost song


 
In the strangely beautiful Venezuelan jungle lies the Orinoco River. A sacred river. Home to the Pemon Indians. And a river that seems to hold space for the entirety of everything that surrounds it. I listen to an offering, sung by the medicine women. Medicine songs invoke natural and/or magical powers. Like the Orinoco.

Angel Falls, Strange beautiful


 
We are camped in a tent on the far edges of nature. It is somewhere between pitch black night and dawn.

Connecticut, From a sleeping bag


 
People who work close to the land are the keepers of its spirit. On a small island in Greece, Maria, an 71-year-old shepherdess, starts each day at sunrise and closes it with the round-up and feeding of the family’s sheep in the evening. This has been her life since she was a girl. She knows each animal in her flock by the sound of its bell.

Greece, Sound of the unseen


The Mehrangarth Fort stands 410 feet above the city of Jodhpur. I am lured not only by the verticality of the ascent, but by a voice–young, unrestrained, with the energy of water at a roiling boil. It is hard to separate the place from the voice. And I remember this from The Eyes of the Skin: Buildings do not react to our gaze, but they do return our sound back to our ears.

Jodhpur, Where time becomes a prayer

 

I'm fascinated with sound, both as a way to experience place and to cultivate deep listening. Below are samples of recordings that I've made on various expeditions and encounters, which I use to create larger sound installations and immersive meditations. I call them Sound Portraits because listening is like a soft gaze into what you cannot always see.