Branches, a Homage to Nature

Branches is a sound-memory that evolved out of a drive years ago down the Bolivian Andes, down a treacherous road often referred to as the “death road”. Branches is based on Wagner’s “Im Treibhaus”, one of many melodies that pop up into my mind in different places of the world. Like confluences of landscape and sound, of memories that unfold and shift from the inner world into an outer experience. Wagner’s song, transformed into Branches, a guided tree meditation, – a homage to nature if you wish. A musical journey with spoken word into a sacred grove that honors the ancient trees of an enchanted forest.

It was years ago when I drove from La Paz to the isolated town of Guanay, located at a river named Maipiri. Cut into the side of the Cordillera Oriental Mountain chain in the 1930s by Paraguayan prisoners, my spectacular and dramatic road trip started in La Paz, at 15,260 ft, and gradually descended to 3,900 ft. The drop in altitude meant I experienced both chilly conditions in the Altiplano highlands and hot humid conditions in the rain-forests below.

As I descended further and further into the jungle, heavy branches latched onto our vehicle. My task as back-seat driver was to push them away so we could pass. It was then and there, I found myself humming Wagner’s tune.

… It turns quiet, a whispered stirring gently fills the air. I see heavy drops that linger, at the petals’ tender fringe.

“Branches”, words & music by Christel Veraart

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