Bring intention to 2017

Katie Kowalski, arts@ptleader.com
Posted 12/27/16

How do you want to focus your energies in the new year?

Port Townsend musician Aba Kiser (a.k.a. Abakis) is creating a welcoming, music-infused space on New Year’s Eve to help encourage …

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Bring intention to 2017

Posted

How do you want to focus your energies in the new year?

Port Townsend musician Aba Kiser (a.k.a. Abakis) is creating a welcoming, music-infused space on New Year’s Eve to help encourage community members to launch their intentions for 2017.

“I want people to come away feeling like they have at least one thing to focus on in 2017,” Abakis said.

The event – called “Eat. Pray. Dance. 2017.” – is a collaborative musical celebration that features a mini workshop; music by Strong Sun Moon, Cavegreen and Abakis; and a DJ dance set.

Abakis invites people to come with an intention for the new year, and to bring their tools for setting that intention – their skills, their beauty and their art.

“We want to create a supportive environment where people feel like they can really set that intention in motion,” she said.

The event offers a place for people to share what is actually happening in their lives. There’s a lot of “crazy energy” right now, Abakis noted – pointing out that the holidays are a difficult time for many, and the election has added a new level of doubt – and often people feel a need to disappear on New Year’s Eve, to ignore their concerns and “dance it out,” she said.

“When we do that, all the stuff that we’re feeling is still happening, though,” said Abakis, who invites people to “come into the room as you are.”

“Say your intentions for the next year in a space full of people that are here to inspire and support you.”

THE MUSIC

Abakis has brought shows to area venues through a grassroots group called the PT Music Project, which she created to help champion artists, many of whom she knows.

“I have a lot of friends who are traveling musicians,” Abakis said.

Also an event producer for the Washington State University Jefferson County Extension, Abakis has organized shows at venues such as the Palindrome, Room to Move yoga studio and her home, Sky House, which is to be the venue for the New Year’s Eve event.

For each of her events, Abakis aims to create a place of intimacy and respect for artistry. She describes the bands she books as “quality, usually female-fronted musicians from all parts of the county.”

She also aspires to organize a well-curated show, assembling a program of bands that complement each other.

“I really try and curate the shows so that there’s a good blend,” Abakis said.

For the New Year’s Eve show, Abakis is to be the opening performance. “I’m really just on the bill to open up the night and then have fun,” Abakis said. “It’ll be a gift for me to have these beautiful musicians in our home.”

The bands following Abakis are Strong Sun Moon and Cavegreen.

Strong Sun Moon began as a duo, with Camelia Jade and Mike Antone, and has evolved into a five-piece ensemble that composes original pieces drawing on members’ ancestry and cultural influences – from the Pacific Northwest to the Black Sea and South America.

“They’re all dear friends, and you can really see that on stage – the love that they have for each other,” Abakis said. “Their blend is very intimate, and they draw from a whole plethora of cultures and styles, and they blend it together so seamlessly,” said Abakis of the music, which she described as “classic folk meets ancient Chilean folklore.” 

Eleanor Murray of Cavegreen is a multitalented musician, whose work blends electronic and acoustic sounds, Abakis said. “Whenever I feel like I’m having a bad day, I just turn to that music.”

Murray collaborates with GianLuca Bucci, who writes poetry and takes extensive footage of Northwest scenes for Cavegreen’s music videos. “It’s all about reverence for this land,” Abakis said of the band.

Both bands helped out with the event, Abakis said. Murray created and designed the posters, and Jade and Samantha Hiatt of Sun Strong Moon hung up the posers around town. A crew is helping to decorate Sky House for the show, which includes an art installation.

“We’re trying to really create an intentional space for people,” Abakis said.

Community members are invited to bring an intention for 2017 and a dish or drink to share. Suggested donation is $5-$20. No one is turned away for lack of funds, Abakis said. All donations go to the touring bands.

Abakis also noted that parking is very limited, and she encourages carpooling.

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