songwrights apothecary lab

Songwrights Apothecary Lab (a.k.a. S.A.L.) seeks to respectfully dip into the healing seas of music/musicianship/song, and distill a few grains of piquancy which carry the life-renewing flavor of the unfathomable ocean of human resiliency, then work those grains into new musical formwelas, to enhance the healing flavors and intentions innate in all works of devoted creatorship.

In this ongoing lab, we experiment with sprinkling the many distillations of S.A.L. into our song wrighting, and invite you to taste/hear these enhanced essences and flavors.

(S.A.L. is also a lab esperanza co-curates at various institutions of learning)

Half songwrighting workshop, and half guided-research practice, the Songwrights’ Apothecary Lab (S.A.L.), seeks to develop a structure for the collaborative development of new compositions designed to offer enhanced salutary benefit to listeners.

The course is rooted in a transdisciplinary station, orienting itself towards archives and literature that study healing strategies drawn from a diverse range of music-based creative and therapeutic practices.
All Formwelas (songs) from the S.A.L. are created through our research, divination, intuition, musicianship, taste, inspiration, and collaborative effort to design songs that enhance a specific salutary affect. 

The formwelas offered here are not presented as potential “solutions”.  Rather, they are responses to the ongoing question guiding the beings collaborating within the Songwrights Apothecary Lab.

those beings being:

  • the 2020’ and 2021’ cohorts of student songwrights, student researchers (including esperanza), and the practitioners comprising our guiding council.

  • Dr. Shorter

  • ancestors, and artisans of the lineages informing and doing the real work within this work.

“If one of my friends is ill, I’d like to play a certain song and he will be cured”

    – John Coltrane

“us too.”

    – esperanza spalding and the S.A.L.

esperanza spalding

“i wish to channel the spaciousness, harmony and renewing power of the fecund land, channel it to the middle of the man-made fires

learn how to send it through the center of the ache, constriction, resistance, pain, stress, woe, worry…

I want to flow a music of soothing, energizing, and remembrance of life-sustaining systems through which we are each woven…

i want to carry a flow of that remembering into the center of the city…and the city of self.”

esperanza spalding (also known as irma nejando, or, i.e.) is a being who has grown to recognize love in the abstract and aspirational, and is now fully dedicated to learning how she can serve and embody actualized love through honor for and receptivity to, fellow humans, teachers, and practitioners of various regenerative arts.

bass, piano, composition, performance, voice and lyrics are tools and disciplines she is engaged in deeply to cultivate her own channel for transmitting care and beauty through vibration/sound/presence.

she has written an Opera with Wayne Shorter, it premiered in Fall 2021 // she is currently developing a mockumentary in collaboration with brontë velez and San Francisco Symphony // researching and developing liberation rituals in jazz and black dance //  and continuing a lifelong collaboration with practitioners in various fields relating to music, healing and cognition to develop music with enhanced therapeutic potential.

in collaboration with Songwrights Apothecary Lab and AntonioBrownDance she is developing a series of multi-week residencies between local museums, universities, and performance-venues, through which local students, dance-music professionals, health researchers and practitioners co-learn and co-develop creative practices toward the restoration of people and land.

songwrights apothecary lab
purchase the album  ︎︎︎

thank you

thank you. thank you. thank you, to the beings whose expertise, honesty, generosity, open-ness, creativity, diligence, thoroughness, love and musicianship, patience and peership made/make this offering possible:

To the 2020’ Songwrights Apothecary Lab inaugural cohort of student songwrights, student researchers, and the practitioners comprising our guiding council -your care, integrity, brilliance and exploratory nature inspire me/us to continually expand our hearts and imaginations //

Dr. Wayne Shorter // the inaugural cohort of the Prismid Sanctuary artists-retreat // Mike and Laila // Ganavya, Grant, Nivi, Marisol, Britton, Leo, Mela, Corey, Aaron, Matthew, Eben, Fern, Alex, Oscar, T.L., Mike, Intisar, Abibat // extra special thank you to Héloïse! // special thank you to Adriana! // Anna, Concord team, Shorefire team // LMCC and River to River Festival // Lili and Nanette! // The Clemente // family team  // elders, friction-causers, mentors, ancestors, and artisans of all lineages informing and doing the real work within this work.
Produced by
esperanza spalding 

Photography by
LaMont Hamilton, Holly AndresJati Lindsay, Samuel Prather

Art Direction & Graphic Design by
Lawrence Azerrad, LADdesign Inc.

Web Design & Development by
Christian Pugsley