Little Buddas Dance

Poetry & Lyrics

by sylvi macCormac


The Rose & The Railway

The Rose & The Railway

online ebook soon to be released (2016)

The Rose & The Railway: of Yeats & Nõ Being & Blooming on Line

WB Yeats, the Japanese Nõ Theatre, Maud Gonne and Being in Relationship to Language

Audio Tracks include Aural Shadows, 8 Directions & Railway Lines: Trains o Thought

No Book / E Book  © 1999 / 2010 / 2016  including Hyper_Text_Music_L’image_Sound

presented at Vancouver New Music Festival 2001 *e-lounge*

ABILITIES EXPO! Celebrates the Art of the Possible –  The event was also noteworthy for being the launch of musician sylvi macCormac’s ambitious multimedia project, Th Rose & Th Railway. This combines the written word, with music and environmental recordings to delve back into the life and times of Irish poet WB Yeats. May 2010 ConnecTra Newsletter
– Creating Opportunities for People with Disabilities





S / H / E / R / O / S

sylvi macCormac & Nicole Dextras collaborated to create a hand made paper book

for Heroes March 8-27 during Kickstart Festival 2010

Twenty artists from across Canada explore the meaning of “heroism” from a disability perspective. Curated by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin and Bernadine Fox

Kickstart Festival 2010 – an inspiring array of exhibits, performances and workshops that will be presented to Vancouver audiences, as well as to our 2010 Winter Paralympics guests, from March 8 to 27, Pendulum Gallery, HSBC Building, 885 West Georgia Street
Presented in partnership with the Pendulum Gallery (



sheros 5
available here :

S h e r o s
By Sylvi Maccormack and Nicole Dextras
Vancouver, BC: See Through Publishing, 2010. Edition of 25.

5 x 5″; 14 pages. Accordion structure. Printed on Epson Enhance Matte paper using Ultrachrome pigment inks. Printed with an Epson Stylus Pro 11880. Book design and photograph by Nicole Dextras. Text and original masks by Sylvi Maccormack. Bound in wood boards with black elastic bank closure. Numbered.

Nicole Dextras, artist statement: “Sylvi Maccormack originally created this series of masks in 1987 for WOMAN, the debut performance of Kokoro Dance, presented at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver, Canada. While studying contemporary dance with Barbara Bourget, Sylvi was commissioned to create papier maché masks depicting 5 aspects of womanhood: Child, Mother, Grandmother, Warrior, and Beauty. Since then, the image of the Beauty mask has lived on beyond the performance as an iconic figure on Kokoro Dance t-shirts.

“The book project, in collaboration with artist Nicole Dextras, attempts to give voice to the masks and mask maker, who remains an invis/able poet. It also examines the visibility/invisibility of the artist behind the mask and questions our preconceived notions of hero.”

Sylvi Maccormack is a singer, songwriter, musician, and activist. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1982 at the age of 21.

Nicole Dextras is a Vancouver-based environmental artist who works in a variety of media including sculpture, interactive public installation, and photography.
$425 – See more at:



sheros 3



sheros 1

sheros 2
sheros 4



The Nature and Practice of Soundscape Composition
Bob Gluck, May 2013

Electroacoustic music capturing a sense of place, often the natural environment, has become an accepted
and widely appreciated compositional approach. This is the culmination of several decades of
development, heightened more recently by a strengthening concern about the future of the planet. When
I first discovered this musical world in the mid-1990s, already twenty years into its history, soundscape composition was far less widespread in its reach. When I first sketched this essay in 1999, it was to help clear confusion regarding the aesthetics that differentiated this approach from the more established descendants of Pierre Schaeffer’s musique concrete. I revisit the essay now because this confusion remains, particularly when some listen to Schaeffer’s “Etude aux Chemins de Fer” (1948), which seems to reference a sense of place—a train station—whereas its train-related sounds are merely the raw materials for a non-referential, abstract sound collage and thus not a soundscape composition.

continued …

But is soundscape composition actually akin to language; does it depend upon its referential qualities for its musical integrity? I believe that the answer is “no.” Soundscape composition is not akin to a catalog of sounds from nature. Its power lies in the space that lies between reference/recognition and abstraction, the artistic organization of sounds captivating for their purely sonic qualities. There is a cinematic quality to soundscape composition; both share a power that transcends the literal. They succeed when evoking feelings, ideas, experiences, memories… calling upon the viewer or listener to craft a personal narrative, in a manner than words and images cannot. This is what philosopher Suzanne Langer refers to as music’s “ineffable” quality. The melding of this capability with the sonic richness and deeply meaningful referential nature of sounds from the world offers a unique artistic synthesis.

References include

Sylvi MacCormac, “conversing with nature: Reflections on Hildegard Westerkamp’s Talking
Rain,” Musicworks 74, 1999.

Bob Gluck







Music in Canada: Capturing Landscape and Diversity. By Elaine Keillor.

Includes CD of Canadians at the Keyboard Prior to 1940 (performed by E. Keillor)

Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2006. xii, 499 pp. ISBN 9-780773-53 1772

Bibliography includes: MacCormac, sylvi. 1999. “Conversing with Nature: Reflections on Hildegard Westerkamp’s Talking Rain.” Musicworks 74, no. 2: 8-13



The Book of Music and Nature: An Anthology of Sounds, Words, Thoughts
edited by David Rothenberg, Marta Ulvaeus
Wesleyan University Press, 2001 – Music – 260 pages

This innovative book and virtual, web-based CD, assembled by the editors of the renowned periodical Terra Nova, is the first anthology published on the subject of music and nature. Lush and evocative, yoking together the simplicities and complexities of the world of natural sound and the music inspired by it, this collection includes essays, illustrations, and plenty of sounds and music. The Book of Music and Nature celebrates our relationship with natural soundscapes while posing stimulating questions about that very relationship. The book ranges widely, with the interplay of the texts and sounds creating a conversation that readers from all walks of life will find provocative and accessible.

The anthology includes classic texts on music and nature by twentieth century masters including John Cage, Hazrat Inrayat Khan, Pierre Schaeffer, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Toru Takemitsu. Innovative essays by Brian Eno, Pauline Oliveros, David Toop, Hildegard Westerkamp and Evan Eisenberg also appear. Interspersed throughout are short fictional excerpts by authors Rafi Zabor, Alejo Carpentier, and Junichiro Tanazaki.

The web-based virtual CD includes fifteen tracks of music made out of, or reflective of, natural sounds, ranging from Babenzele Pygmy music to Australian butcherbirds, and from Pauline Oliveros to Brian Eno.

Chapter III The Landscape of Sound
Hildegard Westerkamp Speaking from Inside the Soundscape

excerpts includes: “Voices of a Place” by sylvi macCormac, Vancouver 1998






Corso di diploma accademico
di primo livello in discipline musicali
Musica Elettronica e Tecnologie del Suono
Relatore: Giorgio maestro KLAUER
Tesi finale di: Stefano LIETTI
Matr. 2592 Anno accademico 2012-2013


De Constructing Abuse di Sylvi MacCormac è una composizione di 12’34”
inserita nell’album Raven Shadows del 2006 ed è stata commissionata da NAISA (New Adventures In Sound Art) e dal programma radio della CBC canadese Outfront per la manifestazione Deep Wireless: Radio Art without Boundaries, una kermesse di Radio Art in versione spazializzata presentata come parte delle performance di Radio Theatre al Latvian House di Toronto.
Sylvi MacCormac vuole evidenziare gli effetti psichici provocati dalle
aggressioni. Ha voluto scrivere questa composizione a favore delle persone vittime di violenza sia materiale che psicologica. “…Quando siamo aggrediti da una persona attraverso assordanti parole, gesti e suoni, inevitalmente rompiamo il nostro equilibro interno…”19.
La MacCormac utilizza la propria voce per esprimere pensieri e parole che
diventano loop per rappresentare le ossessioni nelle nostre teste ed usa il pitch shifting per abbassare la voce così da rappresentare sia la parte femminile sia quella maschile. La compositrice inoltre usa il suono del vetro rotto per rappresentare i cocci che si formano nel cuore e nell’anima di chi ha subito violenza ed il suondscape del mare per rappresentare la consolazione e la liberazione dalla violenza stessa. Nel brano sono inclusi una canzone della stessa autrice intitolata Ringing in Our Ears, dall’album Coastal Chants del 1992 and un soundscape registrato nel 2004.

Abusi Distruttivi da: Violenza Domestica
Io sono l’idiota del villagio che reca volumi di saggezza
un altro testo di analisi radicale eccentrico nella biblioteca
cercando qualcosa un rimedio una cura una tintura
per salvare le nostre anime, guarire il nostro essere
spezzato e tradito per aver sopportato la troppa vergogna
siamo tutti immersi nello scandalo
la mia bocca è chiusa e tuttavia le parole escono
perché io sono l’idiota del villaggio e il mio cervello non sarà muto
non sarà paralizzato, non sono l’unica persona
a prendersi la colpa con ulteriore biasimo
colpita e maltrattata pesantemente e ripetutamente
fino all’ultimo respiro quando tutta la rabbia fu troppo forte
e soltanto i suoni penetranti delle voci risuonavano
fermate tutto questo rumore
finchè non rimase più nulla e io lasciai
che i miei sensi nel cuore della notte
danzassero con gli angeli che brillano nel cielo
tu non mi hai colpita
tu hai buttato tutto tranne il lavello della cucina
finchè io non mi sono rannicchiata in un angolo
in fondo al frigorifero
sola fredda e tremante
i sogni cancellati la stima degradata
culturalmente folle clinicamente sana
bugie da decifrare nei libri di cronaca
io sono l’idiota del villaggio che ritorna
io sono l’idiota saggio che pensa al passato

20 Mia traduzione dal testo inglese dal sito dell’autrice:
19 MACCORMAC SYLVI, Raven Shadows, libretto di accompagnamento al cd.

Descrizione tecnica:
Nel brano vengono utilizzati effetti quali la normalizzazione, l’equalizzazione,
il delay, il riverbero, il gain, il pitch shift, il reverse, i loop, il Fade In ed il Fade Out e
la sintesi granulare.

0:00 Mobili scossi
0:04 Vetri rotti
0:09 Voce di donna
0:16 Gabbiani in lontananza ed effetti
1:19 Battito di ali
2:59 Movimento di cassetti pieni
3:02 Tazza mossa
3:24 Voce di uomo
6:22 Granulazione
6:26 Distorsione
6:47 Rumore dell’oceano con gabbiani
7:06 Pianoforte in sottofondo
7:22 Corvi
7:49 Poesia
9:44 Sirena per la nebbia
10:00 Canzone
Stefano Lietti, 2012

Deconstructing Abuse: from Battering in the Kitchen

i am the village idiot carrying books of wisdom
another eccentric radical scanning text in the library
looking for something a remedy a cure a tincture
to save our souls heal our (w) holes
broken and betrayed carrying too much shame
we are all implicit in the scandal
my mouth is shut and still the words come out
for i am the village idiot and my brain will not go dumb
will not go numb i’m not the only one
to take the blame along with another lashing
battered and abused overwhelmed and overused
till desperate spirits flew when all the rage was far too loud
and only piercing sounds of voices rang
stop that humming and finish scrubbing
till there was nothing left and i left
my senses in the middle of the night
to dance with angels that twinkle in the sky
you didn’t hit me
you threw everything but the kitchen sink
till i cowered in the vegetable box
at the bottom of the fridge
alone and cold and trembling
dreams erased esteem debased
culturally insane clinically intact
deciphering lies in books of fact
i am the village idiot coming back
i am the idiot savant staring back
© sylvi & see through publishing spring 1996 (socan)

De Constructing Abuse (12:30) 2004
commissioned by and
on Raven Shadows CD 2006 & –

DEEP WIRELESS CD I 2004 includes
Railway Lines : Trains of Thought (7:5o)
Witness: Round journey (7:oo xrpt)
does this SOUND like me ? (1:oo:oo) online

Now in its third year, New Adventures in Sound Art is again producing the commission/residency opportunity as part of Deep Wireless, co-produced with CBC Radio’s “Out Front” and Charles Street Video. 2004 Deep Wireless artists are Marilyn Lerner, sylvi macCormac, Marion van der Zon and Richard Windeyer, with peices broadcast on CBC Radio from May 24-27 and spatialized versions presented on May 28th & 29th as part of the “Radio Theatre” performances at the Latvian House.De Constructing Abuse (12:30) by sylvi macCormac appears on Raven Shadows CD (2006)
Railway Lines : Trains of Thought (7:50)
from Deep Wireless CD I also appears online at Third Coast Festival
Radio Art from Canada – sylvi macCormac writes : Railway Lines: Trains of Thought stretches the Boundaries of Radio by collaging sound, story and song in an aural journey. This composition strives to extend the familiar structures of radio and music, by transforming sound sources with signal processing and combining them in creative ways, while inviting the listener into an imaginary journey along metaphoric Railway Lines. A child of Irish Immigrants who grew up on the West Coast of Canada, though no longer able to walk or play an instrument because of Multiple Sclerosis, I am “still brave” because of my community and because Electroacoustic Soundscape composition and “New and Improved” Radio provides me access to transcend Dis-Ability and continue to explore Fields of Sound. The Railway has both transported and run over many lives, both first nations and immigrants, in its quest for expansion and development. The Railway, while being sold out from under our feet, is still symbolic of various lines (commodities/communication/cultures) that break us apart and vibrant lines that bind us together as community in the unique and changing cultural horizon that is Canada.