Letters from musicians: Josephine Foster

As it’s been over a whole year under the pandemic conditions, we reached out to a number of musicians to hear about their varying feelings, realities and experiences during this period. From the ones who replied us back, we collected some answers. We are publishing these interviews one by one. 

Josephine Foster, who provided a shelter that is open to everyone in 2020 with her album No Harm Done on Fire Records, replies us below. 

It’s been over a whole year under the pandemic conditions. How has your work been affected? 

My album recordings shifted focus and personnel. Different, not better or worse. Gonna embrace what is and say it’s for the better.

How has your personal experience been in terms of “adaptation”? 

Caring for people in unexpected ways, whom I ended up in surprise long term dwelling arrangements. Nursing a nurse. Profoundly changed my usual ways of nomadic movement and that’s ok, especially if mother earth wants it, I obey.

What are your demands? 

To not make demands is more like it… to try to serve and accept humbly help from friends and family. We are in it together, always.

How has it affected your approach to music in general? 

It’s gotten me recording more on my own, developing that branch, and having time to finish a lot of loose ends that are not tendable without a fixed residence.

How traceable is it in your recent work? 

Instead of so much live performing its been a more insular contemplative time to compose, work the earth and the immediate vicinity, also a long term return to my home state of Colorado last summer as a fixed point, embracing the old beauty there and landscapes and close to my family, feel this will have long term positive consequences.

What is your main motivation? 

To do what I can to help and serve others, in my case, through music and art, if it may alleviate or balm the souls of others for a few instances, inspire them.  

What has this past year taught you? 

Emily Dickinsons poem which I recorded a decade ago echos on: ‘Trust in the Unexpected…”  Why would any natural disaster be a surprise? Beyond our human shortsightedness and cause and effect, the earth itself is as alive as we are, and if she pleases, as fickle.

Besides the pandemic, what other key changes had effect on you as a musician? 

While in lockdown for months in a Black neighborhood in Nashville, I was deeply moved by the movements and conversations and energy of the streets there during the spring/summer flowering of BLM. I was reminded of the profound ways the culture of these brothers and sisters has inspired my work, in the recording of my album ‘No Harm Done’ which I made at that time and space, living in a house constructed by African Americans and enfolded in their historic neighborhood. 

What pisses you off most? 

The relentless abuse of mother nature by those with the most power to protect her (corporations, trillionaires). The lack of longterm vision and worship of the mothership.

Where do you see hope?  

Devoted participation by each individual for the collective in different ways feels to be growing, as strands of a living web that will steward and enact loving decisions for long term health of all creatures.

This interview is originally published in Turkish in Bant Mag. No: 74, our special music issue.