September 1, 2009
By Robert L. Obrien (Columbia, Maryland USA)
The set of compositions entitled Street Angel Diaries may be likened to a “wind that blows where it will” and the soundscapes used throughout the set of compositions may be described as “a sound from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind”. These compositions are a reflection of the winds of change; for the underlying driving force behind these compositions is hope for a change in the hearts of those who listen to Mary Lou Newmark’s set of compositions.
The spirit of these compositions comes upon listener and “overshadows” them, so that they might conceive of better world and be a part of a re-birth of this great country in which they live in. The “clouds” depicted within these compositions “overshadow” the listener. The voices contained within these compositional “clouds” are speaking to the listener with a clear and present message that directs the listener to exhibit fruits of the spirit which may be manifested in the practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
September Issue 2008
By Massimo Ricci
This is a brief miscellany (25 minutes) of the music born from a multimedia performance about living rough – “Street Angel Diaries” – crafted by composer, poet and electric violinist Newmark, whose academic background is quite remarkable. Understandably, one gets a better overall impression of the effort by attending the show (video excerpts exist on YouTube and the label’s website), but what emerges from this taster is notable enough for an optimistic idea. On a purely superficial first listen, someone might have a propensity to think of “another Laurie Anderson”; this would be unjust. MLN’s compositional flair is rendered evident by a singular way of pulling together field recordings, Pro Tools-concocted sequences of erratic twists and turns – including ironic hints to techno and electronic time warps – and vocal elements (the texts derive from stories told by homeless people, the essential issues underlying this matter too many to sum up in a review: check www.streetangeldiaries.com to expand your ultimate interest). Newmark’s neon-lit violin is not necessarily a stable presence, which is just fine in this great scheme. Above all, she demonstrates – both through the writings and the sounds produced – to be a sensitive individual, an exceptional quality these days.
February 18, 2008
By Aloysius Ezeonyeka (Los Angeles, USA)It’s hard to find the right words to express the frightening ordeal of homelessness in America. Yet, in the “Street Angel Diaries” music, Mary Lou Newmark captures this disturbing reality. It is an exceptionally creative collection of music that challenges social indifference and awakens us to something about which we should all be concerned. The music is punctuated with a mantric repetition of the greatest frustration of homelessness: “I see no one and no one sees me.”
Newmark uses poetic expressions, electronic sound effects, human voices, and natural sounds to depict the despair, pain, confusion, and frustration of the homeless people. The Street Angel Diaries is not meant to comfort us or support our complacency, but to spur us on to action.
This audio CD could be used in family, school, and/or group settings to teach or draw people’s attention to the sad realities of homelessness in the most wealthy and powerful country in the world.