Wails: Songs for Grief


This is it. Dream come through. With your support, Alexandra Blakely and friends will be recording an album entirely dedicated to grief in July 2023 with over 150 voices. This album is called “WAILS: songs for grief,” and it is inspired by the five gates of grief from Francis Weller’s book, “The Wild Edge of Sorrow.” There will be a song for each gate - an opening and closing song and an opening and closing invocation/prayer/spell. This album is meant to be like sitting in a circle, a ceremony if you will, to honor grief in a culture that is grief-illiterate & grief phobic.

The $11,111 we raise will go towards studio space, studio time, engineers, music production, musicians, artists, mixing, mastering and feeding the choir!

When you donate, make sure you fill out this registration form, and we will send you a digital download of the album when it comes out in Fall of 2023.

Another way to support is by helping spread the word. We have put together this social media toolkit to make it easy for you to share this with your networks and get the word out!

These funds also support the recordings of humpback whale song to weave in and throughout the album. Whales teach me how to breathe into my body so that I may grieve (wail), and they model how to journey to the underworld and rise back up again into the light.

This album is birthed out of the community singing tradition that rejects “good” & “bad” singing binaries, rather views singing as an inherent birthright to all humans. It is more about how it feels in the body and the benefits from singing together, i.e. unlocking stagnated emotions such as grief that live in hidden caverns of many a body. Not to mention the amplified frequencies of aliveness that the beyond human world receives from the unified voices.

If we grieve people going to war, we bring to light the absurdity of it. Instead, if we forbid grieving, we can glorify and celebrate the folks who "die for a cause." If we grieve anti-blackness and white supremacy, then we have to look at it. If we grieve capitalism, then we might have to reimagine our economy. If we grieve the climate crisis, then we might need to change EVERYTHING.

Death (in many of its forms) has historically been the most socially acceptable reason for grief. And even then, we are only allotted a certain, short amount of time to do it. "aren't you over it yet?" "something is wrong with her..." "she has been grieving for too long; it is time for her to move on."

Grief isn't something we get over. Do you get over happiness? Or have we accepted happiness as something that comes and goes? Something that ebbs and flows? Grief is this way too.

Grief is not a sign of weakness or to be pathologized. NO. Grief is a sign of the depth of our love for the world. "to love is to accept the rites of grief," -Francis Weller.

I believe grief processes to be part of the body's inherent wisdom of internal cleansing. Relieving us of unmetabolized aches and pains that, if left unattended, become our depression, our physical ailments, our shadows & our venom that we spray onto others.

These songs are a commitment to this apprenticeship with sorrow, to bringing it back into the balance of life. The acknowledgment that grief is deeply connected with joy, pleasure & our capacity to face this seemingly backwards world and to witness her beauty as well. These songs remind us to continuously return to the altar as a form of ongoing soul maintenance. To wail, to cry, to pray, to travel to the underworld and to return again, again, again.

Thank you for believing in the power of song, of singing together, of community, of circle work, of ceremony, of prayer and of grieving: of grief as a form of honoring that which we love.

Love,

Ahlay

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