Voices are at the heart of Feel Seen from Toronto-based composer Mingjia.
When you think about it, our voice is a multi-faceted tool. It can be our best defence against isolation and invisibility and our fiercest weapon against hate and injustice. Losing our voice can be just as crippling and debilitating as losing any of our five senses. Though not explicitly about voices, they are at the heart of *Feel Seen* from Toronto-based composer Mingjia Chen, who records and performs as Mingjia.
“I Had A Mouth Once” opens with her own voice, crystalline and refined, soaring ahead of her neoclassical arrangement. “Floatwalking” is inspired by hearing author Andrew Forsthoefel speak about travelling across America on foot, listening to the stories of the people he met along the way and describing the various types of walking he experienced. “Friends” is a veritable sound collage of voices, all describing what having a friend means to them. “Friend,” *Feel Seen*’s final composition, finds Mingjia’s own voice return to the centre as a delicate tune lushly blooms around her.
It’s striking how, in just four compositions, Mingjia manages to communicate an opera’s worth of feelings and emotions, firing all of our senses together at once. We hear her, we feel her, and if you close your eyes and focus on that mellifluous voice, you can see Mingjia’s music take shape in front of you as well.