Music and Lyrics by Michele Brourman
Produced by M.J. Denton
For a number of years, I composed incidental music for a series of plays directed by the brilliant and innovative director Steven Kent. One of the last projects we did was a docu-theatre piece called “AIDS/US/WOMEN: Silent No More. The script, by Michael Kearns, was a weave of stories from women who were dealing with AIDS: one woman who’d lost both her husband and their infant to AIDS and was struggling with her own illness, another woman whose adult son had died of AIDS who then started caring for other AIDS-stricken young men, a defiant, outspoken Trans woman who had contracted AIDS along with her partner. Each of the women had told their own stories in a series of interviews – and were brave enough to stand onstage together and tell those stories. I wept through the first read-through, humbled by their honesty, their fragility and their strength. At the very end, Steven announced “And we’ll close with the anthem that Michele is going to write for us.”
For weeks, I couldn’t come up with anything. How could I write anything worthy of these women and what they were living through? Three days before the first rehearsal. Steve called me and said “I’m coming over Saturday morning to hear the song.” What song?!!! I combed through the script again; this time a sentence leaped out at me.
From Connie Norman, a trans radio talk show hostess and AIDS activist:
“If something scares you, honey, RUN to it – cause you won’t be able to escape it.”
And finally, a song started to take shape in my head.
The women weren’t really singers, and they were physically fragile. So I went into the studio with my friend M.J.Denton. Together we produced a track – then asked a clutch of wonderful women to sing on it. For the actual live performances, the women onstage sang along with our prerecorded vocals. They were gorgeous! Steve gave them only one gesture – at the very end of the song, he asked them to breathe in. And then exhale.
The singers who contributed their voices for the recording are, in order of appearance: Tata Vega, Renee Armand, Ali B Olmo, Jan Daley, Lisa Harlow Stark, and Karen Kraft.