“Let’s go out and play,” were the first words that I heard Ganavya sing. I was transfixed, on the carpeted floor at an apartment complex in Washington Square Park. Suddenly, it was as if I was young again, mourning a time of my innocence. She continued, singing a nursery rhyme (that she wrote) in the style of a hymn, playing the grand piano she sang, “Let’s go out and play…” again and again, ever-so softly, piercing like an electric lightning bolt.
It was an accidental live performance where neither of us were familiar to, or with, the other, but almost immediately a symmetry was present, a knowing of the other. It’s that deep feeling where everything feels kinetic, completely unreal in its utterance. It’s how I often feel about my closest friends; an ancient, cosmic enrapturing.
To be an artist is to die and die again. For your work, but also because of it. Roland Barthes talks of the death of the author, a concept I’ve wanted to understand long before I became a writer and artist myself. I’m interested in art that speaks, art that challenges, art that interrogates. I want to make art that pushes beyond stagnancy and creates a new rhythm, a new pulse. Dying again and again to create again and again. The serpent’s tail at its throat, like Hermes’ staff, caduceus.
I also supremely enjoy works of collaboration.
Not knowing I had become an oracle, in the summer of 2019, just after meeting her, I told Ganavya that one day we would (or should) work together. Now, it’s become a wish that came true. A few months after I sparked that prayer into fruition, she came to me with a proposition: how about a How To Cure A Ghost album? she asked.
Originated in Pandarpur, there’s the Varkari tradition where 50 saints, over a 500 year period, were revered with their words by being translated into song. As an anti-casteist group, Varkaris emphasize God as the Ultimate Truth, and see all humans as equal. Ganavya calls these songs, and the How To Cure A Ghost album, “a technology of veneration,” where she uses the tradition of turning words into songs. “But with the same shapes of throat that are used in the old songs.” In the veil of Abhangas and of Qawwali, she tells me “There’s a habit of pointing to the past as if divinity is only in the past. But I know miracles exist in the now. What does it mean to use these technologies of song making but use poetry and the writers that are in the now?”
How To Cure A Ghost was to exorcise my truth. One of abuse, one of pain, but one—ultimately of finding joy, serenity and liberation. One of finding God in the deep folds of my skin, of finding the divine in the mercy of my body. I see my writing as an example of finding peace, in hopes that others will gain insight, or at the very least, a reflection from this. This album is another part of this conversation.
Eternally moved by this project.
Blessings to the divine, to creator-God, grandmother, ancestors. With love in my heart—
Fariha, January 2021
HOW TO CURE A GHOST: THE ALBUM
words by FARIHA RÓISÍN
created by GANAVYA
coproduced by SUNNY JAIN
liner notes by REKHA MALHOTRA
This album will be available in ONLY 500 limited edition deluxe vinyls. Currently, there are no planned reprints.
Full list of artists to follow. Preorder link will appear below: