The universe is making music all the time

Whatever You Love You Are: Cheval Sombre

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To mark this Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated debut Irish concert by Cheval Sombre (New York native Christopher Porpora) we are delighted to publish – in Porpora’s own words – the key inspirations (spanning visual art, poetry, film and music) that have helped shape Porpora’s own art as both poet and songwriter. Porpora has released two studio albums to date – self-titled debut (Double Feature) and ‘Mad Love’ (Sonic Cathedral) – as well as various vinyl issues and a live album recorded at St. Pancras Old Church, London, with longtime friend and collaborator Pete Kember (Sonic Boom, Spacemen 3).

Words: Christopher Porpora


Words have always held great importance for me. Choosing one word can be the work of many mornings and nights, the work of many long hours. As I say of music, we all might consider what sounds we contribute to the world – and words too – sonorous as they are. Are they beautiful sounds we are producing? Are the words, the sounds we choose, enhancing the quality of our experience of life? Might we lift this life up to the light? Can we see it as glorious?

To ask such questions is to be bold in the face of a cynical society. One must risk criticisms of naïveté, sentimentality, idealism, even romanticism. I have risked all these long as I can remember, in the name of what I experience as the beautiful, especially in writing.

But I have always discovered wondrous support along the way – artists who have sustained me, atmospheres which have held me, all nurturing my pursuit of the written word, of beauty.



Joan Ambrosio Dalza

A seemingly anonymous lute player from Italy brings this luxurious atmosphere in which to write – this just improves the quality of any room, any hour of the day.


Terry Riley

This recording of a 1975 concert in Köln, with Don Cherry, is the sound of reaching for the stars, or reflecting them, and nothing less.




Alastair Galbraith
Green Dream

A master of intimate mystery.




Krzysztof Kieślowski
La Double Vie De Véronique

This film had an immense impact on me when it first came out, and still, to this day. Its atmosphere is utterly dreamlike, and Zbigniew Preisner’s accompanying score hints strongly at the reality of magic in our daily lives.


William Butler Yeats
When You Are Old

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


In Yeats’ lyricism I have always found the flourishes of how exquisite a quiet moment can be.




Georges Rouault
Bouquet de Fleurs

Georges Rouault’s paintings always reminded me of another everyday miracle – stained glass. He
worked with glass as a medium, too. His work helped to define the cover art for the first album.



Five for Ireland

Limited Edition of 99 copies
letterpressed, each hand-numbered



Five for Ireland began as a simple celebration of my first proper show in Ireland. I had played in Galway years ago, in the streets, and fared alright. Ireland was very kind to me then. But I didn’t have any proper songs then as I do now. So I thought to work on something for the occasion. I had to find an arc, a theme of a kind. Hearing about the beauty of Cobh, I immediately began dreaming of the sea, and I had heard that folks were still listening to Mad Love there, so there it was – the sea / mad love became the theme from which to choose and order the poems. After a few days, I had twenty, looking into older works and recent pieces, all suggestive of this double-theme. Thinking about format, the broadside came to light as an unexpected suggestion. I began to think of a time when poetry’s venue was the street – of times when one might encounter a poem slipped between the pages of something else amidst the hassle, or walked through crowds in a pocket. It became time to slim the collection down. Space would now be limited, and very. Remembering Rouault, I began to sift for poems smaller in size but evocative of the landscape of paintings – images which could then suggest the sea / mad love, alternately, by leaving impressions in which to get lost, standing in the street or otherwise, anywhere.





Cheval Sombre’s debut Irish concert (with special guest Margie Jean Lewis) takes place at Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork this Saturday 17 October. 

TICKETS are priced €15 and can be purchased HERE.

Event Page via Sirius Arts Centre HERE.


Written by markcarry

October 13, 2015 at 3:14 pm

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