Annah Anti Palindrome
is enchanting. It doesn’t matter how many times you see her live, or talk to her and see she is a human. She just makes you feel all ripped open and grateful each time. Annah met me for an evening coffee and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Halfway through her interview she asked me, is anyone interviewing you? She ends our meeting by telling me she thinks I’m awesome. There is no way to not be enticed.
Annah is a sound artist with a poet’s sentiment. She uses looping, has a hauntingly beautiful voice and talks to her crowd like intimate lovers that she is taking very gentle care of. This is just how she is in the world. Annah is a sort of modern renaissance woman, though she says, “music is the area where I have the most cohesiveness.” She invokes the spirit of Riot Girl and the way the women took the stage, took up space and made noise to speak to Oakland’s women musicians and the supportive network and community she has found here.
She has lived in Oakland for 10 years and is very aware of the “tricky politic” of creating music and art as a transplant. There are so many people coming to Oakland, especially the artsy types, and Annah is invested in working with long-term residences and integrating into the existing community. Her music is a vehicle of social justice, a heart-forward venture. The main way she engages with the community is through venue choice. The venues that have been around in the community are target venues. Newer venues have to be paying homage to the work of local artists and the community of Oakland that has existed over the years, before the influx of young artists and entrepreneurs that is happening now.
Annah also works with Girl’s Rock Camp, a place she describes as “a revolutionary cultural space for girls,” as it subverts the idea that little girls will grow up to be women in the position of the object of attention, not the subject. Instead of reinforcing the common place script of watching yourself being watched, the space deemphasizes image and appearance and encourages the girls to forget about how people may see them and just allow themselves to take up space on a stage as musicians.
An invaluable support for Annah’s work is the collective she lives in. There are 6 people, 4 of whom have been roommates before. Everyone is an artist, yet Annah tells me “I would never say I live in an artist collective.” Annah and her housemates support each other’s art. They participate, help out, take care of each other, and believe in each other’s visions. “My house feels like a microcosm of the world we want to create,” Annah tells me.
Electro acoustic music has a big influence on her work. She tells me about festivals for women-identified electro-acoustic artists, such as Titwrench in Denver. Her songs often ruminate on families of origin, how they create patterns and legacies and the ways in which we resist those legacies and how they inform how we are in the world. Annah’s name is testament to her conscious movement through the world and her dealings with these legacies and hand-me down structures of being. She added an h to her name as a divergence from the palindrome her name was, as “a way to break the cycle of familial identity” in a household where her mother was an addict. Annah’s use of the loop pedal is representational as well. The pedal only records live, so the length of the first recording determines the length of all the other tracks she will layer on. This first loop is the “origin” or “home” of her song and it is then layered with other tracks that muddy the original until it almost entirely fades away.
Annah’s latest cd, entitled “Dangling Modifiers”, was recently celebrated at the at Temescal Arts Center.
Check out her website at: www.annahantipalindrome.com