Local Musician’s New EP Shares Stories of Sexual Assault Survivors

Marielle Allschwang wrote the songs in response to survivors’ poems about their experiences.

After a year in the making, Marielle Allschwang and The Visitations’ new EP “Somewhere to Swim” is set to release May 10. The record will feature four tracks inspired by the words and poetry of four participants of LOTUS Legal’s Rise & Thrive program.

The Rise & Thrive program’s main goal is to connect with survivors of sexual trauma in order to create a community of support through art and connection with professional artists like Allschwang.

The debut of the album comes as the cumulative effort of Allschwang’s time as the inaugural Rise & Thrive Artist Residency. Starting in 2021, Allschwang started meeting with the Rise & Thrive program members to hear of their experiences in the aftermath of sexual trauma, through poetry.


 

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“I thought that was a really a beautiful and innovative way to approach that (the participants telling their stories), so I started joining poetry workshops over Zoom and having more personal conversations with each one of them about their poems to get to know them more as people,” Allschwang says.

Allschwang repeatedly mentioned how important each of these stories was to tell. In that regard, she ensured that each song on the EP is almost verbatim the words written by the story and the person who inspired it.

Photo by Kelly Bolter

“When it came to writing the songs in response to their poems, I was most compelled to leave a lot of their poetry in the songs as is,” Allschwang says. “I was trying to write music and musical arrangements around and in response to all of these pieces that came up during our conversations.”

From conversations about favorite books and music genres, Allschwang says that she tried to identify a cadence, or rhythm that matched with each storyteller. She says that getting to know her subjects as whole people was huge part in the song writing process.

“As a musician I think it was good for me too because I feel like my music can tend to be a bit darker, I suppose, and so this really was a nice opportunity to shift my attention to a long awaited moment of highlighting [others’] emotions and experiences in my work,” Allschwang says. “They (the participants) were lifting me up too.”

And Allschwang’s hope is that people are moved by the EP. She says that she sees the collaboration with Rise & Thrive as an exercise in what human connectivity can look like.

[“Somewhere to Swim”] is a reminder that we’re all, every one of us is a numinous being and we’re all interconnected in ways that are tangible and intangible and we all have the responsibility and capacity to exist in reciprocity with one another.”

Allschwang and The Visitations will be co-hosting a benefit concert this Friday, May 13 to celebrate the release of the record and to spotlight the voices of survivors of sexual trauma.

More Photos:

Photo by Kelly Bolter

 

Photo by Kelly Bolter

 

Photo by Kelly Bolter

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