Suppressing Voices & Memories
“Vocal Versatility and an omnivorous curiosity.”
– The New York Times
“Adventurous mezzo-soprano” and “raconteur.”
– The New Yorker
They are talking about Lucy Dhegrae. Lucy is a professional vocalist with a magnificent mezzo-soprano voice. Her music brings together Mind and Body. Her voice was silent for ten years. This week’s podcast brings Lucy’s story. Can you suppress memories and a voice?
2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a romantic science fiction tragicomedy. The plot centered on an estranged couple who erased each other from their memories. What if we could erase unhappy things from our memories? How about traumatic life events? On the surface it sounds pretty good.
That last marriage that ended in divorce, erasing that from my memory, that sounds like a plan. Just think of all the time I could get back. How about that nasty so and so who I just ran into? What about that fight I had with my best friend last week? Almost sounds too good to be true. The 1990’s movie Pleasantville’s theme was one of repression, both external and internal.
But what happens when suppressed memories and traumas begin to surface? The director of Pleasantville used color to unlock the repression. And in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind the protagonists are running from an untouchable entity. They race from one memory to another.
Losing her voice.
Here’s a question: Would a woman erasing the memory of rape make her happier or do more damage? Ten years after Lucy Dhegrae was raped, she lost her singing voice. Lucy was 19, in her second month of college when she was raped by a student athlete. Student athletes were revered and Lucy knew too well what happened to women who tried to report being raped by a student athlete. So Lucy suppressed the memory.
It took three more years and a variety of therapies for Lucy to get her singing voice back. A voice that is here to stay and has been described as:
Now Lucy is on a mission with her music, exploring how music can address the aftermath of trauma; Mind and Body. Lucy shares her story so that other survivors, especially college students, will have the confidence to believe in themselves. “We can’t continue to stay numb to this. We just can’t.”
During the 2019-20 season, Lucy was selected among WQXR’s “20 for 20 Artists to Watch” as someone “redefining what classical music can be…in thrilling ways.” Lucy is an Artist in Residence at National Sawdust for the 2019-2020 season, presenting a muti-concert project. The project called The Processing Series, explores trauma’s relationship to the voice, Mind and Body.
Lucy was the 2018 recipient of the University Of Michigan School Of Music’s Emerging Artist Award and among the first cohort fellows with Turn the Spotlight, a new mentorship program for young professionals.
You’re in for a treat. We’ve included a sample of Lucy’s amazing voice from one of her favorite pieces.
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