Uno Lady Premieres “GROUNDED”: A New Film About Mindfulness
Self-trained musician and activist Christa Ebert (who performs as Uno Lady) has created a short experimental film about mindfulness that will premiere tomorrow on YouTube at 7pm (Monday, December 14, 2020, 7pm – Live on YouTube).
GROUNDED, a 20-minute long film, includes mantras, soothing songs, and guided meditations for busy minds. Filmed mostly in her backyard in Cleveland, Ohio during the pandemic, Ebert painstakingly created stop-motion animations with homegrown flowers, sweet potatoes, drawings, and paintings, spliced with calming footage of nature, all set to a soundtrack composed specifically for the project.
The music features vocal harmonies, field recordings of nature sounds, bells, and synths sprinkled throughout. Background music was created from environmental elements such as crickets chirping and babbling streams, percussive beats were made with bird songs, and Ebert even created a guiro effect by grating ears of corn she grew together.
Multi-media artist Sequoia Bostick contributed hypnotic animations to several of the songs, and in addition to Ebert’s voice, some of the meditations in the film were created by LaToya Kent, a meditation teacher and musician who performs solo and as a part of Mourning [A] BLKstar.
“The purpose of GROUNDED is to help people find peace in the present moment and offer kindness and healing through these difficult times,” says Ebert:
“I spent all summer socially distant, researching, writing, growing flowers and filming nature in my backyard. For GROUNDED, I researched the healing effects of sound and mindfulness and listened to dozens of audiobooks through the Library. To create some of the music I’d meditate in the garden, film flowers, capture nature sounds, and then go into my studio to record. Every song was sung in a positive mindset with loving and healing intentions. Every flower filmed was captured in the hope of making you smile.”
This isn’t the first time that Ebert has sent out a “virtual gift” to us all – back in September she performed a stunningly beautiful concert in the empty hall of the Maltz Performing Arts Center – talking directly to all of us watching, saying she was picturing us sitting in the seats there with her. Her voice soars through the strikingly empty concert hall, a reminder that we are living through extraordinary times.
But with GROUNDED Ebert takes a big step away from the traditional Uno Lady performance (click here to read a profile I wrote on her early in 2019 when she was just starting to experiment with film). I would deem GROUNDED a true “film” in the sense that it is a seamless visual and audio project. It’s always been difficult to categorize Uno Lady’s work – which, I think, is to her credit. Is it just music? Performance art? Film? She has always made art that is hard to pin down, and true to form, with GROUNDED she does it again.
GROUNDED is a beautiful thing to watch, to experience, and honestly, despite the fact that I am an old curmudgeon, I felt the love. Deeply. And right now, that’s something that all of us could use.
Film premiere: Monday, December 14, 2020, 7pm – Live on YouTube
GROUNDED – the film is just a portion of her new full album of the same name to be released digitally January 12, 2021 for the new moon, when more meditation videos will be released as well. You can preorder a copy here.
GROUNDED was made with support from the SPACES Urgent Art Fund and by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.