Project Description

I began this project soon after I stumbled upon an old family photo album. I only recognized a few faces and even my mom didn't know who they all were. One of the faces that stood out was my great-grandmother, Millie Matekunis. At the time, I didn’t know her name and had never seen a picture of her, but her face felt familiar. I couldn’t shake her image from my mind and the music I began to make was heavily influenced by my ruminations about her and my unknown ancestors. 

As a child, I was fascinated by my Scottish and Lithuanian heritage. My Scottish grandfather took me to the Scottish games where we ate meat pies and listened to bagpipes, but my Lithuanian grandmother constantly changed the subject when I brought up her heritage, which made me even more curious. She was born in America, but didn’t learn English until she went to kindergarten, so I gathered that she had insecurities, as a result. When I pestered her to teach me Lithuanian, she would begrudgingly teach me only a few words, but I cherished those phrases because they connect me to my heritage. When I found the pictures of Millie, a similar feeling swelled up in me and thinking about her and her life's journey from Lithuania to the United States became an infatuation. 

While writing the music for this project, I wrote letters to Millie and asked her all of the questions to which I never got answers. It was therapeutic, being one part letter and one part diary entry, where I had the freedom to ask about stories that I had only heard once or fragments of memories that floated in the shadows of my consciousness. I began to think about my family, my cultural background, and just how fleeting the memory of one’s life can be, if there isn’t an effort to preserve it. This, in many ways, is my small effort to investigate and thus preserve my history and my own identity.

Beles

1. Letter to Millie 1A.jpg
 
 
2. Letter to Millie (Tall Ocean) V2.jpg
LetterToMillie(PoliceChief.jpg