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Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses

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Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses
Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses


'Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses', by sui generis vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu, is a collection of songs devoted to the marginalized voices of women around the world, and a profound elegy to personal loss.

The album is dedicated to her father, who passed away in 2019. It was Shyu's discovery of her old diaries while cleaning out his closet that transformed 'Zero Grasses' into a coming-of-age story about her ambitions and personal reflections on the racism and sexism that she has faced throughout her life. The past year has also made her reflect on the ongoing racism in US society - she dedicates a song to the memory of Breonna Taylor - and life in the time of COVID. On "Living's a Gift," Shyu sings all the vocal parts to her first composition for choir, set to heartbreakingly wise words of middle schoolers affected by the pandemic.

The music on 'Zero Grasses' spans the full range from ancient to modern, referencing traditional Javanese music, Japanese "katari" (or speaking the song) that is sung with the biwa, East Timorese chant from Ataúro island, all derived from her 15-plus years of immersive fieldwork on languages and traditional musics of her own ancestry and other cultures. Her work is unique in its combination of languages and musical forms from these traditions, contemporary composition, jazz, improvised music, and dream-like narrative. It's an innovative architecture of sound that could never be heard anywhere else.


  1. Name
  2. Living's A Gift - Part 1: Springtime
  3. Living's A Gift - Part 2: Everything For Granted
  4. Living's A Gift - Part 3: My Unsolved Regrets
  5. Living's A Gift - Part 4: Joyful
  6. Lament For Breonna Taylor
  7. The Human Color
  8. A Cure For The Heart's Longing
  9. Body Of Tears
  10. When I Have Power
  11. Finally She Emerges
  12. Display Under The Moon
  13. Father Slipped Into Eternal Dream
  14. With Eyes Closed You See All
  15. Life As You Envision
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