My name is Galen Áinle Ó Hifearnáin, anglicized long ago to Galen Hanly Hefferman. I live in Portland, Oregon, in Chinook, Kalapuya, Multnomah, and many others' lands in the shadow of Wy'east. (I say this to give respect to the place I love and the people who have called it home since long before I was here)
I love the world. I love the people in it and the stars in the winter when the earth tilts enough to spot the flickering blue orange of Sirius in the sky. I love the smell of cottonwood and the hawks in their stick nests and the shapes that beavers build their dams, curving and writhing across the wetlands, ever spurred on by their small annoyances of the sound of rushing water and maybe a love for cool still water and green valleys. I love the smell of rotting cedar and thick moss.
My music has always come from a deep place, of grief, and love, and the vibrant colors of the place I remember before I was born. I have remembered this place piece by piece, speaking loudly in dreams or when I allow myself to be a little quieter. I can often taste it. Music for me is a way to remember the place I came from and to more fully bring it into this life, while bringing this life to that place as well.
This world that we live in is at a turning point, and to me, it looks like the way humans live in the world must completely shift for humans to exist at all. With how much I love our stories and songs, the beauty to me is too much to lose without giving life a good try.
The current incarnation of my music seeks to weave nature into performance, with altars made of plants around the forests and gardens nearby. I seek to bring attention to the things we may sometimes overlook, and to bring remembrance of the musical and life-tending creatures that we are. To remember that humans have always sung to the children arriving, the elders leaving, to new houses formed from mud and stone and trees, to apples gathered into baskets, and to the sun at the winter solstice when all seems dark.
I hope in some way that the world around me, all of life, is fed by what I allow to come through me. I hope that in some way my songs and prayers and planted seeds may bring more life to this planet that I love so much.