Born into music: Symphony guest musician Mirah shares her journey into motherhood
By Brogan Gillmore
For the last six months singer-songwriter Mirah hasn’t been traveling from city to city, or playing on stages near her home in Brooklyn. Instead she has been singing private concerts of lullabies for her newborn son, Ara.
Mirah, who was scheduled to perform at this year’s Symphony in the Flint Hills, began her journey into parenthood six months ago with the birth of her son. Mirah has been gradually learning what it means to be both an artist and a parent.
At 44, Mirah said she’s had plenty of time to consider being a mother.
“I felt like I would feel sad, getting older without having taken part in this sort of cycle,” she said. “I was given this gift of this body that I have, and my parents they gave me that gift and everyone receives that gift, and I could give that gift to someone.
“It is this way to connect with a really beautiful cycle of life that everyone, all of us, are part of.”
And now that she is a mother, she’s met with new challenges in life.
“I’m not independent,” Mirah said. “I can no longer just decide to do something and just do it.”
Gone are the days Mirah could make impulsive decisions, like going to a late-night concert or partaking in the nightlife of a new city. Not that motherhood has completely stopped her from indulging in those activities.
“I have been blessed with a baby that sleeps through the night,” Mirah said, recounting how she went to a concert in Los Angeles. “My partner, he just stayed at the apartment after we put Ara to bed, and I went to a show. It was an unusual kind of thing to do.”
Parenting isn’t something she can do alone, especially as a musician. Having that additional person to count on makes this transition in her life easier.
“I don’t know if there are any jobs that people can do and really have their two hands be the baby care and the whole job,” Mirah said.
Traveling with a 6 month old is not an easy feat, and as a touring artist that means Mirah spends much of her time traveling. Her small venture to the Flint Hills caused her to bring her sister along to assist in the childcare.
This hasn’t been Mirah’s first time in Kansas. As a touring musician she has been all over the country, including performing in Wichita, Lawrence and Kansas City. She’s also been a part of the Jump!Star project, an art initiative that was scheduled to debut at the symphony June 15.
Had the Symphony in the Flint Hills not been canceled due to storm damage, Mirah would have premiered three new songs at the event.
The first song, “Hello, Star,” is a greeting meant for the new North Star, which will replace Polaris in 1,000 years. “The Goodbye Song” was a farewell to Polaris and was written as a four-part harmony to have been played with Arise, a Wichita-based choir, and guest composer Jherek Bischoff, another member of Jump!Star.
The third song was a processional song, called “Song of the Pole Stars,” would have been the climax of the symphony.
“It was going to be played while the beautiful light-filled sculptures were going to be processed and carried by people doing these very specific moves in time with the music at the end of the concert,” Mirah said. “I mean the amount of preparations to put together, this beautiful multi-faceted, giant project and then to not have it not happen. It’s just so crazy.”
Although Mirah has not fully began touring again yet — only doing two one-off shows since Ara was born — there were things that made the symphony more complicated than touring. Touring has its complications she said, but all the moving parts of Symphony in the Flint Hills presented new challenges, so her sister’s extra hands made things simpler.
Mirah said she isn’t worried for when she begins touring again. The only thing that she says creates an issue for her is the state that some greenrooms are in for artists.
“I can put up with a gross greenroom, but I’m not going to put up with that for my little baby,” she said.
The future that Mirah worries about more concerns bigger things like what the environment or the state of the world will be as Ara grows up. Then there are the smaller things like schools, education and the troubles of youth.
“All I have to go on is my sort of vague memories of my childhood, and I don’t have the best memory. And so sometimes I’m like, ‘I hope I can help my kid through all of this stuff, that I can’t even remember.’”
One thing Mirah does remember is always singing with her dad and the rest of her family.
“My dad was really, really into music — he didn’t play an instrument — but he had a great voice and he was always playing music in the house. And so music was a big part of my childhood,” she said.
Mirah found excitement in the idea that Ara could be interested in music. But even if her child was interested in sports — something Mirah said she knows little about — she would make an effort to be excited for that, too.
“It’s hard growing up, there’s like a million new things all the time,” Mirah said. “They aren’t jaded yet, everything’s new and the thoughts that kids have and the things that they ask, that stuff’s like really cool and I’m excited for that.”