Genesis of Time Traveling With Sappho


After she had released her first album, Jeritree’s House of Many Colours (1978), within which she had interwoven a series of songs expressing woman, in the first person, as fertile, spiritual, intuitive, and passionate overseer of life and death forces, Jeri Hilderley felt ready to compose and perform a longer work for voice, guitar and marimba. Then in 1979, her longtime good friend, Konstantinos Lardas, Pulitzer Prize nominee Greek poet and professor at City College of New York, gifted her with the manuscript of his translations from the original Greek of her beloved Muse, sharing her living spirit through his impassioned translations. Jeri too was ready to relish Sappho’s poetry and sing it back to her.

Time Traveling with Sappho; A Love-Song Cycle is an amalgamation of two versions of the song cycle: one hand-scored, performed and recorded in the late 70s; the other Finale-scored, and recorded through Pro Tools in 2014 and 2015. The earlier version features Jeri’s 40 year-old singing voice as she played marimba and acoustic guitar. The present version has her 77 year-old voice, accompanied by acoustic guitar, electric bass, key-board generated pan flute, organ and harp, with embellishments of finger cymbals, and children’s voices. These two versions of the song-cycle are interwoven, in a palimpsest layering, sometimes heard simultaneously and sometimes having their own space-time prominence.

Her partner, bassist Janet Mayes, and Jeri rehearsed and massaged the new version until the songs became incantations, spiritual renewals, hallowing out a meaningful, deep space within and around them.

The composition and the current iteration of this song cycle have been acts of love. No one offered a grant or a record label to produce it. Jeri did it quite intuitively. How fortunate it is that selections of the early version, taped in her studio some 36 years ago, remain of suitable quality to be woven into the present recording sessions. Sound Engineer Bruce MacPherson, Janet, and Jeri slowly stitched together this palimpsest tapestry. Please join them in this time traveling venture with “their” Sappho. And may you, with them, find “yours.”


“I played it at night, and so the way it was born out that stillness of the night – the way it was born out of silence, seamlessly came into sound, gave birth to sound and then went seamlessly back to the silence that became richer because of the music that had existed there. Oh my God, the book, the music, exquisite, exquisite. …”
––Padma Hejmadi, author of novels, short stories and non-fiction. Her works include Room to Fly: A Transcultural Memoir, Birthday Deathday & Other Stories, and The Challenge of Indian Fiction in English. Her time has been mainly spent between India, the U.S, and Moku O Keawe, or the Big Island of Hawaii.

“One gorgeous, beautiful piece of music. Your voice at 77, as you’ve acknowledged in your notes, is more beautiful than ever. …We were profoundly moved by it. We love the arrangements, the performance, all the instruments, but particularly your voice. It is so resonant with a knowledge of love that it could only fail to move a stone-hearted idiot. What a beautiful thing. May it have a long life, the CD and the music.”
–Eric Lindbloom & Nancy Willard. Photographer Lindbloom is a founding member of Center for Photography in Woodstock. He has published four books of his photographs, including Salt Grass and Angels at the Arno; his work is in worldwide collections and libraries. Nancy Willard, was Professor and Lecturer at Vassar College for five decades. Her novels include Sister Water; her books of poetry include A Visit to William Blake’s Inn and The Sea at Truro.

“It is so beautiful listening to you. It’s like it was yesterday. It’s ultra beautiful. Thank you again, and again and again. It keeps Gus with us.”
–Sophia Lardas, widow of the translator, Konstantinos Lardas

Time Traveling with Sappho is haunting; it speaks to you, gives voice to lesbian love in a way I haven’t heard said before.”
–Sue Harris, Director, Peoples Video Network.


Packaged with the CD is a full color, 32 page collectors’ booklet (“two gems in a jewel case”), an exquisite compilation of music scores, translations, images of original papyri and photographs of artists’ renderings of Sappho–a visual treat crafted by renowned graphic designer Virginia Cahill.

“I was incredibly impressed with the packaging and production value of the CD label, jacket and the book. And all the research and references that were included. It’s laid out with great professional aplomb. Again, a beautiful piece of work.”
–Eric Lindbloom, Photographer



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