Dream Interpretation: Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd Tell War Stories

Over at WNYC:

Vijay_and_Mike400x400__medium_imageThe wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been well-documented. But composer Vijay Iyer and poet Mike Ladd, along with Iraq war vet Maurice Decaul, are telling war stories in a new way, using the images and scenes culled from their dreams.

“Holding It Down” is the third major collaboration between Iyer and Ladd. It's a commission from Harlem Stage, and very much a work-in-progress.

The score is stylistically similar to previous collaborations by the pair: ethereal vocals, piano, laptop, cello and percussion. “It has that same kaleidoscopic quality of dreams,” Iyer said. “Even a single dream can take you through a whole range of emotions.”

Maurice Decaul, a 29-year-old veteran, served in Iraq in 2003. Seven years later, his dreams are still littered with fragmented scenes from the country: the pop and crackle of artillery fire, an Iraqi woman's green dress, the anxiety of night patrols in Nasiriyah.

Ladd is a civilian, but a military buff. Growing up, he said he “mythologized” his father, a decorated World War II veteran who died just after his first birthday. He developed a “perverse obsession” with war in an effort to connect with his father, and said the project is about “me as a civilian deconstructing my fantasy of war in the face of these veterans reconstructing the reality of their lives.”

Ladd and Iyer want more young veterans — especially women — to contribute accounts of their dreams.