Inteview with musician Zara Thustra —
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Zara Thustra. At this point, I suppose Time Traveller is the best way to describe my occupation; I travelled from my own time, 500 years in the future, when the last people are about to perish from the blasted earth… I came to warn you against the wars and wanton destruction that have already begun, for which the people of the future will pay the ultimate price.
2. Why music?
Why not? In my time, music is indispensible to our most sacred and beloved rituals. When we wish to say something, we do not simply speak: we sing. Words convey ideas, but music conveys the feeling and the underlying truth. Music is the voice of the Great Mother, and carries a measure of her ineffable power. It’s also more fun and easier on the ears than simply speaking, don’t you think?
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be involved in music?
Wanting to be involved? I often forget how many choices you make in your time. I was born to a priestess, like everyone else in my time (The few who are gifted with a fertile womb are all trained as priestesses in my time; they are the leaders and most important members of our society.) After taking auguries to determine my future strengths and weaknesses, it was decided that I should be initiated into the mysteries of the written word, and trained in the sciences of Magic and Music. In these matters, I could be of greatest service to the Priestesses and the people. When I came of age, I was chosen for the harem of Our Lady the High Priestess Ashera-Hel, who may well be the last great leader of the human race. I have served as her loyal concubine ever since. It was on her orders that I undertook to enter the Time Machine.
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and style(s)?
I sing about my time, and the times I have seen on my travels. I have seen such things, from the primitive, blasted landscape of my own origin, to the green hills of North Carolina, 1936, the Deserts of New Mexico 1947, California 1955… and of course, your time. I sing of the Great Mother, and of her myriad children; their struggles, their hopes and dreams.
5. How do you work and approach a new piece that you are working on?
Obviously, the songs of my time have to be adapted to the instruments and musical conventions of yours; I do this in a way that is flexible and intuitive, incorporating elements of music from all the times I have visited. This is only natural. Some of the songs I sing are exceedingly ancient, some are made up on the spot. It is all as the Great Mother wills.
6. What are your favorite musician(s), singer(s)?
I have met many during my travels. The Reverend in his little chapel, The Man who Fell to Earth, and all the wise fools who bargained with Hungry Ghosts… The girl in the street with her True Heart. I love them all. They are all my favorites.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
The best responses? Why, certainly the ones who have ideas about how to reach the people of your time, how to avert the war, how to spread the power of love and compassion. They are the ones who hear my message and take action; the ones who guide me on my way. The ones, in short, who understand that this is not my work, but our work, which can only be done together.
8. What do you like about your work?
Oh, I like meeting all the people, and seeing all the sights through time. You must understand, my time is a dismal thing to see. I like the sight of growing things, of smiling eyes. People and creatures at ease, life being lived under the sun and the blue sky. The good times–that is what I like best about being a Time Traveller.
9. What advice would you give to other musicians?
Please help. Reach your people, for you are of their time and you understand them. Tell them that War is coming; War is Here. Tell them that it will be fought over water and oil, water and fire. Tell them to take care of eachother, and by the Great Mother, learn to take care of yourselves. Do not scorn the growing things of the world. Do not let ambition blind you: you cannot eat money. Success will not wait for you if you fall down. Remember that your music is a gift from the Mother herself, and that its purpose is to lift the spirits of your people, before and above material gain or validation of your vanity. Remember that your task is sacred.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
5 or 10? I can certainly tell you this: If I fail to complete my mission, in 500 years, I will be born on a blasted, drought stricken plain, in the shadow of a high crater that once was a city of millions. If I succeed, if by some miracle, the future from whence I come is averted, then I suppose I shall simply disappear. Cease to exist, or ever to have existed. I do not savor this prospect, but I am prepared. After all, we can only do as much as we can do. The rest is up to the Great Mother, whose ways are above our understanding.
Video 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbRvZ_pwc1o&t=14s
Video 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCyNzmRzw-s