Pauline Anna Strom, 1946 – 2020
A companion across time, our Trans Millenia Consort. Pauline Anna Strom, or Paula when you got to know her, was both made for our unusual present time and completely, cosmically out of step with it. She lived an intentionally hermetic and therefore extraordinary life in all that she accomplished, fiercely independent despite her visual impairment.
It did not clock when Paula failed to return a voicemail I left this past Friday to coordinate another interview around her forthcoming album. We had been in touch so frequently over the past several months with this new music on the horizon that I’d clearly taken her availability for granted.
While Paula’s recovery from a fall in early 2019 that resulted in a broken hip and intensive surgery took the time needed, her health appeared otherwise fine. I visited her in San Francisco earlier this year before the world went sideways to verify this, and she remained dutifully locked down and in place through the pandemic to avoid risk to exposure.
So, the suddenness of loss makes her passing all the more devastating. While there were certainly stretches of time over the past decade when I might not hear from her (or her from me), her force was always felt invariably if not in mysterious ways. This same energy has attracted so many listeners to Paula’s music and world-building, and will continue to endure and evolve.
It’s hard knowing that, beyond the sacred catalog of music that she leaves behind, those intimate interactions with Paula, her concurrently cantankerous and compassionate spirit leading our long telephone conversations down so many corridors and her wild, vivid dreams of creative places she wanted to explore, are but memories to retrace.
It was such a joy bringing more people into Paula’s immediate circle to experience and engage with this spirit over the past few years. While Paula was private, and might prefer the company of her “dinosaurs” Little Soulstice and Ms Huff, two lizards that cohabited her home, she was also warm and welcoming. She was loyal, and she held a true compass of character.
I realize I am barely touching Paula’s legacy in favor of this deeply personal reminiscence, but there will be many opportunities for her accomplishments to take stage. Not the least of which, the new music that she was so excited to finally share. For now, a signal for everyone that knew Paula as an extraordinary vessel of sound. Please find some time to lose yourself in that, and come back to embrace those you love.
I am heartbroken ~ So much love for you, Paula.
Matt / RVNG
PS – Little Soulstice and Ms Huff are safe with San Francisco Animal Care & Control. We are working on a solution for their care, but if anyone is interested in adopting, please reach out to us at [email protected].