Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)

ABERFAN WALES 1966On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

Envisioned at the crossroads of modern music, experimental media and environmental crime, my new composition Aberfan incorporates excerpts from a folk song my mother wrote following the 1966 disaster, as well as hymns — one the children would have sung at morning assembly that day and another sung at the mass funeral less than one week later.  Music will be presented in live performance, immersive installation and exhibition with black & white photographs — such as the one above — taken by Life photojournalist IC Rapoport, who went to Aberfan to “photograph the psychic mess”.

MUSIC SAMPLES  of work in progress

By addressing the visceral, personal experiences of the disaster, Aberfan investigates how art, together with technology, can be used for experiential transformation, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten humanitarian crime against a future generation.

I am seeking support to fund the recording and presentation of this project.  

DONATE

A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan is an excavation into my own soul. As Alice Miller discovered the trauma of her own childhood through spontaneous painting and wrote about in her many books, Aberfan propelled itself through me.  This is the story of power and destruction wrought over all the world in the willful, negligent and unconscious devastation upon the most vulnerable and the call to transform, through my music, the inscrutable events.

COLLABORATORS:

Michael Farquharson  Studio Producer / Engineer, Mix One Studios, Boston, MA

Ian Smith-Heisters  Media Design, Berkeley, CA

Denise Wallace-Spriggs  Art Direction, Boston, MA

PHOTOGRAPHS

PRESS

RADIO INTERVIEW   “I see [Aberfan] as the epitome of the folk process, because folk music, in all its definitions, is about stories.” (Nick Noble, WICN)

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  All donations will be acknowledged on my website and project page unless requested kept private.

If sending a check, please make payable to NYFA & mail to:  Vault of the Valley Music, 27 Abbott Street, Greenfield, MA, 01301.

Here is a demo sample of voice and piano parts:  

“Their daily rendition [in morning assembly, 9am] of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ – a hymn written a few miles away in the bucolic tranquillity of the Usk Valley – was postponed that day.

They would sing it before they went home when the head teacher planned to wish her pupils a safe and enjoyable holiday.” (Aberfan:  A Mistake that Cost a Village its Children, by Ceri Jackson, BBC News, October 21, 2016)

The catastrophic collapse occurred about 9:15am.

Aerial view, October 21, 1966, courtesy of AGU Blogosphere

(Photo top of page by IC Rapoport 1966)

Aberfan is funded in part by Puffin Foundation, Thendara Foundation, Puffin Foundation West and Deupree Family Foundation.

Screenshot 2016-07-22 at 5.51.53 PM

“…Continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”

thendara foundation

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deupreefamilyfoundation

 

Support “Aberfan” With Your Gift

Thank you to those who have already made a donation!  In the past week, $170 has come in!  Your contribution will enable us to return to the studio to record Aberfan. 

Click HERE to give. 

We need $700 more to reach the halfway point!

 

 

 

Please give what you can and tell othersAll gifts are 100% tax deductible.  

 

Photo:  Mix One Studios, Boston

 

All Music on Sale! 20% Off

20% off all CDs and MP3 downloads at Vault of the Valley Music.  Now through New Year’s Eve.

CDs regularly $16, now $12.80 (plus shipping).  MP3 downloads regularly $9.99, now $7.99

Click HERE to see CDs and how you can purchase / download them.

Here is a sample from my second album, Love Flows Like the Blood of a River

 

20% Off Sale!

20% off all CDs and MP3 downloads at Vault of the Valley Music.  Now through New Year’s Eve.

CDs regularly $16, now $12.80 (plus shipping).  MP3 downloads regularly $9.99, now $7.99 

 

Laura Siersema Trio Live @ 1794 Meetinghouse available for download only 

BUY MP3s at CDBaby   


BUY CD using PAYPAL:  Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

BUY MP3s at CDBaby

BUY CD using PAYPAL:  Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

BUY MP3s at CDBaby

BUY CD using PAYPAL:  Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

BUY MP3s at CDBaby

If you’d rather pay cash or by check, please send $17.80  ($12.80 + $5.00 shipping) to:
Vault of the Valley Music
27 Abbott Street
Greenfield, MA  01301

If you live close by, I’ll drop your CDs off!  Save packaging, postage and Paypal fees!

 For orders outside the US & Canada, please use

Amazon

Today is Giving Tuesday

“I think back to what Camus wrote about the fact that perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this?”  (Robert F. Kennedy, in an interview with David Frost shortly before his assassination, when asked how he would he like to be remembered)

Today, Tuesday, November 28, is a global day of giving.  Your contribution will enable us to finish recording Aberfan.  Click HERE to give.   

We’re near $10,000 — push this project over the halfway point!

Please give what you can and tell othersAll gifts are 100% tax deductible.  If you have already contributed to this campaign – thank you for being a part of this!

 

Photo IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

 

Year End Fundraising for “Aberfan”

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he or she sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” 
(Robert F. Kennedy, University of Cape Town, the land of apartheid, June 6, 1966)

Create your own ripple — make a tax-deductible donation to Aberfan beginning this Tuesday, a global day of giving that will take place on Tuesday, November 28.  Or at any time of the year.  Use the blue donation button located at the top right side of my website.  

We’re near $10,000 — push this project over the halfway point!

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by  law.

Here is a demo sample of voice and piano parts, “Hymn” and “Rock Sequence”:  

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.  A Tribunal investigating the 1966 events found that the National Coal Board was entirely responsible for failing to act to prevent the disaster, though they were never prosecuted.

The Guardian: Readers recommend playlist: songs about slowing down

The Guardian

“Go Children Slow”, one of my songs off Talon of the Blackwater, is chosen!

Here is this week’s playlist – (12) songs picked by a reader from hundreds of suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece…. we also have “Go Children Slow” and the wonderful voice of Laura Siersema.”  (By Scott Blair)

What a great surprise.  So cool it’s from the UK.

Giving Tuesday

Do you believe “art and the encouragement of art is political in the most profound sense”?  (JFK, Remarks on behalf of the National Cultural Center, November 1962)

To affirm this statement, make a tax-deductible donation to Aberfan on #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that will take place on Tuesday, November 28.  We’re near $10,000 — push this project over the halfway point!

You can give through the blue donate button, located at the top right side of my website.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.  A Tribunal investigating the 1966 events found that the National Coal Board was entirely responsible for failing to act to prevent the disaster, though they were never prosecuted.

(Photo, Getty Images, Aberfan 1966)

Poem for Aberfan

In 2016, Welsh poets Grahame Davies and Tony Curtis were commissioned to write a Sequence of poems, entitled Aberfan Voices, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster.  Each poem goes with a photograph by IC Rapoport.  This is the second of two posts introducing Grahame and Tony, sharing one each of their poems.

Both Tony and Grahame are serving as humanities scholars for my project Aberfan.  I am deeply honored and grateful for their participation in its unfolding and fullest, true expression.

Here is “Life”, written by Grahame Davies.

Life

Life is too big,

though children never know –

their world a nature-table, miniature,

seeds on a tray, a garden in a jar,

four walls of cut-out prints of autumn leaves

and a calendar that counts to Christmas.

 

Life is too big.

They never tell you that.

You’re never wise enough, never mature.

Take it from me:

your heart is never big enough

to hold it all – the deluge of the dark.

Stars are too distant

and the griefs too great.

 

Life is too big.

We try to make it fit

our columns and our canvases,

our lenses and our lines,

to make the immeasurable commensurate

with what we can contain:

words on a page,

a garden in a jar.

 

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Photo IC Rapoport,  1966

 

 

Poem for Aberfan

October 21, 2017 marked the 51st anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary in 2016, Welsh poets Grahame Davies and Tony Curtis were commissioned to write a Sequence of poems, entitled Aberfan Voices, each poem with a photograph by I. C. Rapoport.

Both Tony and Grahame are serving as humanities scholars for my project Aberfan.  I am deeply honored and grateful for their participation in its unfolding and fullest expression.  Over the next few posts I will share their work.  “Where I Was” by Tony Curtis:

Where I was

 

Where were you when the old King died?

Walking to the pit-head with my butties.

 

Where were you for the Peace in Our Time?

In the parlour with Delyth and her mother’s new wireless.

 

Where were you when the bombers came?

Holding the hand of a Bevin Boy in the shivering dark.

 

Where were you when the war ended?

In the bath before our fire, hearing the church bells.

 

Where were you for the Coronation?

A mile underneath her kingdom.

 

Where were you when they put a dog in space?

Down here.

 

What about the missiles in Cuba?

We was well out of reach in the Merthyr Vale: already buried.

 

Where were you when the President was shot?

Checking my lamp and opening my snap.

 

And where were you when you heard about Aberfan?

Mid-shift, working at the face, blinded with dust that the tears

Began to wash, and the mandrel dropped

As my fists clenched, and I heard

The distant howls of men.

 

On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made mountain of coal waste catastrophically collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Photo IC Rapoport,  1966

 

 

 

Art is Radical

If it is truly creative, art is radical.

Art upends institutions and challenges us to examine the very fabric of our being, our society.  We are loosened.

We must re-member ourselves and our reason for living, what greater purpose beyond the tactics of greed, what measurement of a timeless nature, what pattern of the gods.  

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

“Rain/Rubble”, demo excerpt of pianos from Aberfan.  Life forever altered and forever bound to the two.

Photo from AP Archives , the graves of Aberfan, October 27, 1966.