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.
Informed by one of the most poignantly tragic disasters of our time, Aberfan is a full length modern composition that uses excerpts of melody and lyric from a folk song my mother wrote following the tragedy. Music will be presented both in performance and installation with black & white photographs taken by Life photojournalist IC Rapoport, who went to Aberfan to “photograph the psychic mess”.
I am seeking support to fund the recording and presentation of this project.
A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan was 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, 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.
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:
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” was sung that day at morning assembly. The catastrophic collapse occurred about 9:15am.
Aerial view, October 21, 1966, courtesy of AGU Blogosphere
(Photo top of page by IC Rapoport 1966)