It’s very difficult to speak about Aberfan.
In the midst of the deepest revision, I realized this question, how do you have words for such tragedy? Should I use any lyrics at all? If I did (for there are memories, and attempts to tell the story), the words themselves must be like the event, scattered, broken phrases.
Here are the words that I used, excised from my mother’s lyric. I changed one of her words*: “town” to “village”.
In the small Welsh village* of Aberfan
for days the rain did fall
down on the heart–
Little children of Aberfan in their school that day
the big, coal mountain–
They worked with their picks all through the day
dug with their shovels and hands
kept on digging kept on digging–
(Original song, c1966, Dinny Siersema)
Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. We went into the studio to begin recording this past month for the first time. All donations help ensure we can create this recording.