Month: April 2015

Thoughts on composing “Aberfan”

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, excerpts from my mother’s lyric.  I changed one word:  “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–

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.