Thoughts on composing “Aberfan”

It’s very difficult to find words for 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.

In the small Welsh town 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 kept on digging —

(Original song, c 1966, Dinny Siersema)

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.



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