Month: July 2015

Gratitude to Kelley

Kelley Kipperman has written a beautiful retrospective / into the present of our work together.  When we met, she was a student at Hampshire College and I had put out my third album, Talon of the Blackwater.  She posted this about a month ago on Facebook, but I want everyone to be able to read it, so am re-posting it here.

To be a creative artist (as Kelley is herself) is a singular, courageous act.  By definition, a true artists’ work, no matter the form, is subversive and challenging because it speaks in an individual voice most people can’t recognize.  For her ability to see my work, I am grateful.

Here are her words:

“four years ago now, Hintele Beyzn & i started a radio show called “waxwing at yurt radio” — with the idea of having live musicians come and play sets that we would broadcast live for anyone to listen to online.

we had many special folks come through and play on waxwing, and were lucky enough to have Laura Siersema come and share her sounds, words, and thoughts with us on several occasions. since first listening to and meeting laura, i felt a sense of deep appreciation for her and her work — it’s one of those beautifully soul-quaking feelings that you hear when sounds are swirling around your head and you feel them coming directly from someone’s heart, through their fingertips on the piano.

a little over a year ago now, laura got in touch with me to tell me about a project she had been conceiving of for quite some time at that point — a large and beautifully orchestrated piece based on a song her mother wrote regarding the aberfan disaster (1966) in wales.

this project, which she has entitled ABERFAN is a masterful and magical group of compositions that i so dearly hope can take the shape that she is aiming for it to.

laura and i have met several times, exchanged many emails, and spoken a lot about the project over the past year+. it holds a deep and gentle place in my heart and soul.

please take a moment to check out laura, her work, and aberfan. if aberfan strikes you as much as it does me, please donate through the new york foundation for the arts to help make aberfan become a reality. donate here : https://www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan

“Aberfan” (Laura Siersema Trio, 2010)

To help make sure “Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)” can be recorded, make online contributions at:  http://tinyurl.com/FundAberfan

Some history in the process of composing Aberfan — here’s a video excerpt from one of our first rehearsals of “Aberfan”, the second arrangement I’d ever done of my Mom’s song.  I kept most of her lyrics and melody, but played quite a bit with the music, adding the instrumental interlude you’ll hear.  With Wim Auer on fretless bass and Billy Klock on drums.  This was the intermediate phase in the evolution of this song, while it was yet a folk song.  At Wim’s house in Vermont where we used to practice on Tuesday nights.  I love these guys, I loved playing with them and the way they inspired the music!  (Full song at bottom of post.)

Aberfan (written by Dinny Coates Siersema, 1966)

In the small Welsh town of Aberfan
for days the rain did fall
down on the heart of Aberfan
the mountain began to crawl

The little children of Aberfan
were in their school that day
when the big coal mountain above them high
began to rumble and sway

Oh the big black mountain of rock and slag
began to tumble down
it buried the children in the ground
in a town called Aberfan.

They worked with their picks all through the day
dug with their shovels and hands
kept on digging all through the night
in a town called Aberfan

They dug two trenches for their graves
placed green bracken ’round
the dead they numbered eighty and one
and they laid them in the ground

Oh the big black mountain of rock and slag
began to tumble down
no children are playing there.
it buried the children in the ground
in a town called Aberfan.