Month: August 2015

“Aberfan” Verse 2

Dad's lyric sheet verse 2

“Little children of Aberfan

in their school that day

the big coal mountain…”

(My mom’s original lyrics at top, in my father’s handwriting.   Below that, what I chose to use from the verse.

To participate in making sure this project happens, please donate:  www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan

Dad’s lyric sheet for “In a Town Called Aberfan”

Dad's writingAberfan

It’s very difficult to speak about Aberfan.

Mom wrote “In a Town Called Aberfan” when she heard and read about the landslide in the news.  My father wrote down Mom’s lyrics on a sheet of his graph paper in November 1966.  The small letters above the last chorus and verse are the chords.  “Copy by EWS”

I share this because I want you to know, beyond anniversaries, beyond boundaries of country, there is a memorial here, too, in my composition,  Aberfanunderway and surfacing over years.

In the midst of its 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, yet of a whole.

Here are the words that I chose to use in my own piece, cut out from Mom’s lyric.  The only word I changed is “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  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.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can continue to create this recording.

We began recording in the studio in September.

“Aberfan” Verse

 

AberfanPantglasSchoolCourtesy of Alan George

“In the small Welsh town of Aberfan

for days the rain did fall

down on the heart–”

Here is a vocal sample of the first verse, one of three short lyric segments excised from the original song, to take its place in the new composition. Aberfan is, in essence, a bonding of many different musical sequences, the least of which contain words, each a portion of the experience, each a part of the whole.

The only word I will change of my Mom’s lyric is “town” to “village”.

This is a picture of Pantglas School, upon which the landslide fell in 1966.  Courtesy Alan George.

To contribute to the creation of a recording of Aberfan, donate here:  http://www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan

“Aberfan”…the epitome of the folk process…” (Nick Noble, WICN, Worcester)

“I see this as the epitome of the folk process, because folk music, in all its definitions, is about stories…”  (Nick Noble, WICN)

Here’s the full interview 7/30/15 with host Nick Noble on WICN.

To participate in making this project happen, donate at www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan