aberfan disaster

Recording “Aberfan” — Please Support!

aberfan-memorial-garden-plaque-2Thank you to everyone who has contributed to support Aberfan!  During our first studio sessions in late September we recorded about a 1/3 of the piano parts in 11 hours!

If you have not done so already, please consider making a donation now!

This year end fundraising campaign ensures we are able to continue recording!  Here is what your donation will do:
  • $25-$99 Pays for up to to two hours in the studio — Receive download of completed recording and be listed on my website donor page.
  • $100-$499  Pays for studio time with one additional musician — All of the above plus a CD copy of completed recording.
  • $500-$999  Payment towards the percussionist and studio producer — All of the above plus 2 free CDs of your choice.
  • $1,000 and above Payment towards mixing and mastering engineers — All of the above plus an invitation to visit the studio as we work.

In this time of uncertain governmental support, YOU are helping to bring art into the world!

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax-deductible.

DONATE NOW.

Aberfan is funded in part by Puffin West Foundation, Thendara Foundation, Puffin Foundation and Deupree Family Foundation.

Photo Aberfan Memorial Garden.

Upheaval

We are living now the upheaval — the turning outside what was in, what has long been buried — and must live now to extricate ourselves from what would obliterate good, what is bright and free.

Underbelly, the black water out my dream now burst upon the land, no sorcerer could have done without people. We are in the confines of a trained evil.

Courtesy Alan George 2Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax deductible.

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 spliced together for my own piece, cut out from Mom’s lyric.  The only word I changed was “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 this past September.

Aberfan Disaster: Final Tribute

aberfan final tribute no sound THUMBNAIL_3Here is one frame of the footage that I discovered at the AP Archives that had no sound — 5 minutes of film taken at the mass burial of 81 children and one adult on October 27, 1966.

“Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep” was sung at the service on the hillside.  Here is a short demo excerpt from Aberfan, Final Hymn:

 

 

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.  Your contribution helps ensure that we can continue to create the studio recording of Aberfan.

 

 

 

Wide view of Aberfan Disaster

Courtesy Alan George 5Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is an elegy not only for the people of a village who suffered the loss of a generation and the wounded soul of the Welsh who saw their beautiful country destroyed when the coal mines came to the valleys, but for our world, besieged by unbridled industry pillaging the land and its people, exploiting riches for a few.  Aberfan is our entire structure under collapse, the condemnation of a corrupted capitalism imposed upon the world, the catastrophe, the truth of our entrapment in a world run on power, violence and commodity, reducing to rubble all that is sacred.  

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Contributions are tax deductible.  Please help us make this recording with your donation.

How with this rage shall beauty…

As the day of the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster nears, I am reposting this:

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea… —Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

ABERFAN WALES 1966

“Rain Sequence”, pianos, Aberfan — it has just started to rain.  In this demo sample, as single pianos enter one after the other, you hear the gradual dissolution of harmony.

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)  is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Contributions are tax deductible.  Please support the making of this recording.

Photo by IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

Aberfan was a man-made disaster. 50 years on, we must remember this

Powerful story by Huw Edwards:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/aberfan-was-a-man-made-disaster-50-years-on-we-must-remember-thi/

p00ksv3k640360 ICR sent, but not hisA

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. Contributions are tax deductible.

A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan is an excavation into my own soul.  This is the story of power and destruction wrought over all the world in the willful, negligent and unconscious devastation upon the most vulnerable and the call to transform, through my music, the inscrutable events.

We are seeking funds to support the recording and presentation of this project.

Music from “Aberfan”

October 21, 2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster.

11_10-Aberfan-2

As promised, here is another sample of the piano music from our first recording session in Boston a few weeks ago.

“Altered Interlude” is representative of the children’s walk to school on the morning of the disaster.  There are 144 beats in each interlude, one for each person who died, ordered in shifting rhythms:  

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.  Contributions are tax deductible.

Photo courtesy of Alan George

Music from “Aberfan”

ABERFAN WALES 1966Over the next few posts, I would like  to give you samples of piano music from our recent, first recording sessions, in order of their appearance in the piece.

In the beginning is “Rain Sequence”.  Here is an excerpt in which you hear the gentle, gradual layering of pianos one upon another, coming to represent “over a week of heavy rainfall” prior to the Aberfan Disaster:

 

Both Michael and I are deeply excited to continue recording, but we’ll need your support to do so.  Every donation is greatly appreciated.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible.

Photo IC Rapoport, Aberfan 1966, one which will become part of the multimedia presentation of Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue).

Extraordinary Next Steps for “Aberfan”

What an incredible, full experience to start recording!

Driving into Boston, walking through Michael’s large maze of a studio for the first time, finding the piano had a wonderful touch that was not too hard for my hands, recording ’til near midnight, leaving to find the Walker Center in Auburndale, Newton, where I was to stay overnight, then coming back into the studio on the green line the next morning after 3 1/2 hours sleep.

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Michael and I worked on one musical sequence at a time, talking about it some, recording, then listening.  We accomplished an incredible amount — 1/3 of the piano parts — over those 11 hours!  A musical sample will be posted soon.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible.

Your donation helps us continue!