Coal mining disaster

Almost Halfway There!

In just a few days, $175 has come in!  Fantastic!  Join them with your tax deductible gift today.

A total of $8370 has been raised!  With gifts ranging from $10 to $2250, individuals, small non-profit foundations and institutions are helping us get closer to the recording of Aberfan being a reality!

$1630 more will get us halfway there!  Please give what you can and tell two friends!

Donate Now

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.

Thank you!

Every Gift Matters

I am grateful to every listener and believer in this mission!

Your support is critical to the success of Aberfan.  For a project this large, every donation makes an impact!

Donate Now

$8220 has been raised!  With gifts ranging from $15 to $2250, individuals, non-profit foundations and institutions are helping to make the recording and presentation of Aberfan a reality!  Join them with your tax deductible gift today!

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.

Why Art Matters: “Aberfan”

Art connects us not only to the symbolic life of the soul, bringing light to darkness, but to external events that caution us.  Art stretches our minds and hearts, eliciting change where we had not felt before.

Donate Now

Over this week, $515 has been contributed, raising the total to $8,195!  Fantastic!  Join them with your tax deductible gift today.

$11,805 more will enable us to complete the studio recording of Aberfan.

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.

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.

Remember Aberfan — Jeff Edwards

I came across this yesterday and was astounded by Jeff’s straightforward honesty.  He survived an event impossible for any of us to imagine, unless one were there, with a great dignity.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Contributions are tax deductible.

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 their riches for a few.  Aberfan is our entire structure under collapse, the condemnation of a corrupted capitalism imposed upon the world, a catastrophe in sound, the truth of our entrapment in a world run on power, violence and commodity, reducing to rubble all that is sacred.  This project confronts and aims to disrupt our complacency. 

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.

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue)

ABERFAN WALES 1966On October 21, 1966, in the small mining village of Aberfan, Wales, a man-made catastrophe occurred when a mountain of coal waste collapsed on a primary school, killing 116 children and 28 adults.

Informed by one of the most poignant disasters of our time, Aberfan is a full length contemporary composition that uses excerpts from a folk song my mother wrote following the tragedy.  Envisioned as a multi-media project at the crossroads of performance art, experimental media and environmental consciousness, music will be presented both in live performance and immersive installation with black & white photographs — such as the one above — taken by Life photojournalist IC Rapoport, who went to Aberfan to “photograph the psychic mess”.

By addressing the visceral, personal experiences of the disaster, Aberfan investigates how art, together with technology, can be used for experiential healing, while implying the disaster’s universal relevance as an almost-forgotten humanitarian crime.

I am seeking support to fund the recording and presentation of this project.  

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A psychological and spiritual rendering as much as a musical one, Aberfan is an excavation into my own soul. As Alice Miller discovered the trauma of her own childhood through spontaneous painting and wrote about in her many books, 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.

COLLABORATORS:

Michael Farquharson  Studio Producer / Engineer, Mix One Studios, Boston, MA

Ian Smith-Heisters  Media Design, Berkeley, CA

Denise Wallace-Spriggs  Art Direction, Boston, MA

PRESS

RADIO INTERVIEW   “I see [Aberfan] as the epitome of the folk process, because folk music, in all its definitions, is about stories.” (Nick Noble, WICN)

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.  All donations will be acknowledged on my website and project page unless requested kept private.

If sending a check, please make payable to NYFA & mail to:  Vault of the Valley Music, 27 Abbott Street, Greenfield, MA, 01301.

Here is a demo sample of voice and piano parts:  

“Their daily rendition [in morning assembly, 9am] of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ – a hymn written a few miles away in the bucolic tranquillity of the Usk Valley – was postponed that day.

They would sing it before they went home when the head teacher planned to wish her pupils a safe and enjoyable holiday.” (Aberfan:  A Mistake that Cost a Village its Children, by Ceri Jackson, BBC News, October 21, 2016)

The catastrophic collapse occurred about 9:15am.

Aerial view, October 21, 1966, courtesy of AGU Blogosphere

(Photo top of page by IC Rapoport 1966)

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

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“…Continuing the dialogue between art and the lives of ordinary people.”

thendara foundation

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deupreefamilyfoundation

 

Aberfan, a Parable

                                                      
11_10-Aberfan-2 AGU Blogosphere
Aberfan, Wales, Coal Refuse Collapse Kills 144, 116 Children, 1966

What was the salvation and economic lifeblood of this small village, with its promise to the miners of being able to provide for their families, became the death of a generation and ongoing trauma for those who survived.  Were it not for short sighted environmental, governmental and economic practices that served only to protect the system and those who gained by it, this tragedy would never have happened.

What will be the legacy of fracking?  What will we be mourning the loss of in 50 years?  What unintended consequences befall us or our children?  What will be destroyed forever?  Our groundwater?  Who will be held responsible?  The miners of Aberfan did not pile coal waste high above the village so their children would be buried one day.  Our systems have not changed, only the people and machinery have — corporate dominance assures ‘progress and safety’ while exploiting humankind and the earth as commodities.  The visceral, powerful message in the music of Aberfan is the felt knowledge of this human condition, resonating over time.

Unless we reclaim our history we are doomed.  It is precisely this loss of memory that enables these systems to dupe each coming generation into believing that prosperity is possible.

Aberfan (7 pianos, percussion, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts, a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Make your statement by helping this project be recorded.  Make your tax deductible donation towards its recording here.

West Virginia Collapse

West Virginia, Coal Refuse Collapse, 2012 
 

“Aberfan”: Rain – Rubble, Altered Interlude, Final Hymn (altered)

An extended excerpt of piano parts from Aberfan — survivors resuming the impossibility and hope of life forever altered in the aftermath.

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts.  Please make a donation towards its recording here.

“Aberfan” One woman’s elegy for a Welsh village’s young disaster victims

p00ksv3k640360 ICR sent, but not hisOver one year ago, Richie Davis wrote this powerful story for the Greenfield Recorder, our local paper.  Our interview together was the first I had spoken publicly about the composition that had been underway for years.

 

Aberfan – One Woman’s elegy for a Welsh village’s young disaster victims

Aberfan – One Woman’s elegy for a Welsh village’s young disaster victims (page 2)

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts.  Make a tax deductible donation  here to support the recording of this full length composition.

Photo from Getty Images by Jim Gray