IC Rapoport

Poem for Aberfan

October 21, 2017 marked the 51st anniversary of the Aberfan Disaster.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary in 2016, Welsh poets Grahame Davies and Tony Curtis were commissioned to write a Sequence of poems, entitled Aberfan Voices, each poem with a photograph by I. C. Rapoport.

Both Tony and Grahame are serving as humanities scholars for my project Aberfan.  I am deeply honored and grateful for their participation in its unfolding and fullest expression.  Over the next few posts I will share their work.  “Where I Was” by Tony Curtis:

Where I was

Where were you when the old King died?

Walking to the pit-head with my butties.

Where were you for the Peace in Our Time?

In the parlour with Delyth and her mother’s new wireless.

Where were you when the bombers came?

Holding the hand of a Bevin Boy in the shivering dark.

Where were you when the war ended?

In the bath before our fire, hearing the church bells.

Where were you for the Coronation?

A mile underneath her kingdom.

Where were you when they put a dog in space?

Down here.

What about the missiles in Cuba?

We was well out of reach in the Merthyr Vale: already buried.

Where were you when the President was shot?

Checking my lamp and opening my snap.

And where were you when you heard about Aberfan?

Mid-shift, working at the face, blinded with dust that the tears

Began to wash, and the mandrel dropped

As my fists clenched, and I heard

The distant howls of men.

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

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.

Photo IC Rapoport,  1966

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


“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

Raining from “Aberfan”

Today it’s raining.  I can hear the drops on our metal roof.  This is how it was when I was working on the Rain Sequence of Aberfan — realizing that rain falls haphazardly, scattershot, as if random.  Yet it is a precisely created pattern.

Here is the very beginning of Aberfan, a few minutes of rainone piano entering after the other.

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

Photograph IC Rapoport, Aberfan 1966

“Aberfan” on Northern Star Radio

Going into GCTV at noon today to record an interview about Aberfan with host Jackie Rose for “Northern Star Radio” on Greenfield’s station, WMCB, 107.9 FM.

Airs this coming Friday, May 29th, 6-7PM, and Sunday, May 31st, 5-6PM and again next week, June 5th, 6-7PM, and Sunday, June 7th, 5-6PM.  Streaming on the web @ WMCB.net.  Listen Live!