original music

Spotify: Laura Siersema Trio Live at 1794 Meetinghouse

The Trio Live album is now available on Spotify!

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If you listen to music on Spotify, there’s a small thing you can do that’d be a big help: FOLLOW me there!

Once I get to 250 followers, Spotify will “verify” my account, which opens up the possibility my music can be added to their playlists.

Thank you for this support.

iTunes: Laura Siersema Trio Live @ 1794 Meetinghouse

1794triocoverFor anyone that uses iTunes, the new release is now up!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/laura-siersema-trio-live-at-1794-meetinghouse/id1209345086

Please take a listen and add to your playlists.

Your support is so important!  Thank you.

Laura Siersema Trio: Live Album!

1794triocoverHooray!  Our trio album, Live at 1794 Meetinghouse is available at CDBaby!  Digital only!

Billy Klock and Wim Auer played with me for three years following the release of Talon of the Blackwater in 2009.  These guys gave their hearts and souls to my music.  What great champions!  I love them both.

Listening to these tracks over the last few weeks — our last performance together — has been a great joy.  At long last, an “official” release!  Dedicated to them.

Please take a listen!   Buy yourself an individual track or the whole album!

Thank you for your support.

 

Recording “Aberfan” to Begin!

We will begin recording piano parts for Aberfan in September!

One of the piano sequences, “Interlude”, represents the children walking to school on the morning of the disaster.  Following those schoolchildren on their walk over the school’s threshold, this musical section uses eighth-note triplets according to a randomized sequence. To achieve that, I cut out each of the notes of the original and reassembled them— with eyes closed — to convey the element of chance that is part of everyday life and every catastrophe.  

Each Interlude contains 144 beats, one for each person who died.  “Altered Interlude” accents shift among first, second and third beats.  Here is “2nd Altered Interlude”  

I am very honored to be working with producer and engineer Michael Farquharson.  This is going to be a tremendous experience.

More news and updates to follow soon.

Funding made possible in part by the Puffin Foundation and Puffin Foundation West.  Screenshot 2016-07-22 at 5.51.53 PM

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

Women in Music

Screenshot 2016-05-27 at 4.13.34 PM

Many thanks to Eve Meyer, Editor in chief, Journal of the IAWM, for encouraging me to write an article for the journal about my work and career, all the way up through my latest endeavor, Aberfan.

See “Turn Us into Ashes”, page 25.  IAWM Journal Spring 2016 Final (1)

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

 

Women’s Music and Spirituality

Today I came across this email exchange I’d had back in 2003 with journalist Suzie Siegel.  She’d reviewed my first album, When I Left Loss.  In fact, hers was the first review of my music ever done!

“I was invited to present my work for a Spirituality Seminar in the MSW program @ Syracuse University last year. Ever since then I have wondered about this connection between my work and the ways in which other women experience and explore their own paths–for my work is one version of what it is to individuate–and based on the way my heart was racing that day, I thought I had come upon something very important.”

Suzie wrote back:  “Although I was never in the entertainment area of journalism, I often reviewed CDs by women because the work simply wasn’t getting done. Music by men dominates even progressive radio stations, such as WMNF in Tampa. I think women need to hear the stories and voices of other women. Otherwise, we’re always seeing ourselves as reflected by men.”

How good it is to be reminded of something you already knew.

Graphic Design Helene Zuckerbrod

Graphic Design Helene Zuckerbrod

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” (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/FundAberfanhttp://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 that 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.  We used to practice at Wim’s house in Brattleboro 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.