women composers

Aberfan 54th Anniversary 10.21.20

In 1966, my Mom wrote a song 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.

In the midst of the deepest revision of Aberfan, my own modern composition,  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 kept, spliced together for my own piece, cut out from Mom’s lyric.

In the small Welsh town 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–

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 continue to create this recording.

(Originally posted several years ago, when I began this blog.)