1966

Jung on the Purpose of Art: The Outlier

The creative artist is an outlier.  

“…the work of an artist meets the psychic needs of the society in which she lives, and therefore means more than her personal fate, whether she is aware of it or not.  Being essentially the instrument of her work, she is subordinate to it, and we have no right to expect her to interpret it for us.  She has done her utmost by giving it form and must leave the interpretation to others and to the future.  A great work of art is like a dream…for all its apparent obviousness it…is always ambiguous.  To grasp its meaning, we must allow it to shape us as it shaped her.  Then we also understand the nature of her primordial experience.  She has plunged into the healing and redeeming depths of the collective psyche, where man is not lost in the isolation of consciousness and its errors and sufferings, but where all are caught in a common rhythm which allows the individual to communicate her feelings and strivings to mankind as a whole.”  Jung, Carl Gustav.  “Psychology and Literature”, The Spirit in Man, Art, and Literature c 1966

“An outlier may be sometimes excluded from the data set (and) can cause serious problems in statistical analyses.”  (Wikipedia)

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.

I continue to seek funds to complete the recording of Aberfan.  All contributions, no matter the size, are greatly appreciated.

P.S.  In the quote above, I changed all pronouns from “he” and “him” to “her” and “she”.

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.

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.

A Beautifully Written Story and Music from “Aberfan”

The 50th anniversary, October 21, 2016.South Wales Police Museum

Aberfan: The mistake that cost a village its children

By Ceri Jackson, BBC News

Here are a few short samples from our first studio sessions for Aberfan.

First, “Rain Sequence”, the layering of pianos at the beginning of the piece.  

Second, “First Hymn”, a demo excerpt of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”.  The children were to sing it on the day of the disaster before they went home. 

“Rock Sequence”, the catastrophic collapse.  

Last, an excerpt of “Altered Rain”, the impossibility and hope of life forever altered as people descend back into the village following the mass funeral. 

In deepest honor.

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.

Photo courtesy of Alan George

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.

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

Truth in Aberfan

What’s the point of this piece Aberfan?

For all who have never heard of Aberfan, and all who remember Aberfan as if it were yesterday, unless we claim the truth of our shared history, we will lose the ability to recognize the violent indifference to life it entails.  Crimes more and more horrific will be perpetuated at the hands of power and greed and commodity, as we continue to extinguish ourselves.

Charles Nunn story

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.  Please make your tax deductible donation towards its recording here.

A tragedy remembered: Aberfan, the village that lives in the shadow of the past

IMG_8629IMG_8631I was struck by this 2006 headline in an online British newspaper, The Independent.  In an article by Barrie Clement, the lingering severity of grief and vivid traumatic memories of the disaster in 1966 are spoken.

Here are a few photos of the Garden of Remembrance which stands on the site of Pantglas School, which was built between 1901 and 1922 and nearly destroyed in the landslide.  Photos were taken by Java Kitrick in a recent visit to Wales.  As President of Puffin Foundation West, she recently awarded a grant to Aberfan. 

IMG_8624

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.

“Aberfan”

Digging effort, Pantglas Junior School, Aberfan, Wales, October 21, 1966

9/8 bar – Trauma – 2nd Altered Interlude

Aberfan is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Please join in the effort by making your contribution here.

Photo courtesy AGU Blogosphere