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Canções Profundas (Deep Songs) is a soundscape composition for field recordings and improvising musicians on the themes of migration, diaspora, memory, identity, and emotional/cultural ties to place, weaving together the journey of Azorean immigrants and my own journey in search of a lost heritage. Combining elements of narrative, documentary, and folk and experimental musics, the work consists of a vivid multi-layered mix of environmental sounds and music recorded in the Azores, and occasional electronic processing. Beginning with the primal sounds of simmering geothermal pits and ocean waves gurgling in lava tubes, the piece progresses to the natural world of animals, to the human world of agriculture, religious ceremonies, and community celebrations, following whales across the ocean to a distant land where the culture takes root and tenaciously survives, and ending in the cemetery where my ancestors are buried.
No lyrics, but a list of the field recordings heard:
Part 1. Islands
Caldeira (Furnas, São Miguel); Surf (Lajes, Flores); Water in lava, Porto Velho (Santa Cruz, Flores); Tide pools & terns (Santa Cruz, Flores); Cagarros aka Cory’s Shearwater (Lajes, Flores); Insects & frogs (Lajes, Flores); Dawn chorus (Lajes, Flores); Birds (Lagoa do Canário, São Miguel & Ponta da Fajã, Flores); Cow bells (Agua de Pau, São Miguel)
Part 2. Community
Bells & Mass (Lajes, Flores); Big bell (Lajes, Flores); Procession & foliões (Lajes, Flores); Festa crowd & flags (Lajes, Pico); Marching band (Lajes, Pico); Festa crowd (Lajes, Pico & Lajes, Flores); Band warming up + street sounds (Lajes, Pico); Surf (Ribeira Grande, São Miguel; Porta Eira, Faial)
Part 3. Journey
Whale boat regatta (Calheta de Nesquim, Pico); Marina (Ponta Delgada, São Miguel); Wind in lighthouse (Capelinhos, Faial); “Cantigas ao Desafío”; Surf (Ribeira Grande, São Miguel & Porta Eira, Faial); Deep ocean; Sperm whales
Part 4. Arrival
Foghorn (Crescent City); Surf (Pirate’s Cove & Port of San Luís, Avila Beach); Festa crowd & band warm-up (IDESST Hall, Sausalito); Dawn chorus (San Luis Obispo)
Part 5. Coda
Mockingbird (Old Mission Cemetery, San Luis Obispo); Dawn chorus (Lajes, Pico); “Saudade”
from Canções Profundas | Deep Songs (2016),
released August 25, 2016
Rafael Carvalho: viola da terra
Lesli Dalaba: trumpet
Beth Fleenor: clarinet, bass clarinet
Paul Kikuchi: percussion
Joshua Parmenter: electronic processing
Steve Peters: field recordings, electronic processing, alto saxophone
Naomi Siegel: trombone
Greg Sinibaldi: tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Instrumental recording, mixing, and mastering by Doug Haire at Jack Straw Cultural Center, Seattle.
Hydrophone recordings: William A. Watkins Collection of Marine Mammal Sound Recordings & Data, courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Kate Stafford, University of Washington Applied Physics Lab.
Foliões das Lajes das Flores recorded at 2014 Festa do Emigrante in Lajes das Flores; Filarmónica Liberdade Lajense recorded at 2011 Festa de São Pedro, Lajes do Pico.