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June 5, 1p

F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center, Bethea Gallery

Louisiana Tech University

1 Mayfield Avenue, Ruston, LA 71272

[Livestream Link]


Weekend Rain by Juro Kim Feliz (Canada)


Bordones by Juan Marulanda (Colombia)


Messages by Neil Rolnick (New York)



Death invites solidarity and diplomacy. The passing of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito in 1989 brought an end to the “62 year-long ‘Shōwa’ period of war and peace.” With imperial Japan’s World War atrocities laid to rest, the whole world has sent its deepest sympathies. Radio NHK’s English shortwave radio broadcast reported a global response to this event, heard at 07:50 GMT in January 7th of 1989 at 15270kHz. "Weekend Rain" reimagines rain sounds within expanding cyclical structures over time. Recordings of the piano, Japanese koto, and found objects diffuse a canvas of rain-like sounds as poetry, written by the composer, juxtaposes with the shortwave radio broadcast. The poetry forcibly creates a narrative as it sits side by side with the broadcast: "Someone drops a grain of salt; // Massive ocean waves jolt crowds awake! // Wide-eyed stray cats rejoice." A numbers station broadcast (07:55 UTC, October 4th of 2021 at 9065kHz) joins this poetic garb of encryption as if to mask the loneliness of death with unrelenting matters of geopolitics and global affairs. Created for “Shortwave Transmissions” (2018) of Oxford-based Cities and Memory, "Weekend Rain" is released in the "Tunog Lata" album compilation of MusiKolektibo.

Written for percussion trio, Bordones takes advantage from the interaction between the 3/4 and 6/8 meters, which is inherent to folk music genres from various Colombian regions. The title of the piece proceeds from the designation of accompaniment patterns typically played by the marimba de chonta in currulao, a musical genre from the Southern Pacific coastal region in Colombia. However, the initial idea of the work does not focus exclusively on the aforementioned musical genre but on the accompanying figures of various Colombian musical genres that, despite corresponding to cultural regions that present significant differences between them, coincide in the conflicting use of 3/4 and 6/8. The introductory section presents a thematic idea formed by the sum of motifs from accompaniment patterns of various Colombian musical genres in 3/4 or 6/8, now transferred to a 4/4 meter and semiquavers (instead of the original quavers). The thematic material is briefly interrupted by a series of descending arpeggios that presage harmonic sonorities in the next section. The latter was put together using rhythmic motifs taken from the currulao, with a gradual slowing down that leads to an idea of descending arpeggio in the wood slats and, finally, to short and sharp sounds played in unison. This goes to a central section where the focal point momentarily moves away from rhythmic to timbral interest. The musical discourse is now inspired by the ringing of the tiple, with various explorations that seek to emulate the strumming sounds and tenderness of this distinctive string instrument from the mountain regions in the interior of Colombia. The rhythmical conversation is resumed during the next section, this time with motifs taken from distinctive rhythmic structures of the música llanera, a folk music genre from of the vast plains that extend to the east of the country and are shared with Venezuela. While these motifs become more complex and intense, the musical lines head toward the appearance of the kickdrum, which resembles a hemiola figure that is distinctive both in the música llanera as well as in the fandango that is heard in the typical wind bands from Colombia´s Caribbean coastal region. In this manner, the climax of the work is reached, being immediately followed by a recapitulation of the initial section which leads to a conclusion.

My wife Wendy passed away in August 2018. Two days later, in a panic that I couldn't remember the sound of her voice, I found that I could un-delete voice messages on my phone. I found about a dozen messages from her there, dating from the beginning of her long illness until her final days. Messages is made of samples of those messages, and some of the music she mentions in them. It gives testament to her strength, graciousness, cheerful outlook, and ultimate acceptance of her fate.

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