The last few weeks have between ruthlessly busy, but I manage to spend my spare moments (or nights up late) finding music to the Psalms. God has once again immensely blessed me in this process (and the other big “g”, Google has helped a lot too!). Last blog post I talked about the Sons of Korah, whose song Psalm 117 I have decided to use for my piece for the USC Dance student choreography showcase next month.
Recently I discovered the Band Trinity from the Netherlands, whose music is an eclectic mix of new world and old world feel, with Latin American influence since three of the four band members grew up in Peru before returning to their homeland. They have trained in Celtic music as well, specifically Irish, and play numerous different sorts of whistles, flutes, and other instruments I will not attempt to list, but am impressed by nonetheless. They sing in Spanish, English, as well as Dutch. Similar to the Sons of Korah in their world music tone and passion to worship God in their cultures, I can more closely ally with Trinity because they are close to my age. I know it sounds silly to say that, but I have been in contact with one of the band members who was exceedingly generous with me sending me back the information I asked for in a timely manner over email. Their songs are due to be out on iTunes in April 2011. In the meantime, he sent me two of their MP3s – I was ecstatic! Another link I discovered between my now two new favorite bands, he told me, was that Trinity has covered the Sons of Korah in a tour throughout the Netherlands! What a small world, to use a cliche phrase, and a wonderful world enabled by internet and social networking -these things wouldn’t have been possible back in the Gilded Age…
A third group I recently discovered, The Psalms Project, has taken up the commission to “dress historical treasures in 21st century sounds,”as their website states. Psalters set to Genevian melodies from the 16th century tunes in the Genevan Psalter of 1562, produced under the leadership of John Calvin, already exist in many other languages, but they needed recreating in English, and in modern voice. This group of professional musicians, under the guidance of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, have contributed to the making the Psalms Unplugged which is now available to order off their website (I should be paid to advertise).
I am really excited about all these developments, and am ready to get in the studio! Must make more time to do that this week, because my audition for dancers is this Thursday for Psalm 117!
My next step is to research Latin dance moves that be incorporated into my piece. I regret not having learned Flamenco from my dance instructors in New Mexico while I was growing up. While in Spain last spring, the most powerful dance experience I have had watching dancer perform happened late one night in the streets of Barcelona where a man captivated a large audience of passers-by with his intense, hot and sweaty Flamenco dance to the beats of a drum his comrade made come from a simple box. This dance I am creating can also be a tribute to my Spanish ballet teacher and master Luis Fuentes who taught me from ages 11 to 14 in Albuquerque, and then private lessons while I was at Boston Ballet School in 2005. In addition to Flamenco, I am also drawing on sign and ‘worship arts’ but I am determined that my dances will not in any way be liturgical, but my personal excellence.