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Grandmother (Nukumij)

Based on text by Michelle Sylliboy

five improvisers | composed collaboratively by the LAMP Composition Cohort | please contact

This work was composed collaboratively by the 2022 LAMP Composition Cohort: Daniel Gardner, Andrew Gosse, Emily Green, Gabrielle Martin, Seán Parker, Hope Salmonson, and Ashley Seward.

This work draws inspiration from Michelle Sylliboy’s poem of the same title and from the improvisatory compositions of Pauline Oliveros. In it, we attempt to evoke or simulate communication between the self and the land. We exist in tandem with the world around us, and we call out to the land to receive guidance, just as we offer back to the land to maintain a connection. It is through this relationship that we feel linked to ourselves, to our community, and to Earth. In our improvisation, the caller in the centre and the responders in the four directions engage in dialogue through music, exchanging roles in which they share knowledge, ask and answer questions, and create something more than the sum of their parts.

Performance Note: As this work seeks to respond musically to Michelle Sylliboy’s words, the composers strongly suggest that anyone who wishes to perform this work engages directly with the poem, so as to draw their own interpretations and interact with the art respectfully. The poem, “Grandmother (Nukumij)” can be found in Michelle Sylliboy’s collection Kiskajeyi - I AM READY.

This work can be performed with or without instruments and/or found objects. One person stands or sits in the middle of the performance space; they are the caller. Four responders space themselves out to the left, right, front and back of the caller. Optionally, the responders may be hidden from view depending on the performance space. The improvisation happens in four sections, each separated by a brief pause:
1. The caller improvises, and the responders improvise back, imitating the caller’s musical material. These may happen one at a time, or overlapping with each other.
2. The responders improvise, and the caller responds to the sounds that they hear.
3. The caller sends out again. The responders send back, this time offering different material from what they hear
4. Finally, the responders improvise to the caller, who actively listens to the improvisation. Here, the responders may interact musically with each other. Once the sound ends organically, the piece is complete.

Video: premiere performance by Tristan Durie, Caitlin Broms-Jacobs, David Boutin-Bourque, Ryan Garbett and Gabe Azzie, June 25 2022, Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance

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