OKLAHOMA CITY – Classical music compositions by Chickasaw Indian composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate have been adapted for the June 10 episode of HBO’s Westworld.
Parts of two Tate original compositions – Shakamaxon and Oktibihah – are now included as underscoring for the episode titled Kiksuya (Remember).
HBO music executives paired Tate’s music with the Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi, whose body of work includes compositions for Game of Thrones, Person of Interest, and the movie Iron Man.
The show will air Sunday, June 10. Check local listings for times.
According to music supervisor Jennifer Reeve, the description of the episode is “Kiksuya Akecheta travels through Westworld, searching for his lost love and uncovering the truth of his existence.”
Music editor Christopher Kaller, told Tate, “This episode has a major American Indian theme. I cut your music into the show, and the producers loved it!” The two American Indian actors featured in this episode are Daniel TwoFeathers (Lakota/Wampanoag) and Geronimo Vela (Apache), great nephew of Geronimo.
The Emmy Award winning Oklahoma City composer and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is honored his music was selected for the Westworld sound track.
“Known for its cultural variety, Westworld has been including an important American Indian element to the show. This particular episode is what drove the music editor to me,” Tate explained. “Some of my music was quoted directly and some used as inspiration.
“After Djawadi made a derivative work out of one composition, Westworld sent me an example of his result. Basically, it is paraphrasing my music using the sonic soundscape (the orchestration). It was really cool to hear what he did,” Tate said. “I am flattered. He was moved by a certain soundscape in my music and used it as a model for his orchestration.”
Such collaboration is common for television. Westworld has tapped works by artists such as the late Amy Winehouse, Radiohead and French composer Claude Debussy, who died in 1918.
This is not the first time national television has knocked on Tate’s door for assistance.
NBC contracted Tate to rework a tune for its live performance of Peter Pan in December 2014. Ugg-A-Wugg, a song featuring Peter Pan, Tiger Lily and her tribe, needed a facelift. “The song is widely considered to employ outdated stereotypes about American Indian language and culture, both musically and lyrically,” the online news site SALON reported in November 2014 when it interviewed Tate. Tate collaborated with Peter Pan executives to revamp the music and lyrics.
Westworld is an adaptation of the 1973 movie of the same name starring Yul Brynner. Brynner portrays a robot in a modern amusement park set in the old west. Robots interact with human tourists, sometimes with horrifying consequences.
Shakamaxon, for string orchestra, was commissioned and debuted by the Philadelphia Classical Symphony in 2008. Shakamaxon is Tate’s historically accurate look at a Lenape Indian village that bordered Philadelphia centuries ago. It was there, under an old elm tree, Chief Tamanend signed the 1682 treaty between William Penn and his tribe. Tate dedicated the work to descendants of Chief Tamanend.
Oktibihah a chamber work for solo timpani, strings and piano, was commissioned by Carol Nelson and premiered in 1994. Oktibihah is a very ethereal work that treats an old Chickasaw legend about the formation of a lake that became the home of ancient Chickasaw spirits.