Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light)
Nashville String Machine
Jerod Tate, Conductor
Chickasaw Nation Children’s Chorus and Dance Troupe
Vocal Soloists: Stephen Clark, Chelsea Owen, Meghan Vera Starling
Narrators: Lynne Moroney, Wes Studi, Richard Ray Whitman
Tate has clearly taken the Western musical tradition and found a compelling voice that integrates his native culture.
– Sequenza 21
Lowak Shoppala’ (Fire and Light) is a work that expresses Chickasaw identity through the medium of modern classical music and theatre. The work is in eight scenes and features orchestra, narration, children’s chorus, traditional Chickasaw and modern dancers, traditional Chickasaw and classical vocal soloists and Chickasaw storytellers. Each scene depicts a part of Chickasaw culture and history:
Scene 1: Fire and Light
Scene 2: Double Header
Scene 3: Shell Shaker
Scene 4: Clans
Scene 5: Removal
Scene 6: Spider Brings Fire
Scene 7: Hymn
Scene 8: Double Header & Finale
Lowak Shoppala’ was conceived, designed and composed by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate and premiered Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Te Ata Theatre, East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma with Mr. Tate conducting the Oklahoma Youth Orchestra.
To Awaken the Sun
UCO Cantilena Women’s Choir
Darla Eshelman, Conductor
Candace Fish, Piano
Tess Remy-Schumacher, Cello
• Jerod Tate’s Taloowa’ Chipota (Children’s Songs) appears on this album.
Taloowa’ Chipota is a work composed, originally, for middle school aged chorus. The songs are reminiscent of traditional stomp dancing and are based on old Chickasaw melodies. Stomp dances begin at dusk and end at dawn. The first movement depicts the beginning sunlight of the morning. The second movement is full of abstracted textures emulating the shell shaking in stomp dances. The vocables have no translated meaning and are pronounced as in Einglish.
Text by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate
I see a light in the distance… Who is my new friend?
He is whispering in my hear, Gently talking to my heart. Look, the sun is calling to us! He is painting the sky!
Now, our mothers will dance.
SUNRISE (HASHIAT KOCHCHA)
Translation by Joshua Hinson
I see a light in the distance…
Misha pílla aashoppala’ písli….
(over there) (a light) (I see)
Who is my new friend?
Hatahoot ankána’ himitta’?
(who) (my friend) (new)
He is whispering in my ear,
Sahaksibisha milínkaha chokkilimaat anompohóli,
(my ear) (is close to) (quietly) (talking to)
Gently talking to my heart.
Sachonkasha achokmalicho’sit imanompoli.
(my heart) (gently) (talking to)
Look, the sun is calling to us!
Pisa’! Hashiat powaháa!
(look) (the sun) (calling to us)
He is painting the sky!
(the sky) (he is painting)
Now, our mothers will dance.
Himmaka’ poshki’ alhihaat hilha’chi.
(now) (our mothers) (they) (dance)
Works by Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate
San Francisco Symphony and Chorus
Edwin Outwater, Conductor
Christine Bailey Davis, Flute
Thomas Robertello, Flute
Tate is rare as an American Indian composer of classical music. Rarer still is his ability to effectively infuse classical music with American Indian nationalism.”
– Washington Post
Tracing Mississippi, Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
1. Taloowa’ (Song)
2. Missipi’ Aabi (Tracing Mississippi)
3. Shilombish Anompoli’ (Talking Spirits)
4. Halshi’ Hiloha (Sun Thunder) [6:31] Christine Bailey Davis, Flute
Mississippi was the original homeland of the Chickasaw Nation until our removal to Indian Territory (now called Oklahoma) in the 1830’s. This removal is commonly known as the Trail of Tears, and involved numerous tribes from the Southeastern United States.
Tracing Mississippi is a remembrance of the old country my family lived in and incorporates traditional songs and dance rhythms, along with American Indian percussion instruments. In particular, the opening solo flute quotes the Chickasaw Garfish Dance song. The Choctaw hymn, entitled Worth of the Soul, is quoted by the horn quartet during the final build of the first section (Taloowa’). Specific rhythms throughout the work are derived from Southeast Indian and other American Indian sources.
Also included is an original melody by my Comanche colleague and dear friend, composer and pianist, Dr. David Bad Eagle Yeagley. This melody appears in the third section (Shilombish Anompoli’), played by the solo flute in trio with the piccolo trumpet playing the Choctaw hymn, and the vibraphone and crotales playing a segment of the Garfish Dance song. The Comanche melody is an expression of the beautiful, mournful and distant voice of the Moon.
Iholba’ (The Vision) for Solo Flute, Orchestra, and Chorus
5. Halbina’ (The Gift)
6. Iholba’ (The Vision)
Thomas Robertello, Flute
Iholba’ (The Vision) is a work inspired by the composer’s native Chickasaw culture. The Chickasaw Nation originally lived in the Southeastern United States and was eventually relocated to Indian Territory, which is now the state of Oklahoma. The musical material of Iholba’ is based on a Chickasaw Garfish Dance song and is performed in the Chickasaw language. The text is original poetry by the composer, and the translation was provided by Onita Carnes, Catherine Wilmond and Pamela Munro.
ETHEL String Quartet
American is beautiful in ETHEL’s Documerica.
– San Francisco Classical Voice
• Jerod Tate’s Pisashi (Reveal) appears on this album.
In 1971, the newly established Environmental Protection Agency launched Project Documerica, commissioning photographers across America to document the state of the environment and its impact on society. The result was an astonishing archive of tens of thousands of photographs amassed over nearly a decade—stirring, poignant images of fragile beaches, junkyards, mining, logging and traffic jams, and of Americans playing ball, gathering for worship, fishing, dancing and just living life.
In spite of its historic and cultural significance, this massive artistic project had been largely forgotten until recent digitalization made it more accessible. Forty years after its advent, the imagery of Project Documerica inspired the pioneering string quartet ETHEL to create ETHEL’s Documerica, which taps the archive’s evocative potential and brings its visual and emotional impact into dialogue with the 21st century.
The album features new work by ETHEL members and music the quartet commissioned from four other uniquely American artists—the acclaimed composer Mary Ellen Childs, Grammy Award-winning jazz drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr., Chickasaw Nation’s Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, and West Point commissionee James “Kimo” Williams. Hailing from different regions, backgrounds and generations, each composer contributes his or her distinctive voice to a score that represents the diversity of America. The music explores a range of American genres—blues, jazz, Native American traditional, bluegrass, and old-time string band—filtered through a distinctly 21st-century lens.
ETHEL’s Documerica made its world premiere in BAM’s 2013 Next Wave Festival. The live production is a multimedia concert, directed by OBIE Award-winner Steve Cosson, with thousands of Project Documerica images incorporated into a projection design by renowned artist Deborah Johnson. The New York Times characterized the evening-length work as “new music bonding with old images in rich, provocative and moving ways.”
Described as “indefatigable and eclectic” (The New York Times) and “vital and brilliant” (The New Yorker), string quartet ETHEL is “one of the most exciting quartets around” (Strad Magazine). At the heart of ETHEL is a collaborative ethos—a quest for a common creative expression that is forged in the celebration of community. ETHEL performs adventurous music by Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, Phil Kline, David Lang, Mary Ellen Childs, John King, Raz Mesinai, John Zorn, Missy Mazzoli, Anna Clyne, Steve Reich, Kenji Bunch, Don Byron, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Marcelo Zarvos, Pamela Z, Evan Ziporyn and Terry Riley among others, much of it composed for ETHEL. ETHEL has premiered more than 50 21st-century works by groundbreaking composers, and has collaborated with an extraordinary international community of artists including David Byrne, Bang on a Can, Kaki King, Todd Rundgren, Carlo Mombelli, Ursula Oppens, Juana Molina, Tom Verlaine, STEW, Ensemble Modern, Jill Sobule, Dean Osborne, Robert Mirabal, Howard Levy, Simone Sou, Andrew Bird, Iva Bittová, Colin Currie, Thomas Dolby, Jeff Peterson, Oleg Fateev, Stephen Gosling, Jake Shimabukuro, Polygraph Lounge and Vijay Iyer.
ETHEL is: Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello), Kip Jones (violin) and Corin Lee (violin).
Four Strings Around the World
Irina Muresanu, Solo Violin
• Jerod Tate’s Oshta (Four) appears on this album.
Muresanu’s Four Strings Around the World is a compelling program celebrating the diversity of cultures around the world through the uniting voice of a single medium: the violin. The journey, designed by Irina Muresanu, starts in Europe with the fiddling buoyancy of pieces by Romanian, Russian and Irish composers (Enescu, Shchedrin and Flynn respectively) and two titanic pillars of the solo violin repertoire: Paganini’s Caprice no. 24 and the Bach Chaconne. The program continues sonic exploration through works of composers with musical roots in Persian (Reza Vali), Chinese (Bright Sheng) and Indian (Shirish Korde) cultures. Each of these pieces uses a different modal system, creating a wide variety of sound effects. After a brief detour in South America (via an Astor Piazzolla ”Tango Etude”), Four Strings visits North American sounds. (Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate and Mark O’Connor).
Muresanu will continue her endeavors to perform this program around the world, as well as commission new pieces and discover more repertoire for solo violin that evokes the spirit of a certain nation.
“Four Strings Around the World not only extends the superbly talented Muresanu in new directions, but offers a glimpse into variations of violin technique and approach that would only be gleaned by attending concerts in various country fairs, Irish pubs, campfire gatherings and parlors. The only thing these works had in common was a kind of magical virtuosity that Muresanu regaled the audience with in a most facile manner…”
– Cape Cod Times, July 2014