Vahine Taihara

November 30, 2008

SSAA. Mahoi (Polynesian) song transcribed from a field recording. Has a chant-like quality. Difficult to learn but very fun to sing, especially when imitating the “yowling cat” sounds of the field recording. Short solos and one wailing descant above the chanting, rhythmically interesting 4-part chorus. See KaiaSing.com for more info on the piece.

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Everybody Loves My Baby

November 29, 2008

SSAA. Based very closely on the Boswell Sisters’ classic rendition. Voicings are almost identical. All instrumentation has been stripped or converted, such as the bass line combining several of the rhythm instruments from the originals ’20s-era recording. I kept the scat, but simplified it to make it humanly possible to sing.

This took Kaia about a year to nail and it’s one of the most technically challenging pieces we’ve done. You’d have no idea it was so difficult when you just listen to the Boswells doing it! Phenomenal musicians. I prostrate myself in homage.

Everybody Loves My Baby sample by Kaia


Not One More Day

November 23, 2008

Lead line only; harmonies are easy to devise. Tune based on civil rights song Oh, Freedom. Lyrics and overall arrangement by moi. Biting critique of the Bush administration, particularly the war in Iraq. The idea for the song originally came from a T-shirt with the slogan “Not one more dollar, not one more day, not one more death.” I changed the order and made it into the song’s refrain: “Not more dollar, not one more death, not one more day.”

Lyrics for Not One More Day


First Nations Lament

November 22, 2008

Five-part piece; alto-mezzo range. Tune based on Zuni lullabye. Lyrics Navajo. Very slow, dissonant, hypnotic piece that builds to a chilling climax. An examination of my own ancestors’ relationships with the aboriginal inhabitants of this land (U.S.). The song accuses Europeans of being cut off from the Whole, laments the Trail of Tears, and ends with a repeating refrain translated as “War returned with her coming.”


Vow

November 22, 2008

SSA with two soloists and drum. The most powerful piece I’ve ever heard about standing up to domestic violence. I take little claim for the piece; it came to me almost fully formed and I just fleshed it out. It’s a hard-driving critique of violence from all perspectives, centered around the vow itself:

I swear by the Earth and all I hold dear, / I will not stand by and watch this slaughter; / I will intervene, I’ll stand in your way; / You will not strike your sistah, your wife, a-your daughter! /

Must have two power soloists and an ensemble ready to go the emotional distance. Has received a standing ovation at every performance.

One version available on CD: The Indianapolis Women’s Chorus’ To Sing Is To Fly at Amazon.


Interlude

November 22, 2008

Five-part, contemplative, gentle piece on open syllables. Minor key, about two-three minutes long, sort of an Enya sound.


Revenge On The Second Sopranos

November 22, 2008

SSA. I composed this after the mezzos in the Bloomington Feminist Chorus told me to “write a song around A, we like that note.” The piece is actually killer for the First Sopranos, with leaps and jumps to impossible intervals. The mezzos stay on A throughout the whole thing. A completely discordant piece with almost all the lyrics beginning with “S.” Very silly; it includes various asides to the audience and ends with the last few bars of the Hallelujah Chorus. I dare you to sing this.