Sounds & Places
1. Ghana Blue Skies features kpanlongo rhythms of the Ga people of Ghana. Robert learned the drum patterns from Dr. Paschal Younge while studying in Ghana in 2004. The melody played on the marimba briefly quotes "Dzennaee," a song associated with Ghana's struggle for independence. 2. Azucar (the Spanish word for sugar) is a tribute to Celia Cruz, the Queen of Latin Music. Celia Cruz was born in Havana, Cuba. Her music was infused with the power and the sweet flavor that only she could add to salsa. 3. Little Village is a composition for amadinda (Ugandan-style xylophone) and acoustic guitar. The harmonic structure resulted from the exploration of various chord progressions which use only notes found within the major pentatonic scale (CDEGA). The xylophone rhythms are drawn from patterns commonly used in West African percussion ensembles. The steady beat is provided by ekpili seed rattles from Nigeria. 4. Calypsocation was composed as a feature for steel drums. The steel drum or "pan" originated in Trinidad and Tobago where it is recognized as the national instrument. Calypso is the music of Trinidad's carnival celebration. Calypso is rooted in traditional West African music, and was originally used as a means of communication between slaves, as well as a form of entertainment. 5. Big Box Blues showcases the cajon (large wooden box) which came to be used as a musical instrument in colonial Peru when slaves, having lost their African drums, resorted to boxes on which they could play their traditional rhythms. Boxes were adopted in a similar manner in Cuba resulting in a specific style of rumba music. 6. Lotus was composed as a sound track for peaceful meditation. The rhythm played on the water drum represents a heartbeat. The lotus, an ancient symbol of the womb, symbolizes peace, serenity, and spiritual growth. The ringing bowls are played in a cyclical pattern much like the gongs in Indonesian gamelan music. 7. Bikutsi music is rooted in the cultural traditions of the Beti people of Cameroon. The word "bikutsi" literally means "beat the earth." The name indicates a dance that is accompanied by stomping the feet on the ground. The percussion track includes the udu which is a clay pot musical instrument of the Ibo people of Nigeria where it is principally played by women. 8. Log Jam features cedar stumps in 2:3 clave rhythm. 9. Buzz Turtle includes the schizoid zither created by David Moore and ceramic petal trommes (Norwegian word for drums" made by Gwen Perkins. 10. Brazil opens in the rhythmic style of the music used to accompany capoeira, a Brazilian martial art/dance. The second section of the piece is samba, whose beginnings lie in the drumming and dance brought to Brazil by slaves from Angola and the Congo. 11. Skiffle Party was inspired by the informal "skiffle" music which originated in New Orleans around 1900 and was played on home-made instruments such as washboard, kazoo, and washtub bass. "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain" is an American folk song from the 1800s.