Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Two Mountain Songs

Now we've come to Gabriela Lena Frank's Two Mountain Songs. Gaby says that this is based on the poetry of the Andes, which dominates a large part of South America and was once inhabited by the Inca. This piece is based on an old Inca poem. The Inca, says Gaby, "ate everything," including language. The poems were collected by Jose Maria Arguedes using the Quecha language of these Inca mountain people.

So far, says John, we've heard the voice sounding like anything from transportation to machines. Here, says Gaby, she plays on the sound of echoes. If you were there on the Andes, you would hear a kind of hum. So one group here will tell the story and another will hum, and still another will sound the echo.

The second song has more of a rhythm. Listen to picaflor (hummingbird), where the person is asking the hummingbird to carry back a letter to his parents. The sound imitates the sound of pan pipes, also a distinct musical instrument of the Andes. 

Everthing about this song, she says, is about lung power, about stamina. Here we go with Gaby Frank's Two Mountain Songs, live from WNYC.

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