It’s the weekend after Thanksgiving and just a few days until I enter the recording studio again. This time for a solo album, my sixth. I can’t really believe that fact. This would not be possible without the generous support of the Minnesota State Arts Board-Artist Initiative. (My adopted home state is so wonderful in its support of the arts…be envious!) This award let me commission Reinaldo Moya, a transplant resident of Minnesota from Venezuela (by way of NYC). The resulting work is an epic 40-minute piano tour de force, The Way North; choosing a Central American migrant as our Everyman, who makes the perilous journey from Central America, through Mexico, and into the US; leaving behind every thing that is known.
The album theme of “What is Left Behind” came together by a happy accident. I have been playing Amy Williams pieces, Falling/Brigid’s Flame and Steve Taylor’s The Dove is Sad for some time; both evoke an idea of departure. Two of these pieces are homages and that concept gave way to commissioning Linda Buckley (my dear Irish “sister”) to compose Siar (Gaelic for “West”) about her grandfather’s immigration from Ireland to NYC to work as a laborer building the Empire State Building, and then returning to the farms of Ireland. Reinaldo’s piece became the flashpoint that drew all of these works that I have known and loved into a working theme. Throw in a newer piece for me: Andrea Mazzariello’s Flight School, which focuses on embarking on a new adventure, and bing bang boom…we have an album!