another day, another piece for electronic organ and bongo drums


I just finished a short work (16′) for electronic organ and bongo drums. Why that combination? Because no one else has ever done it.

Seriously, I just thought it would be an interesting combination, and originally had some interest in setting part of Che’s 1964 UN speech to bongo drums and electronic organ. But as much as that idea intrigued me, I have yet to find the Spanish original of his speech (the English translation abounds on the Web), and given Che’s dislike of the English language as the language of colonialism in Latin America, it wouldn’t be right to set the words in English. I could also imagine a performer dressing up as Che, in his guerilla outfit and all that, but that would detract from both the words and the music, so I just wrote the music and left it at that.

 

The work is entitled, simply enough, piece for electronic organ and bongo drums. The bongo part is continuous except for a few measures near the middle, and for the most part, the piece is in 7/16. The organ has only five notes to play in the entire piece-that’s the entire range, just five notes. And in some ways it’s a fairly simplistic study in rhythmic augmentation. But I wanted to see how much I could do with only five notes, much like I did in the 10-minute string quartet work five notes for christina fong.

 

Anyway, the part (in English) from Che’s speech that really interested me was as follows:

 

Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?

 

The score is here. A MP3 file done with Reason 4.0 is here.