Latin American Electroacoustic Music Collection

alcides lanza, ...there is a way to sing it... (1988-III), 1988

Recording time: 15 min 01 s.
Instruments: Radiophonic work
Recorded at: Composer' studio (SHELAN Studio) and McGill University EMS. Montreal, QC, Canada.

Other resources available:
- Biography of alcides lanza
- Compositions by alcides lanza

About this composition:

this composition uses extensively the voice of actress-singer Meg Sheppard, reciting, singing, and improvising on "Power Songs", a poem by the Canadian poet Norbert Ruebsaat. the composer aknowledges the important contribution Meg Sheppard has made to this composition, from choosing the poem by Ruebsaat, to the personal touch of her vocal improvisations.

the repetitive aspects existing within the poem have been highlighted with corresponding repetitive patterns in the creation of sequences, using similar timbrical situations, and the utilization of echoes and delays, digital or produced with tape manipulation. in short, this composition is like a "modern passacaglia, quasi tonal, telluric and primitive, created for the radio media but also possible as a concert piece". for the creation of the piece the following equipment was used: Mac SE, Akai S900, Yamaha digital synthesizers TX81Z and DX5, Lexicon LXP l, Revox TRs, Casio DAT recorder, Sennheisser 421 mikes. software by Opcode [DX edit. Libr.], Sound Designer (Akai), Master Tracks Pro (sequencing).

...there is a way to sing it... was realized with a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts at the request of David Olds, CKLN radio, Toronto. Created at the SHELAN studios, Montreal.

"Power Songs", by Norbert Ruebsaat (used by permission from the author)

At the meeting they all sang their songs
for whatever power they had
Everyone sang.
power songs
when people had nothing
when all had been taken away
when the world had vanished
when there were no more names
and no places

the people sang

when there was no more food
when the bellies of the young were like rawhide knots
when the hands of the men fell away from their bodies
like dried leaves
when breath walked out of the lips of the old
and the women's wombs became empty

the people sang

when there was no more wind and no grass
when all the hills had left
when there were no more rivers and no earth and no oceans

they sang

when there were no eyes anymore
because all was darkness
when the fires went out
and there were no hands
when ears fell silent

they sang
when there was nothing to touch
when all was ash
when the skin fell away
and the spirits fled like smoke

when there was no more sky

when the mouth of death opened
and death yawned
and death was a hot blizzard
when death made no sound

the people sang

they sang the songs
for whatever power they had
everyone sang

they asked that song for help

it is a strong song
a power song
when there is nothing
and old song
older than the world

there is a way to sing it.