Tears of Darfur.(2007), for SATB Chorus. This was written for the 25th Anniversary of the founding of AmeriCares and was performed by the ProArte Singers at the 2007 AmeriCares Airlift Benefit at Westchester County Airport on October 13, 2007. The work is dedicated to Bob and Leila Macauley, founders and guiding lights of the organization.
While the music is Western in its approach, it uses a number of tropes that come from indigenous Sudanese rhythms, with lyrics inspired by statements made by displaced people from Darfur and Chad (the country to which many Sudanese people have fled).
The tabla (drum) and the riqq (small
tambourine) are instruments used in the local culture of Darfur.
The drum should be fairly deep—a doombek
or a taiko drum would work as well. The riqq sound may be achieved by
a standard tambourine with a head of resonant skin or plastic. A traditional
riqq is usually played to make a number of varied sounds—I encourage
any improvisation that works in this regard. There is a good resource
for African percussion here
solo toward the end should be a deep, exposed cry of anguish—something
soulful, approaching the unearthly.
Tears of Darfur
Our moon is the same moon
But the wind is a wind
Our sky is the same sky
But the time passes slower
Scattered like crows, flying
There are more tears than water,
Thick on the sand,
How often the night falls
But the shadows grow deeper,
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ProArte Singers performing "Tears of Darfur" at the AmeriCares Hangar Party, Arthur Sjögren conducting. Photo will enlarge