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 The solo toward the end should be a deep, exposed cry of anguish—something soulful, approaching the unearthly.

Tears of Darfur
Words and Music by John Mucci.
Performed by the ProArte Singers, Arthur Sjögren conducting.

Our moon is the same moon
You see in New York
The sun is the same sun
That shines in Paris.

But the wind is a wind
That no one knows.
The wind is the Wind of Sudan.

Our sky is the same sky
We share with the Earth,
And the clouds cast their shadows
And fly away freely;

But the time passes slower
And the aching is deeper,
And the smoke tears the sky
As the sand whips the land
Driven by the wind of Sudan.

Scattered like crows, flying
From the janjaweed, the warrior
Children, under the seal of
Blind-eyed dominance, tearing
Scars on the ground scraping black,
Clatter of hooves in the dawn,
Tread of camels stepping in the tread
Of children, under the moon
—Fear—in the waddis every dawn,
Cutting fuel to feed the scorching
Sunlight over the clouds, smoke
And ashes, scattered, day out of hell.

There are more tears than water,
More sand than bread; even
God has forgotten
The years lost in waiting,
And the men who are gone,
Taken from us
Quick as a knifeflash.

Thick on the sand,
Strangers in our own land, look:
The dawn breaks. Look in the face of
Wide-eyed innocent
Wanton boys whose
Rifles sing a final cradle-song, as
Normal Chaos dances, in
Ordinary Horror, in
Common Fury, in
Daily Sorrow, in
Endless Mourning, in
Lending our souls to the wind,
Catching our past in nets of
Scattered clouds, fleeing like
Sounds of dying hoofbeats,
Floating on smoke, pounding
Under the wind and thunder.

How often the night falls
With the glow of the moon.
And the stars stand, majestic,
As they will everywhere.

But the shadows grow deeper,
As we fade into darkness.
And your memory will shorten,
Forgetting is easy.
For no one can bear
What we must endure:
The wind and the tears
Of Darfur.

All material copyright ©2007 John Mucci. All rights reserved.

For performance rights and materials please contact the author
Phot taken at the AmeriCares Airlift Benefit of the ProArte Singers performing Tears of Darfur

ProArte Singers performing "Tears of Darfur" at the AmeriCares Hangar Party, Arthur Sjögren conducting. Photo will enlarge


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