Piece 1: Amazing Grace; Track 16; CD 1
The DAN AIR Scottish Pipe Band was created in 1988 by J.M. Banks, personal piper of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1995, the DAN AIR Scottish Pipe Band recorded Banks’ arrangement of “Amazing Grace,” a popular hymn written by John Newton in 1773. Prior to writing “Amazing Grace,” Newton identified himself as an atheist. Spending a good portion of his life at sea, Newton experienced numerous life-threatening events. From encounters with storms to almost being overthrown as captain of his own ship, Newton wrote about the grace of God he experienced as he survived each peril. Following life at sea, Newton converted to Christianity and became a parson. “Amazing Grace,” is one of the hymns Newton wrote that reflected upon his experiences at sea and his encounters with God.
I honestly thought that I would like the Banks arrangement at first, but the bagpipes weren’t very appealing to me. Listening to them hurt my ears. It was also very strange to my ear having the 5th as the bass. There was a random noise that sounded like a car crash. It honestly startled me; I didn’t understand how it fit in the piece.
Piece 2: Nyamaropa; Track 2; CD 2
Nyamropa is a Zimbabwean piece that was performed by Ephat Mujuru. The instrumentation of the piece includes the mbira, which is also called a thumb piano due to its image. Mujuru was a huge supporter of Zimbabwean independence and often dedicated his songs to the cause. Ephat Mujuru was a mbira playing legend. After receiving an education at the University of Washington in Seattle, he returned to the university to teach mbira and marimba (Harris). Nyamropa is performed on a a particular mbira called the mbira dzavadzimu, an instrument that produces buzzing sounds to create a variety of timbres rather than creating a pure tone (Bakan).
This piece was very pleasing to my synesthetic pleasures. Listening to this was created a colorful experience for me. I enjoyed watching the colors dance around the room. I really like how the sound of the Mbira resembled that of a marimba, an instrument I admire because of the marriage between percussion and pitch that exists within it.
Piece 3: Okan Bale; Track 18; CD 3
Angelique Kidjo is a West African, grammy-award winning singer and songwriter. She began her performing arts career in theater alongside her mother in her theatre troupe (UNGEI). She eventually went on to study jazz in Paris. In 2002, Kidjo traveled to Brazil to write music with Carlinos Brown. The collaboration led to the creation of many songs, one including “Okan Bale.” In an interview, Kidjo accredits the inspiration of “Okan Bale” to her family. In the song, she talks about her gratitude to her parents for their help in jumpstarting her music career. She also speaks of her family’s overwhelming love for her and knowing that she can depend on them for support (Angelique Kidjo).
As someone who enjoys Music Technology, this piece really stuck out to me because of the recording...