Songs the Plants Taught Us
EBM MP077003/ HL 300182
3(d.Picc).2.2.2: 188.8.131.52: 3Perc: Str [1 Elec Bs]
The inspiration for Songs the Plants Taught Us comes from the shamanic practices of many Amazonian tribal cultures, where special songs called "icaros" are used for magical purposes. The shamans, who guard their icaros jealously, believe that they learn these melodies from the spirits of specific "teacher plants." While the piece is also influenced by the music of ancient and recent ritual cultures far from the Amazon basin - from the deserts of the Middle East to the dancefloors of Europe - it is about learning and singing a song that allows us to speak to the gods.
As a concert composer, Joshua Penman has received commissions from the Albany Symphony, New York Youth Symphony, Ann Arbor Symphony, Foundation for Universal Sacred Music, Prism Quartet, Now Ensemble, Arraymusic, Bang on a Can, Lionheart, East Coast Chamber Orchestra, and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.