Commissioned by New Music Edmonton for its 2020-21 No Normal Season with the generous assistance of The Edmonton Arts Council
When the pandemic first arrived in Edmonton, I sat up every night drawing landscapes from my balcony as lit by street lights. As I began to notice sounds I hadn’t previously registered, in particular the distant train sounds from the Yellowhead and a loud unfamiliar hum that seemed to emerge from the sky on particular nights, I soon turned to producing sound drawings. The usually busy intersection within earshot was quiet and the occasional intrusion of a car sounded out of place. The long trail running by my place soon became a sound corridor for the trainyard. Later, staying with family in a quiet village, the train echoing through the basin of the mountains woke me up at 5:00 AM, resulting in a recording that I used for this sound piece. Being along highway 16 where recent protests along the train route and the Highway of Tears reminded me of the history of the territories the train crossed through.
When I was little, my second cousin visited us from a village near Newport in Southern Wales. He was disappointed that my immigrant Grandfather never passed on the Welsh language to his children and grandkids. He wanted to know what my favourite bird was so he could teach me to translate it into Welsh, hence the title of this piece. For years I remembered the translation of loon sounding like swoon differ. Memory of language itself is a sound corridor and the animation accompanying the train song draws from the strange, graceful motion of my favourite bird, Llyn Deifiwr.
Thank you to our generous sponsors and funders who make our programming possible: Edmonton Arts Council, SOCAN Foundation, Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC), Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, City of Edmonton, Canadian Heritage, Business / Arts
This season, we are commissioning art that reflects the issues of our time, and are delivering free digital programming to ensure access for everyone. You can help us out by donating the price of a concert ticket, a festival pass, or a season pass. You can donate through Canada Helps (https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/49029) or find more information on our website.