Scaling Walls, Building Bridges
This choral meditation was recorded remotely by artists from Mexico, the United States, the Dominican Republic, and India, who regularly collaborate with the ensemble Common Ground Voices / La Frontera. They devised this piece in response to The Choral Commons Podcast episode #10, Borders, Bridges, and the Choir, a conversation with Ahmed Anzaldúa.
The text source for this piece was a quote from the book This Bridge Called My Back by Chicana poet, author, and activist, Gloria Anzaldúa.
Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes al andar.
Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.
This piece samples the sound sculptures of artist, Glenn Weyant, who writes, "One of the passions I have right now is amplifying objects, both found and in public spaces, that sort of thing. The way that I do this is a use a contact microphone, which is very similar to a stethoscope in that you place it on something and it picks up the vibrations and the sounds that are occurring from that object. What I did was go down to Nogales, Arizona, which is a town on the border with Mexico and the United States. There is a wall that separates the United States from Mexico in Nogales. It is made of mostly steel salvaged from helicopter pads used by the U.S. military in Vietnam and Desert Storm. I went to the wall with my contact microphone and my gear, hooked up the microphone to the wall. I had a cello bow and began to play it. I also bowed some of the barbed wire fences that are in the area as well."
Additionally, the piece features a prominent quotation from the fourth movement of Joby Talbot's Path of Miracles. The quotation symbolizes the objects and mementos that forced migrants carry with them as they journey. "What if you had been forced to leave home suddenly, fleeing war or escaping poverty? Could you have brought your prized possession? Would you have found something new along the way?" (UNICEF, Children Uprooted: The Things They Carried, 2019)
The improvisational movements were performed on railroad tracks in Boston, in front of a wall in San Diego, and on a bridge in Tijuana, Baja California. This project was produced by Emilie Amrein as a creative project of Common Ground Voices / La Frontera (Emilie Amrein and André de Quadros, Artistic Directors). You can learn more about this organization at www.cgvlafrontera.org/english.
André de Quadros, Lorraine Padden, Miroslava Wilson
Emilie Amrein - Magdalena Delgado Vargas - Ibis Laurel Betancourt - Saúl Lopez Arzate
David Rodríguez Sánchez - Glenn Weyant - Marshall Voit - Zara Zanussi