Coyote Song/¡Ay! Susanita!
Magen Solomon and the San Francisco Choral Artists provided the inspiration for this compostion with the announcement of their 2004 “Piece Work Project,” a concert of music from many different world cultures. “Coyote Song/¡Ay! Susanita!” features music from two groups central to California history; indigenous California tribes and immigrants of the Gold Rush. I layered three songs from native Californians around a Hispanic variant of Stephen Foster’s “Oh! Susanna.” The three indigenous songs; Grass Game (Maidu - Nisenan), Coyote Song (Mountain Maidu) and Acorn Grinding Song (Tachi Yokuts) were originally used for work or recreation. The Spanish setting of “Oh! Susanna,” transposed to a rollicking six-eight meter, depicts a miner leaving his lover for the gold fields. The resulting arrangement is an evocative meditation on the character of early California, expressed in the music of the people who were there.
Coyote Song/¡Ay! Susanita is published by Walton Music and is available from most sheet music retailers.
Performance by the Overbrook Overtones, Overbrook Hight School, Pine Hill, New Jersey, directed by Art McKenzie
Performance by the NeW Jersey All State Chorus, November 8, 2013