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Wednesday, September 4th, 2019 5:10 PM

Obamalogue

A travelogue in music with an original text based on the writing of Barack Obama and featuring vocalist Gino Sitson.
Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 7:06 PM

Description

Obamalogue is designed to inspire listeners as much Obama's Dreams From My Father inspired me. President Obama set a high standard not only for our society but for cultural achievement. My larger vision is to provide hope that our country can be restored to the high cultural standards set by President Obama. The Charlottesville alt-right march is an example of why we need to create cultural activities that bring Americans of different backgrounds together.
 
As a young man, Obama lived in several parts of the globe, from Hawaii to Indonesia to New York and Chicago. It is clear that each location has its own musical characteristics from traditional Hawaiian music to Indonesian gamelan music to American blues. As composer of this work, it is my task to describe his life by using elements of the various locations.
 
Obama describes with a poet’s touch the events that lead up to his birth and his childhood and young manhood. For most of his youth, Barack Obama, Sr. is his role model—a man who achieves almost legendary academic achievements. But in his twenties Obama learns that his father eventually became an abusive and mentally unstable drunk. I have adapted text from the autobiography that relates the story of how his parents meet. Another section entitled Gramps is about the grandfather who raised him. Obama’s path to academic excellence was rockier than even his closest friends were aware, as related in the section of my piece called Mickey the Heroin User. Identity is a central part of his life as the son of a Kenyan and a white American midwesterner. The Dance Lesson is about his African identity, and Information Please? is about his grappling with black identity. Nothing But a Ghost is about how Obama confronts himself with the true nature of his father. 
 
The work is scored for vocalist, saxophone quartet (with members doubling on acoustic bass, flute, clarinet, percussion and narration), piano and drums/cajón It received its premiere in 2019.