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Joel Roston Composer | Instrumentalist
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The World of the Wampanoag

08 Dec 2020


Over the past month or so, I’ve been working away on the original score for a two-episode podcast series, produced by Ben Franklin’s World and the Omohundro Institute, entitled, “The World of the Wampanoag.”

The show explores the lives of the Wampanoag in 1619 and 1620–just before and just after the arrival of the Mayflower.

I had a really incredible experience putting this music together.

I was fortunate to connect and collaborate with Wampanoag and Narragansett musicians, who provided recordings of original songs which are not only featured in the podcast, but which I transcribed, arranged, and wove into the score.

Also baked into the original compositions are musical selections from The Ainsworth Psalter–the one psalm book that the Pilgrims brought with them on the Mayflower–and, at certain moments, the sixteenth-century Florentine melody, “Torna Torna.”

To get a handle on Pilgrim music, I consulted with David Hildebrand, the director of the Colonial Music Institute.

For the Florentine jam, I checked in with Sara Schneider, an early-European-music pro, author of the forthcoming book, The Eagle and the Songbird, and host of KMFA’s Early Music Now.

All in all, I’m just super appreciative and honored to have had the opportunity to put this musical puzzle together.

A huge thank-you to Wampanoag musician, Durwood Vanderhoop, and Narragansett musicians, Sherenté Harris, Lynsea Montanari, and Nkéke Harris, for all of the complex, thoughtful conversations–and their incredible music.

You can listen to the first episode of the series here. The second episode drops on Wednesday, Decmeber 16th.

In Actual News, Blog, New Music, Work

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