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Reaching for the Drinking Gourd and Stars / Ryota Ishikawa [Harp solo]

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Composer:Ryota Ishikawa


Publisher: Lyricism
Distributor:Golden Hearts Publications / ONSA

Delivery date:Received in our store in about 3-7 business days

This is a large-scale work of over 9 minutes, based on two songs about the stars: “Follow the Drinking Gourd” from the U.S. and “Hoshi-Meguri-no-Uta (The Song of the Circling Stars)” from Japan.
The American "Follow the Drinking Gourd" is a song from the Civil War era. People fleeing from the South, where slavery remained, to the North, where slavery had been abolished, are instructed by their guide to aim for the Big Dipper (=Drinking Gourd) as a marker in the northern direction. The melody is profound and deep, showing the strong footsteps in pursuit of freedom and the history of hardships they have had to bear.
From Japan, I chose "Hoshi-Meguri no Uta" by Kenji Miyazawa. This song has a gentle tone and simple lyrics that list the names of the stars. However, when we think about the ideal world that Kenji Miyazawa was pursuing in his works and in his life, it does not seem so far away from what the American slaves were looking for. America and Japan are far apart, but the wish for a "more wonderful world" remains the same. I wrote this song with that sincere feeling in my own way.
It was commissioned by Renee Murphy, a harpist with both African-American and Japanese roots, and was composed in 2022 and premiered the following year.

(Ryota Ishikawa)

Harp solo