For Solo Trombone & Piano
Duration: c. 5 minutes
World premiere given by Dr. David Loucky, with the MTSU Wind Ensemble conducted by Dr. Reed Thomas. Friday 3rd February 2012 at T. Earl Hinton Hall, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
In the past, the role of the professional musician in West African Tribes was reserved for the Griot. They still exist today as an equivalent to European troubadours, chronicling the history of their tribes through poetry and song. They are taught by their tribal elders and are required to memorise the songs, poetry and history of their ancestors.
Music is a central part of West African tribal life in song, dancing and drumming, and accompanies the many festivals, ceremonies and tribal activities that are celebrated. A Griot is always present at tribal occasions and is central in not only telling stories through poetry, Music and mime, but also drawing in the audience until they become a key part of the performance.
Even in the modern age, Griots maintain a highly important position in the spiritual and cultural life of their tribes.
1. The Orator
The Griot (in this case the trombonist!) uses his skills as a poet to recount stories from tribal history, drawing in the audience through words, mime and movement to create a living tale.
2. The Songsmith
While the choir chant quietly in the background, the Griot tells his tale through song
3. Dancers and Drummers
As the Griot performs, The audience become part of the occasion, participating in the spectacle through song and dance.
Publisher: Kit Turnbull
Griot (Gri-o the 't' is silent) was originally written as a work for Trombone, Piano and one Percussionist. This version has been revised to remove the percussion, making the piece playable with only piano accompaniment.
The final movement contains two improvised cadenzas, based on figures from the preceding movements.
As I do not yet have a recording with piano, the Soundcloud link above is to the version for Trombone and Wind Ensemble.
The piece is not commercially available, but please contact me if you are interested in having a look at the score and/or parts.