Here we are back at Monday, and I can definitely use some good music right now.
When my husband first discovered this album called “Calling All Dawns“, he made me sit down and listen to it. “This sound like an album written for Allison,” he said. He knows me pretty well.
The composer, Christopher Tin, calls it “a song-cycle in three movements: day, night and dawn. Each movement corresponds to a different phase of life —
life, death, and rebirth.” There are twelve songs, each sung in a different language, everything from recognizable global languages (French, Chinese) to “dead” languages (Latin, Sanskrit) to revitalized minority languages (Irish, Māori).
There are songs of joy, mystery, and hardship, reflecting the complexity of our mortality. There are songs of the deepest, darkest sorrow to accompany us through death. And finally, there are songs of triumph and exultation that bring us roaring back to life, beginning the cycle anew.
Christopher Tin first gained major attention for an arrangement of a Swahili song which was featured on the opening credits of a popular computer game; the song ended up being the first track for a video game to be awarded a Grammy. It’s now the opener for this jaw-dropping album.
The website for the album has a sample player, but beware – it only plays enough of any one track to make you really get into it and then it cuts off right before the best parts. (Good marketing scheme, I suppose.) But you can see what languages are represented and read the English translations of the songs.
Since languages make me go a little weak in the knees, and since Christopher Tin has quite a knack for orchestral arrangements that make you either want to weep or go hug everybody in the world, I’m pretty much in love with this music. That last track just kills me: it’s a Māori blessing, which roughly translates to “May Peace Be Widespread,” and if you’ve listened to the whole album closely, you can hear the strains of every single other song perfectly interwoven in the arrangement. That musical metaphor, plus the fact that Māori was almost lost to us and is here so alive, gets me choked up every single time I listen to it.