for spoken word and piano
Multi-culture & Community reachout series
Keith Mar, spoken poem; composition & piano, Heena Yoon
After immigrating to the States and undergoing cultural adaptation, I became deeply interested in listening to stories of people with less dominating background in the States. The first thing I did was attending many of events that UCSB multicultural center offered. There were several reasons why I did that : I found a huge gap between what people believe and what the reality is in terms of diversity in the States; I thought majority of people have very shallow or even no understanding and knowledge and sensitiveness to the "diverse" group of the society; as an only woman, only non-native English speaker, only Asian in my small field of music composition at my school, I wanted to find more stories of diverse groups of people and listened to what kind of struggles, hardships, feelings they have in their mind - and wanted to find a common ground with them, by helping those stories to be heard more, and having more audiences to be aware of those "unspoken" stories. By doing so, I also wanted to expand the target of the audience, inviting those who never come to the new music concert to this performance, and offering the existing regulars a new chance of awareness, sensitiveness and empathy towards people from less dominant cultural background.
At one of the events of UCSB multicultural center, I had an opportunity to meet a spoken-poet Keith Mar, a counsellor with a Chinese ancestor background. Written to be "performed," his poems were the perfect match to music, and it was truly moving to hear the struggles he had while growing up as an only Asian kid in his class. His self-discovery poem was the way he healed his deep wound.
Here I did not try to compose a piece that followed the flow of his poem or described the emotions his poem carries. I wanted my music to be an equivalent part to his narration - calm, tranquil, even in the storm, as if the center of the torrent.