From the recording Something to Say
Something to Say (2014)
For Tabla, Spoken Word, and Electronics
Composed by Tawnie Olson - http://www.tawnieolson.com/
Performed by Shawn Mativetsky
Notes about the piece, from the composer, Tawnie Olson: John Cage once famously declared “I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.” As I was writing this piece, I wondered what the opposite of Cage’s statement would be, and thought it might be “I have something to say, but I am not saying it.” I think the latter statement describes how we often relate to one another. I know that when people say things to me that hurt or upset me, I can have difficulty responding; I might be too upset to speak, or worried about overreacting, and decide to say nothing. As part of the process of composing “Something to Say,” I wrote down some things said to me by family, friends, and colleagues. Since none of these things were recorded at the time they were spoken, Shawn and I asked friends to read and record these phrases. (For the record: none of these readers believe what I asked them to say!) I used these recordings in this piece, and I also borrowed from a genre of traditional tabla music, called “bol paran,” in which the tabla imitates the sound of human speech. If you listen carefully, after you hear a recorded voice you’ll often hear Shawn reproduce part of the spoken phrase on his instruments. I am so grateful to Shawn Mativetsky for asking me to write this piece, and for playing it so beautifully. It is dedicated to him and to Equality Now.