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From Liberty and Fragrant Harbors

by Rebekah Driscoll

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Waking up this morning with so much to tell you, but I cannot— I cannot, and when I remember I am stunned. You do not need me to speak anymore, but today I do not feel strong. So in my mind, I will see you, and pour out all my thoughts to you, before turning to the work of the day.
For Lantau 10:46
Looking down on where we live from Lo Fu Tau, I regret that they had to build here. I feel that my arrival in this world must have driven out so many beings, like the ones who made their homes here among the camphor trees. Catching sight of Tin Tan Daai Fat from Kau Nga Ling, I imagine he has always been here, though some thirty years ago he could not be seen, his disciples climbing quietly on foot. Now their buses crowd Keung Shan Road, their voices buzzing over Nei Lak Shan. Pok To Yan and Por Kai Shan in those days did not know this procession of airplanes or the haze-dusted scar on which they land. Lantau, Tai Yu Shan! I would forbid these intrusions and return to you your solitude. But now we are so many… and we need sturdy walls to protect us from your typhoons; and we need daily meals you cannot provide; and we need connections to other peoples and places. You will submit to our necessities and bear it in silence. Your beauty, imprinted on the minds of those who love you, will be with us for our short lives.
We the people sent a teenage boy to prison. There was never any trial. We isolated and abused him as he waited to be heard, three years. We wrongfully took his life— we the people of the city of New York! When will we stop taking the lives of our sons?
Given that the air is already overfilled with sound, and I firmly believe we would all benefit from less; I do not think lightly of adding to the cacophony, and I do not flatter myself that anything I may say will be new; but I am growing increasingly alarmed by this complacency, this entitlement, this acceptance of the unacceptable. We are the ones with power, information, and resources; we are the ones who have caused the current state of affairs; and yet we abdicate responsibility, we shrink from any form of sacrifice, we insist we have some god-given right to seize, devour, carelessly destroy! We imagine virtue in ignorance and acquisition; we close our eyes against the sight of truth. I know you would rather hear something more soothing; we have all had a long day. I am happy to remind you of ubiquitous beauty— the eyes of the nearest child, the light of the most distant star— and I have no desire to dampen your joy. In fact, I would like to amplify it! However, at the same time, let’s cultivate awareness and restraint. Question, act, evaluate, question again! You are essential; you can re-connect these fragments; your love and commitment are indispensable today! I’ll sing you a lullaby when you are exhausted; but if you can find the energy, please be awake! Awake! Awake!
Like tangled tree roots my desires and expectations have tightly wrapped around me; I will loosen their hold. I am distracted and weighted down by disappointment and injury; I remember gratitude. May I be fearless; may I be generous and able to clearly see.
La nostalgia 03:11
La neblina del río nos envuelve. El cemento del puente nos enfría. No nos miramos. Él quiere correr; yo volar.


From Liberty and Fragrant Harbors is an album of vocal ensemble music by composer Rebekah Driscoll. Written partially in New York and partially in Hong Kong, these songs offer differing perspectives on issues like climate change and criminal justice, juxtaposed with more personal works hinting at loss, homesickness and gratitude.
Performers include the internationally-acclaimed GHOSTLIGHT Chorus, violist Erin Wight, and soprano Mary Hubbell.


released April 22, 2016


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Rebekah Driscoll Brooklyn, New York

Rebekah Driscoll is a composer specializing in music for unusual combinations of instruments and voices. She often writes poetry for her vocal works or constructs a text from diverse and sometimes multilingual sources. Her current projects address social issues, such as inequality and environmental stewardship, from a perspective that is both thoroughly researched and intensely personal. ... more

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