Seasons of the Sea
A Cross Cultural Collaboration of Music and Storytelling
“…it was very deep and spoke to the soul.” August Sylvester, Elder of the Penelakut Nation
“I just loved it, such beautiful, clever compositional choices, magical sounds and a lovely arc of storytelling — I was very moved.” Julie Poskitt, former BC Arts Council program officer
Seasons of the Sea weaves together contemporary classical music written by award winning Vancouver composer Jeffrey Ryan with a narrative written and performed by Sahtu Dene / Coast Salish artist, writer, and storyteller Rosemary Georgeson, past winner of the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award. The work describes the seasons on and by the sea, and the words are inspired by the 13 moon season of the Coast Salish peoples who used the tides and seasons of the sea and the life it brings as their calendar.
Seasons of the Sea is equal parts Jeffrey Ryan’s concerto for solo violin with string ensemble and harpsichord, and stories from several First Nations communities as told by Rosemary Georgeson, woven together into a seamless 40-minute journey. Seasons of the Sea is paired with Vivalid’s Four Seasons which provides a contrast and comparison between past and present and between cultures; it is an evocation and celebration of coastal living through the inspiration of the sea.
To the Coast Salish, a season is defined by the weather, the tides, the life that thrives at that time of year. Rosemary weaves stories of her family and stories that Elders shared with her into the evocative narrative. The musicians then respond through the music resulting in a collaborative performance that reflects on coastal life from both indigenous and newcomer perspectives. The music of Seasons of the Sea is written to adapt to the spoken word, with room in the narrative for stories from each First Nations community we visit to be inserted should they desire. Thus, it is a living work that will evolve, allowing a sense of ownership and participation for First Nations’s audiences, and enrich the work for all who hear it.