Beginning again

Tunes for a Monday Morning

L'île de Ouessant

Today's music begins with "Porz Goret" by Yann Tiersen, a composer and pianist from Finistère, Brittany. The piece is from Eusa, a book of ten piano scores based on Tiersen's home island of Ouessant, with field recordings of natural sounds (wind, rain, and the sea) from the places that inspired each piece. "Ouessant is more than just a home," he says, "it’s a part of me. The idea was to make a map of the island and, by extension, a map of who I am."

Below: "Waterfalls" by Cécile Corbel, also from Finistère, who performs new and traditional songs in Breton, English, and French. This one is from Corbel's new album, Vagabonde (a collaboration with other musicians from Brittany, the British Isles, and beyond), filmed near the harpist's home in the Breton countryside.

Above: "Szerelem," an old Hungarian song performed by the Wild Honey Trio (Peia Luzzi, Megan Danforth and Cyrise Schachter) -- an American vocal group dedicated to gathering, studying, and performing traditional music from around the world. "I think of songs as living on our breath," says Luzzi; "if they are not carried or sung, they are lost."

Below: "Oj ty rzeko" by Laboratorium Pieśni (Song Labratory), from Poland. This wonderful all-woman polyphonic group performs traditional songs from Poland, Ukraine, the Balkans, Belarus, Georgia, Scandinavia, and father afield. Their work, they say, "is inspired by the sounds of nature, and is often intuitive, wild and feminine."

And to end with: "Walk" by composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi, from Turin, Italy. Returning to Einaudi's music each January has become something of a ritual for me -- along with cleaning the house on New Year's Day, sweeping out the remains of the last year and welcoming in the new.

Now the sun is rising. The gate stands adjar. Let's see where this new day will lead....

Woodland gate