Postcard piece

Juliet Palmer, a New Zealand-born Toronto-based composer, alerted me to Redshift Music Society the other day.

This Vancouver new music outfit has put out a call for scores, with a deadline of 1 March. Basically:

The idea is simple: the entire score, musical concept or set of instructions for the piece has to fit on a postcard.


Please submit by REGULAR MAIL only! (not email)

As I was coming to the end of my travels in Spanish-speaking countries (Cuba and Mexico), I figured I was finished hearing a particular type of sound: the pregón. The dictionary definition of the word is ‘proclamation’ or ‘announcement’, but more typically it refers to the repetitive patter of street vendors, market stall-holders, touts, jineteros, etc.

I had been notating down these cries as approximately as I could in iPhone Notes. Sitting at a restaurant in Guadalajara Airport, having consumed my rather meagre and overpriced chicken burger, I transcribed some of them for alto sax and various voices. Thus, my first composition of 2013 is called 8 Pregones – it’s up to you whether you whether you pronounce it “eight” or “ocho”. (Or for that matter, “chicuyei“.)

Hopefully they have someone willing to give the Spanish language and Latino accents a go...

Hopefully Redshift has someone willing to give the Spanish language and Latino accents a go…

For the moment, this piece exists only in two hard copies: a draft on the back of my A4 flight itinerary, and this postcard winging its way from México to Canadá.

I do intend to write out another copy (I have a couple of spare Guadalajara postcards) and send it to SOUNZ though. It would probably be appropriate for it to bear a Vancouver postmark – I should be there next week.

By the way, here’s the obverse. This is José Clemente Orozco’s sweeping mural of Mexican independence leader Miguel Hidalgo, in the Palacio del Gobierno.

8 Pregones (20130212 GDL obverse)