• June 13, 2024

Musical and Cultural Connections

Musical and Cultural Connections

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Musical and Cultural Connections: Featuring Composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate of the Chickasaw Nation

August 1, 2024 at 7:00 P.M. in Edwards Hall at the University of Rhode Island
Presented by the Kingston Chamber Music Festival in partnership with the Tomaquag Museum

This August, the Dover Quartet is coming to the Kingston Chamber Music Festival to give the world premiere of Woodland Songs, a commissioned piece from composer Jerod Impichcha̱achaaha’ Tate (Chickasaw). They will also perform a classical orchestration of Rattle Songs by Pura Fé (Tuscarora), transcribed by Tate for this program. 

On August 1st, join us for a panel discussion about the relationship between Native American culture and classical music. The influence of Indigenous musical traditions on contemporary classical composition invites meaningful exploration into artistry, ancestry, and intercultural collaboration.

These ideas will be discussed with Jerod Impichcha̱achaaha’ Tate, Emmy-award winning composer and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation; Camden Shaw, cellist of the Dover Quartet, named one of the greatest string quartets of the past 100 years by BBC Music Magazine; Mary Linn, Curator of Language and Cultural Vitality at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; and Adam Hanna, URI professor of trombone and citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. 

This event is free and open to the public with advanced registration, linked below:



On August 2nd at 7:30 P.M. in Edwards Hall, following a mini-recital by a different artist, the Dover Quartet will give the world-premiere performance of two pieces written by Tate. Woodland Songs celebrates animals that represent different clans of the Eastern Woodlands People, including squirrel, bird, deer, raccoon, and fish, through the use of traditional Chickasaw melodies mixed with classical techniques. The Narragansett Indians Tribe, descendants of the Indigenous communities of the State of Rhode Island, are an Eastern Woodlands people. “My compositions typically express Native culture through highly dramatic and theatrical lenses, and this work is meant to amplify the wonderful personalities of each animal,” Tate says. “Squirrel is very chattery with lots of energy packed into it. It starts strong and is very fast and multi-metered. In Bird I’ve gone for a fluttery and busy sound. It is a little warmer but still high energy. Deer is a moment of poetic repose. I’m really diving into her spirit. It’s very focused and has this deep romantic energy. Fish has an oceanic and undulating sound to it, with ‘soaring melodies’ on top. And Raccoon, another high-energy movement, ‘expresses the survivor spirit of the animal. It finishes with a fast, celebratory warrior dance.”

His transcription of Rattle Songs by Pura Fé–a piece originally performed with vocals, stomping, and turtle shell rattles–is the first time it will be presented in classical orchestration. Fé is one of the founding members of Ulali, an Indigenous women’s group of oral musicians. Tate first heard Ulali three decades ago, and notes that it changed his life. “My native music is what it is because of them,” he notes. “They are the reason I do what I’m doing. And now I am transcribing the most influential piece in my life–Rattle Songs–literally 30 years after originally hearing it.”

Camden Shaw, cellist of the Dover Quartet, echos Tate’s enthusiasm and longevity of connection. “In many ways, the inspiration for this project began almost twenty years ago,” he says. “My aunt, Mary Linn, is actively invested in the language and music of minoritized groups. When I was a teenager she sent me a CD of Ulali.” Later on, when he was introduced to Tate’s music and the commissioned project began to take shape, Shaw realized Tate knew Pura Fé personally — leading to the idea for a classical orchestration of Rattle Songs.

And as the idea for our August 1st panel began to take shape, we realized Tate knew Adam Hanna, URI professor of trombone, and has plans to collaborate with him on a concerto for trombone and orchestra. A reminder that we are all connected! We are honored to welcome Tate, Shaw, Linn, and Hanna to the KCMF stage for this powerful conversation.