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The Green Fields of Amerikay (2016)

Instrumentation: Solo voice, flexible chorus, flexible ensemble
Duration: ca. 10'
Text: Traditional Irish
Commissioned by the Broken Consort
Premiere Date: May 4, 2016, New York, NY
May 6, 2016, Baltimore, MD

Program Note

In The Green Fields of Amerikay, I borrow a folk text from Ireland, telling the story of an immigrant to America. Unlike some immigrant songs, this one is hopeful: the narrator speaks of the better life that awaits them over the ocean. The current work was written at a time when the national attitude towards immigrant workers was becoming more hostile; therefore—and due also to the slightly melancholic nature of certain parts of the text—there is a wistful, almost lamenting aspect to the melodic line, paired with the haunting, wave-like, wordless chorus and chant-like instrumental responses.

As an erstwhile piper and fiddler, I have become increasingly compelled to explore and incorporate aspects of my heritage, and I am grateful to the Broken Consort for allowing me the opportunity to write this work for them during my 2015-2016 residency with the ensemble. The work was premiered on May 4, 2016, in New York, New York, and on May 6, 2016, in Baltimore, Maryland.

— Douglas Buchanan


The Green Fields of Amerikay



The Broken Consort performs Douglas Buchanan's setting of "The Green Fields of Amerikay," May 6, 2016, at St. David's Episcopal Church in Baltimore.


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