The Cry

Steve Lacy +6:

The Cry

Special Branch guards are on twenty-four hour duty in front of my door.
Who comes and who goes, when I leave, enter the house,
they write down everything on a notebook...

(Taslima Nasrin - "Cannonade", trans. C. Wright)

Recorded in 1998

Irene Aebi voice Steve Lacy soprano saxophone

Petia Kaufman harpsichord Tina Wrase† sopranino & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet Cathrin Pfeifer accordion Jean-Jacques Avenel bass Daniel Topo Gioia percussions, kalimba (thumb piano)

Pia Myrvold dress Wanda Savy scenery & lights

CD #1 (121315A-2)
Ind. Title Composer / Author Dur.
1/ Cannonade Steve Lacy / Taslima Nasrin 1:39
2/ Character 4:06
3/ Straight Path 5:18
4/ Granary 6:31
5/ Divorce Letter 5:51
6/ Divided 5:07
7/ Agression 6:53
CD #2 (121315B-2)
Ind. Title Composer / Author Dur.
1/ Désir d'Amour Steve Lacy / Taslima Nasrin 7:21
2/ Body Theory 7:10
3/ Dark And Handsome 6:27
4/ Acquaintance 6:40
5/ The Cry 11:56
6/ Rundown Steve Lacy / Ambapali 10:55

Recorded on March 8, 1998 [not 1988 as mentionned on cover] at the Alhambra, during the AMR Festival (Festival Archipel) by Radio Suisse Romande in Genève (Switzerland).

Producer: Steve Lacy. Executive producer: Flavio Bonandrini.

Cover painting & photography: Wanda Savy. Cover art: Vincent Lainé.

Additional informations (programmation, concerts reviews and more) in the LIVE section.

Liner Notes

"The story of many women", according to Lacy, The Cry is unique among his song cycles on many counts. Perhaps the most distinguishing criterion is its narrative structure. The work's thirteen texts - twelve by Nasrin and the concluding Rundown (Ambapali speaks), penned by its parenthetical namesake, a 5th century BC Indian prostitute-turned-priestess/poetess - comprise an autobiography of transformation. The opening piece, Cannonade, places Nasrin in virtual house arrest in Berlin; everything but her thoughts are the stuff of police records. The opening section ends with the mosquito-like buzzing of the ensemble, signaling a return through time to her own coming of age, and her subsequent confrontations with her desires and her undesired reality. The transmogrifying dialectic of these experiences culminate in Rundown, a melding with the ancient, universal voice and soul of women's suffering. It is this combination of searing language and elliptical shifts in time and space that gives The Cry its strong narrative shape.

The texts, mixture of gritty realism and timeless allegory is enhanced by the unusual instrumentation Lacy chose for the piece. Three factors guided Lacy in this regard: from the outset, he heard a connection between the texts and the timbres of the harpsichord and accordion (the latter bears close resemblance to the harmonium, which is frequently used in Indian music); he wanted to include as many women as possible in the ensemble; and, he wanted to tap Berlin's thriving music community. Within these parameters, he made some bold choices; with the exception of Aebi, only bassist Jean-Jacques Avenel has an extensive history with Lacy. Harpsichordist Petia Kaufman is a Baroque specialist who has delved into contemporary scores and improvised music only in recent years; she recorded Lacy's Puppies (texts by Frazee; 1993, Ergodic) as part of Art Song Trio with Aebi and clarinetist Carol Robinson. Accordionist Cathrin Pfeifer has collaborated with a wide spectrum of musicians, ranging from African and Brazilian folkloric artists to rock musicians. In addition to her jazz and improvised music credentials, reedist Tina Wrase has an extensive background in Indian music, including studies at the Karnataka College of Percussion in Bangalore. Lacy scoured the Berlin Latin music scene for a percussionist to handle the various South American rhythms in the piece, and recruited Argentine Daniel "Topo" Gioia. Despite their disparate backgrounds, these musicians cogently interpret Lacy's demanding score.

Bill Shoemaker (December, 1997 - excerpt from liner notes)

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