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Archipelago for Guitar

by Jay Kauffman

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    CD in Jewel Case with 4-panel Insert, Original Art by Jay Kauffman

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Milonga 04:25
Edgesea 04:53
Maranya Ne 07:53
Vigil 05:41


Music is everywhere these days, but listening to it is getting harder. Classical music– and all serious “listening” music—-hails from a time before app-driven dopamine hits ruled our consciousness. Listening to this kind of music demands less passivity than we are currently accustomed to. It demands that we retrieve and engage our own imaginations. It rewards repeated listening.

This particular album is program music, to a degree, but it is not intended to program you. I find that it works best if you give your mind room for its own thoughts, even while letting the sounds inspire the state of mind and emotional resonances in which they arise.

Some suggestions:

Using your favorite headphones, go on a long walk in nature, or in a park. Let the music blend with your feet, let your eyes take in what they will.
Sit somewhere comfortable, soften your eyes, and use the screen to look at the artwork which comes with each piece. Let your eyes drift over it, fall into it, follow it where it takes you. Let a story tell itself to you. (You can do this with any music, and any artwork—try it, experiment!)
Read the story snippet that comes with each piece. Listen to the music, and let your imagination carry you through and do the rest.

Amal, the young song savant, leaves his beloved home island, Milonga. He plays a wistful farewell, then launches off into the sea, filled with anticipation and a sense of adventure.

Bossa Paraiso:
He passes through a moonlit paradise---hundreds of tiny tropical islands, their beaches dotted with enchanted choro-ensembles---guitar, harp-tree, voice, percussion---calling to him, tempting him to touch shore, to stop, to stay.

Here Amal gathers up enough energy to catapult far over the sea’s edge, into the endless Aur of Inspiration-----with the help of two magnificent merhorses.

Maranya Ne:
Amal finds himself floating dream-like, in a realm where melody and harmony flow from his fingers like strange paint on a canvas of fog. He tunes his fifth string down to G. Land and a river open up around him. His music calls Maranya Ne, the mermaid melody. “Follow a mermaid, drown far from aid,’ is a saying that rings through his mind. But he follows her anyways. He plays a long improvised passage to end the piece as they depart the island together.

Isle of Spring:
With the 5th string staying steady on G, he tunes the 6th string to F, which opens the clouds, and brightens the turquoise sea. They take refuge on the joyous Isle of Spring, where the Maranya Ne sheds her mermaid cloak and they dance and duet as lovers do.

Amal wakes in the morning to find Maranya Ne gone, and he chases her song-scent to shores of her home, island of the Opala Kevrali. As it turns out, she was trapped there by a curse, and his playing had llent her the power to steal a day and a night of freedom before calling her back. Her body is melting into the rocks and sand. Amal tightens his 6th string to an F-sharp. Sun beats down hot and orange, casting dark brooding shadows, which lengthen into night as he plays vigil over her fragile form.

The Forest People and the Battle of the Kalik Kserken:
Just as the vigil seemed to save Maranya Ne from fading away, the Kalik Kserkin, a dark-souled scissors-vulture, flies off with her melody-body, and Amal chases it through the sea to a forest-covered island. He returns the fifth string to A, and sets the sixth back to an F. He calls the for forest people, who teach him an hypnotic drum beat for calling the Kalik to battle. The fight gets frenzied as he tunes his 6th string down to D, and the Kalik lifts him to the sky, where they grapple.

Dream Lullaby:
Having plummeted to earth with the mermaid's melody-body, Amal is deep in sleep in the heart of the forest. She visits him in a dream, singing a lullaby. She has been freed of her curse. Now Maranya Ne can enter dreams, hearts, minds, travel on the wind, the sea and the rivers, and enter into any song she likes. The sixth string is in F-sharp, the fifth in A, lifting them into a beautiful, wistful dance of reunion.

Eleutheria (Freedom Song):
Maranya Ne shows Amal how to dive deep down into the depths of the Song-sea, where the find the road to freedom and to home. She travels home with him her song takes the form of joyfully dancing water sprites. They they pass by the the Isle of Eleutheria.


released October 16, 2020


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Jay Kauffman New York, New York

Guitarist Jay Kauffman has performed to critical acclaim on stages from New York to San Francisco to Shanghai, and is a published coomposer whose works have been featured on National Public Radio.
As a classically trained musician and teacher with graduate degrees from the Juilliard School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory.
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