Track Premiere: Diana Golden and Shawn Chang Perform DBR’s Femiel

Today’s track premiere features cellist Diana Golden and pianist Shawn Chang performing Femiel (from One Loss Plus) by Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), transcribed for cello and piano.

Femiel is one of eight pieces by 20th and 21st century Haitian composers on Golden’s forthcoming album Tanbou Kache. In addition to Roumain, the album includes works by Jean “Rudy” Perrault, Julio Racine, Carmen Brouard, Frantz Casséus, Werner Jaegerhuber, and Justin Élie.

Here’s what Diana had to say about the album:

Haiti has had a rich and fascinating tradition of art music creation for hundreds of years. Due to issues of preservation, publishing, and other factors, many works by Haitian composers are difficult to access and have not yet been performed or recorded. Shawn Chang and I created this album of Haitian music because we believe these compositional gems are worth hearing, these composers merit recognition, and because we hope that this album will further accessibility to this unique and fascinating repertoire, enabling exploration and enjoyment of it by scholars, performers, and listeners alike. The album’s title references the Vodou drum part accompanying traditional folk songs transcribed by composer and ethnographer Werner Jaegerhuber. Because Jaegerhuber inspired generations of Haitian composers, I was inspired to choose Tanbou Kache as the title for our album.

And here’s what DBR had to say about Femiel:

Femiel is a combination of names and musical styles and wants. I wanted the piece to sound organic and raw and as close and real as possible. It’s a combination of classical, soul, and Haitian music styles. The name is after the brilliant musician, Fema Kuti (eldest son of the pioneering Afrobeat musician, Fela Kuti) and my name, Daniel. I wanted it all to sound and be close and comforting.

Tanbou Kache is out on New Focus Recordings on October 23, 2020, but you can pre-order the album here.

About Diana Golden

New York City-based cellist Diana Golden is a multidimensional artist who performs with chamber ensembles, symphony orchestras, and musical theater and opera companies. She is a member of the Golden Williams Duo with violist Gregory Williams and the Red Door Chamber Players, and founded the Boston-based Firebrand Concert Series.

In 2011, Golden worked for Open Access to Music Education for Children, a music center for Boston’s Haitian community run by Youth and Family Enrichment Services. While working with cello students who had left Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Golden found that learning music, including traditional Haitian folk songs, helped them to adjust to their life changes and deal with trauma they had experienced. This experience inspired her nearly decade-long interest in Haitian art music. Golden holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Cello Performance from Rutgers University, where she completed her doctoral research on Haitian art music. She also holds a Master of Arts in Cello Performance with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

About Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) is a prolific and endlessly collaborative composer, performer, educator, and social entrepreneur. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (The New York Times), DBR has worked with artists from Philip Glass to Bill T. Jones to Lady Gaga; appeared on NPR, American Idol, and ESPN; and has collaborated with the Sydney Opera House and the City of Burlington, Vermont. Acclaimed as a violinist and activist, DBR’s career spans more than two decades, earning commissions by venerable artists and institutions worldwide.