Climate Stories Project
Photo by Randy Cole
In 2016 I composed and recorded two pieces of original music which integrate the recorded voices of indigenous and non-indigenous Alaska residents speaking about their personal and community observations of and responses to climate change. I worked with high school students in Shishmaref, Alaska, an Iñupiat village on the shores of the Chukchi Sea that is being devastated by coastal erosion caused by the loss of sea ice. The Shishmaref students learned how to talk about their own observations of climate change and then interviewed and recorded community elders speaking about their reflections of how climate change has drastically impacted their village. I then integrated excerpts from these student interviews and my own interviews into the composition of John Sinnok and Resting Storm, two pieces performed and recorded by my jazz and world music group Earthsound.
I am currently pursuing a doctorate of music at McGill University in Montreal, for which I am focused on creating original music which incorporates spoken narratives about environmental change.
Bessie Sinnok and Esau Sinnok, Shishmaref, Alaska. Photo by Jason Davis.
Iñupiat elder John Sinnok speaks about the changes in weather patterns and snow conditions, even detailing how the sound of people walking on snow is changing as the weather has warmed.
In Resting Storm, Anchorage resident Marybeth Holleman speaks about how the glaciers around Prince William Sound have greatly retreated, while Shishmaref elder Bessie Sinnok details how her village’s existence is threatened by the declining health of the sea and land.