From SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Words by Helen Kerlin-Smith, music by Derrik Jordan, Helen Kerlin-Smith and Barou Sall

Story

This is the first song that I recorded for SuperString Theory Goes to Senegal. It began in Senegal in 2006 when I recorded Barou Sall playing his hoddu and singing a very ancient song called Aliwu Loume. I pasted pieces of that over a beat and played my electric violin to it. Then I got Helen Kerlin-Smith from Ethiopia to sing on it. There is definitely some magic here. Helen sang this when she was only 16. Her vulnerability is there but so is her command and deep emotion. She is singing in Amharic, the Ethiopian national language.

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Music by Derrik Jordan

Story

Written in Senegal in Sobobade late at night. I was trying to go to sleep after a long day and staying up late writing another piece, "Ndank Ndank." i was lying in bed and I heard this motif in my head. As tired as I was, I knew that I had to get up and write it down. It is so simple and that's the hardest kind of song to write. I then created the melody over the riff and in an hour or so I was tucking in the mosquito netting again and falling asleep. A good night of writing! I am playing all the instruments on this one.

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Words by Helen Kerlin-Smith, music by Derrik Jordan

Story

This one is named after the beautiful place that we stayed in Senegal in 2006 right on the ocean. "Sobobade" is a Haitian word that means "the god who welcomes in all the other gods." The man who built Sobobade is Haitian, Gerard Chenet. Helen sings in her native Amharic again to a melody that I wrote upon arriving late at night to this coastal resort one hour south of Dakar. Somehow it captures a very pan African vibe musically.

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Music by Derrik Jordan

Story

The fourth tune that I wrote in Senegal in my little room late at night. Toubab means "white man" which is what I am. it is not a derogatory term in Senegal, more of a statement of fact. Sobobade is located in the town of Toubab Diallaw. It has a haunting quality and a simple motif that pins it down under the improvisation.

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Music by Derrik Jordan

Story

Features the riity, the one string Senegalese fiddle that I bought when I was there. It's got a raspy sound and plays the main riff from the beginning of the song. The riity uses a horsehair string (a bundle of horsehair) and is played with a horsehair bow. A very simple little tune, rather humble but funky. "Ndank Ndank" means 'Little by Little' in Woloff.

SuperString Theory - SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal
Words by Tony Vacca and Helen Kerlin-Smith, music by Tony Vacca and Derrik Jordan

Story

This was recorded in Vermont and was written before our trip to Senegal in 2006. Tony does spoken word and plays balafon and percussion. I wrote the riff and play the violin. Helen Kerlin-Smith sings in the background.

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Windham Loops (excerpt)