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The original idea for this work involved using Inuit culture in some way. I was at first hesitant about this, as there is an inherent earthiness in Inuit poetry and legend that is in fairly radical opposition to both my music and my process. After reading some Inuit poems in translation, I finally decided to use several as departure points, and to write my own texts based upon them. Thus, the texts for Shaman Songs are not genuine Inuit poems, but rather, my rather liberal adaptations.

The Inuit are a profoundly musical people, although not in any way that is related to Western culture. I was surprised and intrigued to find that music is so completely integrated into their lives that they do virtually every activity with it. The "making songs" is even a form of warfare: two combatants have a "song competition" and improvise songs about each other. The observers decide who has won on the basis of how pointed and derisive the songs are. Music is so central to their lives that the Inuit say that they "sing as they draw breath," naturally and spontaneously. Life is unthinkable without it.

There is no attempt in Shaman Songs to use musical material that is in any way related to Inuit music. I have attempted in this peice, as I do in all my pieces, to synthesize several influences.

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