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Rio Grande - a sea Shanty with ‘great spirit and passion for life’


One of the Strings Together tutors, Sinan Kadifachi, tells us why he was drawn to the traditional tune for this autumn term…


It's been very enjoyable to work on The Rio Grande Sea shanty this term.

I always like finding pieces that have a different flare and introducing something new to the group!

I have played many pieces of a traditional nature over the years, but never a sea shanty in four-part harmony for a string orchestra.

This piece has such strong close harmonies running through it and tells a story of adventure, comradeship, and hardship through these.

String instruments lend themselves so well to vocal pieces, as we can hear the breath through our notes and recreate the rise and fall of sang melodies so closely with our bows.

Some believe the history behind the song is of a crew bound for the Rio Grande river on the border of Mexico and the US leaving behind loved ones in Liverpool to find their fortune there or else die in the endeavour. (Although some believe the song refers to Rio du Sol in Brazil).

The melody has great spirit and passion for life. You can feel the emotion and energy of a group working together towards a common goal. Much like the Strings Together players and teachers :)

The strength in the melodies has encouraged us all to play out and more confidently in higher positions. To use our bow weight and speed to bring the verve for life out in the music.

It's been a great pleasure. Bravo!


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