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Roda

  • Elliot Cole
  • Sextet
  • 2017

Roda (pronounced in Portuguese with a guttural R) means ‘circle’ or ‘wheel.’ In capoeira, it refers to the circle of people who sing and clap and define the space for the game. Circles of all kinds animate the pattern of this work: regular turns around a clock face,
corkscrews that deepen as they spin, spirals that expand and contract, and, I hope, something of the circles I am learning to make with my body from my capoeira teacher — organic, fluid, and sly.

I didn’t grow up playing music on stages; we played in a circle with our friends. This distinction, call it music in a circle vs. music in a line, is part of my worldview. Music in a line is presentational, performative, public, played to please the audience. Music in a circle is communal, playful, private, played ‘for the love of the game.’

To me, the best music is made by people who can create real circle-music magic between each other, and can also share it with us. This is what I feel from Arcomusical and celebrate in my Roda. My first hope is that I have written something that is fun to play, in a deep and nourishing way. I know that if it can bring them joy, they will be able to pass it on to you.

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