- Watch my new music video, Mother of Exiles, on youtube.
- You can also find it by googling “gareth loy mother of exiles”
PLEASE SHARE THE YOUTUBE VIDEO WITH TEN OF YOUR FRIENDS, AND ASK EACH TO SHARE IT WITH TEN OF THEIRS! The easiest way to share it:
- Follow this link to youtube or google “gareth loy mother of exiles”
- Under the video, click on the “Share” button
- Use the information there to post the link to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Download a PDF of the solo sheet music of Mother of Exiles.
- Download a PDF of the harmony sheet music for soprano/alto/baritone of Mother of Exiles.
On 2/8/2017, eighty of my friends and I went into Laughing Tiger Studios in San Rafael and made this powerful video together. I sang the chorus and verse of the song solo with guitar, then I was joined by a choir of 63 singers led by Reed Fromer, who also contributed a soulful piano backing. My friend John Ballard directed the video, which was filmed by volunteers from the Community Media Center of Marin (CMCM). Erin Tadena recorded and mastered the audio.
Mother of Exiles is a simple song I wrote that sets Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, The New Colossus word for word. Her poem is emblazoned on a brass plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
Written in 1883, Lazarus’ sonnet catalyzed the meaning of the Statue of Liberty as a beckoning welcome to immigrants of all kinds, even the “homeless, tempest-tost” and the “wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Lazarus died, age 38, one year after seeing her poem installed in the base of the Statue of Liberty.
My hope is that this simple song can help remind Americans of the crucial role immigration has played in shaping our nation, not only historically, but more urgently, today.
Here is a simple syllogism:
- Every American is either an immigrant or a child of immigrants.
- America is the greatest nation on Earth.
- Therefore, immigrants made America the greatest nation on Earth.
Cutting off immigration, we dishonor our ancestors and the sacrifices they made; we dishonor the spirit of the Statue of Liberty; and we risk destroying the engine that made America great in the first place.
Musical Footnote: I believe I am the first to successfully set the whole poem to music. Ms. Lazarus did not make it easy: her poem takes the form of a Petrarchan sonnet rhymed abbaabba cdcdcd. The “cdcdcd” part easily scans in a 3/4 meter (“Give me your tired, your poor…”). But the “abbaabba” part (“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame…”) is a tricky mixed meter. I figured out a way to parse it into a comfortable 4/4 meter that preserves the meaning of the poem. However, that means the song has to shift from 3/4 to 4/4 and back, which I handle with cadences and ritards.