Heaven's Bow (2016)

for piano

Afrikosmos Volume 6

To Michael Finnissy, on his 70th birthday

Publisher: Bardic Edition

Duration: 6 minutes, 30 seconds

Programme note

Heaven’s Bow is a reinterpretation of a pair of songs from the uhadi bow repertoire of the legendary Xhosa musician Nofinishi Dywili. The complexity of her rhythmic invention exceeded that of any other bow players in South African music, before or since, and here that rhythmic complexity has been synthesized with contemporary Western rhythmic techniques and phrasing.

Heaven’s Bow forms part of the final volume of Afrikosmos, a collection of New African or neo-African piano pieces, graded from beginner to concert level.  Afrikosmos will hopefully be a resource for pianists and composers interested in exploring the many facets of found musics from all over the African continent.

The punning title is a charming mis-translation of ‘Arc-en-siel’, which I came across many years ago above the entrance of a bar in Hammamet, Tunisia.  Heaven’s Bow is a 70th birthday present for Michael Finnissy. It lasts about 6.5 minutes.


Piano music