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Footsteps in Snow

by Earthsound

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Footsteps in Snow is inspired by elements of Inuit music, including the drum dance song Siipinngua, throat singing, and the Scottish and Irish jigs that have been part of Inuit musical practice since the 19th century. The changing environment of the Arctic is an important theme as well - at the beginning of the piece, you’ll hear the recorded words of Inuit elder John Sinnok speaking about the dramatic effects of climate change on his home village of Shishmaref, Alaska. I recorded an interview with Mr. Sinnok as part of Climate Stories Project, my initiative to document people’s spoken observations of and responses to climate change. Mr. Sinnok speaks about climate change in vivid terms – among other details, he describes how the sound of people’s footsteps has changed as the climate has warmed and snow on the ground has become wetter:

Back when I was young
We have always had north wind
All the time
And we would have blizzards
And cold north winds for a good month
And it would be like that for a long time
But after that
The snow gets so cold
That you could hear people walking outside
You could hear their footsteps outside
Nowadays, it doesn’t get that hard any more where you can hear people walking past
The snow doesn’t get that hard, dry anymore
Like it used to

Recorded by Randy Cole
May 10, 2017, McGill University


released July 2, 2020
Jason Davis, Bass
Voice of John Sinnok


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Earthsound Massachusetts

Earthsound, led by bassist and composer Jason Davis, combines jazz, world music, and sounds of the natural world. Through the organization Climate Stories Project, Earthsound produces original music which incorporates excerpts from climate story interviews, creating a vivid portrait of the changing climate as expressed through music and spoken narrative. ... more

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