A Caged Bird

Composer: York, Barbara
Instrumentation: Solo and Piano Instruments: Bass Trombone, Piano
Genre: Contemporary
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CM4300
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This piece was not written specifically in response to either the poem by Maya Angelou or that by Paul Dunbar that both refer to “the caged bird”. However, there is no doubt that both poems have inspired my own further exploration and now musical extrapolation on the subject of being “caged” and of still “singing” in spite of this. With all due respect and admiration for Ms. Angelou and Mr. Dunbar, I have attempted here in my own concept of “cagedness” to include, beyond  racial references, also those issues that include gender, sexuality, economic status, medical/physical problems and any number of other situations that create restrictive and even imprisoning boundaries from which we and all others struggle to break free and find fully human, creative and even spiritual expression within ourselves. Even within the many bonds and restrictive boundaries that we often find ourselves, it still seems to be a fundamental part of our Nature as both human and Spiritual beings that we cannot help but “sing” in both joy and praise both from ourselves and to our own Creator despite the sometimes, even apparently insurmountable obstacles we encounter. For me, this piece is not so much an exploration as to “why the caged bird sings” as it is simply a commenting, even with some measure of wonderment, on its remarkable inevitability.

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A Caged Bird
A Caged Bird

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