Ethel Traces Roots

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In January, the innovative string-band Ethel recorded works by eleven student composers of the Chickasaw Nation. The album will be released on Thunderbird Records in June, and is the first of its kind. Q2 brings you exclusive interviews with Chickasaw Nation composers Courtney Parchcorn and Cruise Berry by Ethel violinists Cornelius Dufallo and Mary Rowell, along with excerpts from their compositions.

Through this project, Ethel provides a real hands-on experience for the young composers; the students participate in every aspect of the album from start to finish, right down to the selecting the cover art, pictured above.

Ethel has a longstanding collaboration with Native American musicians and composers, and an earnest commitment to bringing music to the children of Native American reservations. For the past four years, the quartet has been in residence at the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project (NACAP), a segment of the Grand Canyon Music Festival which helps train Native American students to compose music. Ethel has also developed its unique Truckstop project, which explores, unites and honors indigenous communities and their music.

Chickasaw student composer Cruise Berry remarks on his musical influences and his experience writing a string quartet, which is excerpted here.

Young composer Courtney Parchcorn discusses the challenges she faced writing her piece for Ethel, which is also excerpted here.

You can listen 24/7 to Q2 through our pop-out audio player or iTunes.