(I)Holba for flute and guitar
(I)Holba, for flute and guitar, is my first work using Native American song--in this case, a melody called the Navajo Magic Feather Dance or the Sioux Peyote Dance--as source material. While I have frequently used folk materials from other sources in my previous compositions, I generally tend to focus on a single element of the source, such as the pitch material or the unique rhythmic patterns. For this work, however, I chose to draw from both the pitch and rhythmic materials present in this particular melody.
In this work, I set out to create an auditory version of the Italian Renaissance painting technique sfumato. This technique allows tones and colors to shade gradually into one another producing a softened outline or hazy form. The title (I)Holba comes from the combination of two similar Chickasaw words, iholba (hallucination) and holba (mirage). (I)Holba captures the spirit of the work – namely, that source material is omnipresent, yet shaded, hazy and abstract enough that listeners may not actually recognize it. It speaks to the magical and hallucinogenic elements of the source and the decision to use the Chickasaw language for the title celebrates my own ancestral heritage.