I ENTER THE EARTH
“In a passage that seems to liken a religious experience to a sexual one, the text states that, after seeing God and then returning to earth, “then you come and you come and you come and finally you enter your body again.” The last stanza mirrors the beginning, with the sliding choral choices, then ends with rich, quietly enveloping harmonies. It’s convincing as a meaningful, even life-altering, journey.”OPERA NEWS
“[Joel Puckett’s] motet is a real find. The Chordal Harmonies have a resonance at several removes from Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna. It is beautifully sung.”GRAMOPHONE
A CAPELLA CHOIR
Commissioned by Chorus America, The American Composers Forum for The Crossing
Winner of The Dale Warland Singers Commission Award
a cappella choir
When people sing … I enter the earth. I go in at a place like a place where people drink water. I travel a long way, very far. When I emerge, I am already climbing. I climb threads. I climb one and leave it.
When you arrive at God’s place, you make yourself small. …
You do what you have to do there.
Then you return to where everyone is, and you hide your face. You hide your face so you won’t see. … And then you come and come and come and finally you enter your body again. All … who have stayed behind are waiting for you. They fear you.
You enter, enter the earth, and you return to enter the skin of your body … Then you … sing.
I enter the earth was premiered by The Crossing on June 14, 2015 as part of their Month of Moderns Festival.
All text for I enter the earth was spoken by Kxao =Oah of northwestern Botswana in 1971, interpreted and translated by Marguerite Anne Biesele and then edited by Joel Puckett. It is excerpted from “Folklore and ritual of !Kung hunter gatherers,” Ph.D. Dissertation Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University©1975 Marguerite Anne Biesele (current pen name Megan Biesele) and used with permission.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to Dr. Biesele who has granted permission to set and reprint these words. She asks that anyone moved by them consider making a donation to:
The Kalahari Peoples Fund
PO Box 7855
Austin, TX 78713-7855
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