The music of WaterFire Providence is an integral component of the sculpture. The soundtrack interacts with the acoustics of the river walkways and the natural sounds of over 80 blazing bonfires.
WaterFire Providence is accompanied by music selected by Barnaby Evans that combines recorded natural sounds with eclectic and unusual music related to the ritual, religious, and symbolic sources of the sculpture. The soundtrack changes with each performance and works by artists from throughout the globe are deliberately juxtaposed. The emotional character of the music is in opposition to the minimalism of the sculpture—just as fire is paired with water. The music program begins before sunset and ends at Midnight on all full WaterFire lightings.
The soundtrack often returns to works by four principal composers—the Estonian composer Arvo Part’s modern reinterpretations of ancient Christian and Russian Orthodox liturgical music; the Armenian folk melodies played by Djivan Gasparyan on the Duduk or Nay (an Armenian oboe); the American avant-garde composer David Hykes’ settings of various religious music for small chorus using vocal techniques derived from Tibetan “over chanting”; and selections from Nicholas Lens’ brilliant work Flamma Flamma—The Fire Requiem. Additional works are included in the winter when the program can be up to eight hours long.
All of the music is the work of the original artists listed below and they retain the copyright. The music is used here by permission of the artist or the recording company and/or licensed for public performance through ASCAP, SESAC, and/or BMI (including their affiliated foreign performance rights societies). We urge you to further explore and support the work of these artists through the purchase of their recordings. WaterFire Providence® and Barnaby Evans wish to thank the artists for creating such wonderful music and the recording companies for their enthusiastic cooperation and support.
We are always interested in learning of new (or old) music, as well as hearing your comments and questions. For more information about the music send us an email: [email protected] or during an event go to the audio booth at Steeple Street and Memorial Boulevard across the river from Café Nuovo.
Inspired by the magic of WaterFire?
Artists are always welcome to submit their music to WaterFire Providence.
Use this form to submit a link where we can listen to your music or send material to WaterFire Providence for consideration:
475 Valley Street
Providence, RI 02908
Submissions will be reviewed by our artistic director for inclusion on the WaterFire soundtrack.