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Music of WaterFire

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.

An Opera Providence soprano performing at WaterFire.
Photograph by John Nickerson.

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.

2023 Soundtrack

November 4 | October 14 | September 30 | September 9 | August 19 | July 22 | July 8| June 24 | June 3

2022 Soundtrack

December 1-3 | November 5 | October 22 | October 1 | September 24 | August 27 | August 13 |July 30 | July 16 | June 25 | June 10 | June 4 | April 27

2021 Soundtrack

December 4 | November 6 | October 27 | October 16 | October 2 | September 24 | September 18 | September 4

2020 Soundtrack

May 8 | May 7

2019 Soundtrack

November 2 | October 5 | September 28 | September 14 | September 1 | August 17 | August 3 | July 20 | June 22 | June 12 | May 23

2018 Soundtrack

November 10 | October 6 | September 29 | September 22 | September 8 | August 25 | July 28 | July 14 | June 30 | June 10 | May 26

2017 Soundtrack

November 4 | September 30th | September 23rd | September 3rd | August 5th | July 22nd | July 8th | June 24th | June 10thMay 27thMay 19thApril 28thApril 8th

2016 Soundtrack

November 5thOctober 1stSeptember 24thSeptember 4thAugust 20thAugust 6thJuly 23rdJuly 9thJune 18thMay 28th | May 21stMarch 18th

2015 Soundtrack

September 3rd | November 7thOctober 3rdSeptember 26thSeptember 12August 29th | August 15th | August 1st | July 18th | July 14th | June 13th | May 29th | May 23rdMay 16th

2014 Soundtrack

December 19thNovember 8thOctober 25thOctober 11thSeptember 27thAugust 23rdAugust 9th | July 26thJuly 12thJune 28th | June 14thMay 30th | May 24th | May 14th

2013 Soundtrack

November 9thOctober 12October 5thOctober 1stSeptember 28thSeptember 21stSeptember 7th | August 24thAugust 10thJuly 13th | June 8thMay 31stMay 25th

2012 Soundtrack

May 26th | June 1st | June 9 | June 23 | July 7 | July 21 | July 29 | August 18 | September 1 | September 15 | September 20 | September 29 | September 30 | October 6

2011 Soundtrack

May 28th | June 3rd | July 2nd | July 16th | July 30th | August 13th | September 10th | September 24th | October 8th

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:
WaterFire Providence
475 Valley Street
Providence, RI 02908

Submissions will be reviewed by our artistic director for inclusion on the WaterFire soundtrack.

2 thoughts on “Music of WaterFire”

  1. I’m trying to find a song that must have played at Waterfires in the 2000s and maybe into the 2010s.

    The vocalist was female, the music was electronic with a heavy Celtic vibe.

    The entirety of the lyrics (they just repeated over and over):

    I can find a four leaf clover
    Even when the leaves are falling
    Even in a winter snowfall
    And all around the world

    Does anyone know what song this is?

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