Album review: Paddle to the Sea

May 1, 2018

“As usual, the performance is perfection personified.”

As a child growing up in Michigan, I remember reading Paddle to the Sea in fourth grade. It is a children’s book written in 1941 by Holling C. Holling, and it tells the story of a toy canoe and its passenger that travels through the Great Lakes. Third Coast Percussion has assembled a collection of water-inspired music composed by themselves and by Philip Glass (movements from Aguas de Amazonia) and Jacob Druckman (Reflections on the Nature of Water). A traditional song, “Chigwaya,” was arranged by Third Coast’s mentor, Musekiwa Chingodza. This album is my favorite of Third Coast’s so far. Paddle to the Sea was composed by Third Coast as a film score to be performed with the 1966 film adaptation of the book. The music uses ceramic tiles, pitched desk bells, marimba, and other instruments to create a nostalgic work that is dark and dreamy and fits perfectly alongside the other works on the recording. As usual, the performance is perfection personified; rhythms perfectly together and emotional palettes well thought out. I eagerly await their next endeavor.

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