We Lived Happily During the War


We Lived Happily During the War is comprised of four songs and a percussion interlude, all of which reflect the isolation, pain, and political call to action — and the resulting inaction — that the 2020 pandemic has come to represent. It is also a further contemplation about my family history, specifically my grandmother’s escape from Ukraine with her seven children after the massacre in her town during the 1919 pandemic (my grandmother’s pre-recorded singing voice is featured in movement II). The piece takes on a devastating new meaning in light of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Movement I, No Words, translates the phrases “no words” and “there are no words” into ten languages. Movement II is based on a Yiddish folk song (“I’m laughing at you, for God is with me”) and incorporates my grandmother’s pre-recorded voice. Movement III uses the text “The Loneliness One dare not sound” by Emily Dickinson. After a substantial percussion interlude, Movement V presents the powerful poem “We Lived Happily During the War” by Ilya Kaminsky. — Mathew Rosenblum

Produced by David Cossin
Recorded on October 1 and 2, 2023 at David Cossin’s studio
Edited and mixed by David Cossin

Jamie Jordan - soprano
Talujon Percussion: Ian Antonio, David Cossin, Matthew Gold, Michael Lipsey, Dániel Matei, Matt Ward

This piece was made possible by a grant from the Fromm Music Foundation.

"We Lived Happily During the War" from Deaf Republic. Copyright © 2018 by Ilya Kaminsky. Used by permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, MN. www.graywolfpress.org. All rights reserved worldwide.


We Lived Happily During the War
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