Salaam was written in 2013 for the Belgian choir Aquarius, on request from conductor Marc Michael De Smet. It was inspired by the plight of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who were sent there following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US. Many have been imprisoned indefinitely, without charges or trial. The songs are settings of four poems by the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, and range in mood from one of homesickness and despair through to anger and determination. There are expressions of strength through spirituality, as well as descriptive imagery inspired by the surroundings. These songs were designed to be coupled with another work on the same theme by British composer, Ed Hughs, entitled A Buried Flame.

The four songs are to be performed without a break:

  1. Is it True? Poem by Osama Abu Kabir
  2. Hunger Strike Poem Poem by Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
  3. Ode to the sea Poem by Abdullah Thani Faris Al Anazi
  4. Even if the Pain Poem by Siddiq Turkestani

Performance note:
These songs were written for 8-part choir, with 3 voices to a part. This is also the minimum number of voices required - more can be added as long as a balanced sound is achieved. There are several solos imbedded in the work.

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