On 24th November 2021, the Grammy Awards nominations were revealed, with Sō Percussion and Caroline Shaw’s disc Narrow Sea winning a place on the shortlist for Best Contemporary Classical Composition.
Released in January 2021 on Nonesuch Records, the disc features Shaw’s 2017 five-part work Narrow Sea. The piece sets texts from The Sacred Harp nineteenth century collection of shape-note hymns, and was written for and performed by Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish. The disc also features Taxidermy, written for Sō Percussion in 2012. Narrow Sea is one of two albums with Caroline Shaw released in 2021. It was followed by Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part, which features songs that Shaw and Sō Percussion developed over three days of studio time, experimenting with ideas that arose while recording Narrow Sea.
Narrow Sea received international attention for the imaginative collaboration, rich and complex rhythms and textures, and inspired exploration of the American folk tradition. Among other accolades, BBC Music Magazine included it in their list of best classical albums released in 2021 so far, describing it as “exquisite”, “imaginative and expressive”. Full reviews can be read here.
Trailers for each of the tracks on the disc can be found at the links here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5). You can also watch a live video of Sō Percussion performing Taxidermy in Toronto here. A full list of nominations can be found here.
Congratulations to all involved with this outstanding disc!