Kanklės ir New York

Dear kanklės music lover! 

In your hands you are holding a collection of my original compositions and folk song arrangements written for the Lithuanian folk zither, called kanklės. The idea for this piece came into being ten years ago, when I moved to the United States from my home country of Lithuania to study composition in Boston; this book is a culmination of the many percolating observations and fragments I have collected over the past decade. It has been a joy to devote the past year to putting my musical ideas on paper, and I am thrilled to share them with you here. Over the past ten years I have discovered within myself a deeper connection to the kanklės and all it can communicate. It is such a versatile instrument. I have used it at Lithuanian Saturday school lessons, church services, community gatherings, parties and even in my own jazz and chamber music compositions and performances. Indeed, the kanklės has become like a dear friend to me, connecting me to my Lithuanian roots and allowing me to soar to new musical heights in composition and performance. I decided to  bring this book into being after working closely with the Lithuanian community in the United States and discovering a need for more modern repertoire accessible to all musicians of different levels of expertise and experience. My hope is that by committing this music to paper, I will be able to share the beauty and versatility of the kanklės with a wider audience, while also inspiring young musicians to engage with tradition in a new way. Here you will find kanklės compositions for beginning and intermediate players, as well as folk songs, children’s songs, and one church hymn. All these pieces are my original compositions, except for two folk songs, which I selected based on my experience working at Lithuanian Saturday schools. The book has two children's Christmas songs, which I composed specifically for bilingual children who live outside of Lithuania, but I hope that children who live in Lithuania will also take joy in singing and playing it. I currently reside in New York City, and all of the pieces in this book were composed and arranged here, so it seemed fitting to frame this as sort of an ode to The Big Apple, or at least a rumination on the cultural similarities between NYC and Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. A few quintessential New York touchstones that remind me of home are the East River, the natural beauty of Central Park, the abundant street art, and the vibrant, artistic energy of the city. There is one piece in particular, called “Karner Blue Butterfly,” which is dedicated to the endangered species being impacted by climate change. The Karner Blue is a beautiful native New York butterfly which has been on the federal endangered species list since 1992. I hope that my nature-themed compositions will inspire children and adults to protect our habitat and to take action to fight against the effects of climate change. “Kanklės in New York” is a book for everyone who is interested in kanklės music. Each piece is very different in musical genre and in difficulty level. In this book you will find classical, pop, rock, bossa nova and even meditation music. With this type of eclectic approach to composition, I wanted to show the world how diverse and unique the kanklės can sound. My intention is that this book will be helpful to you, and that it will be used in Lithuania, in the United States, and around the world among music students, Lithuanian schools, music enthusiasts, teachers, amateurs and professionals. I hope that it will  inspire you to bring your kanklės everywhere you go!

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