(9:00) SSAATTBB Chorus, 2 Nose Flutes. Copyright Fee: Score. Music and Lyrics Copyright ©2002, Brent Michael Davids.
Un-Covered Wagon is sung entirely in Mohican with American Indian "vocables" and tells of the existential reciprocity Indians have with the earth: “You Earth make us, We People make you, We all live here, Always, Ever.” One of the first epic Western films "The Covered Wagon" (Paramount, 1923), portrays the pioneers crossing what they saw as an open territory free-for-the-taking. But obviously, there were other people already living in this so-called "untamed wilderness" -- Indians. "Un-Covered Wagon" was written to uncover an alternate view. The American continent has always been filled with others, people, stories and history, and has been known as intimately as a familiar footpath long before America existed. To reveal this musically, the racist hymn "Faith of Our Fathers" was superimposed one half-step apart in tuning from an Indian background to create a new way of hearing that hymn; the effect of this difficult passage is spooky and surreal. The end of the work calls for three different Indian singing styles to be superimposed upon each other. "Un-Covered Wagon," as music and message, urges us to reconsider the seasoned and intelligent tradition of keeping good familial relationships with the earth.
"Un-Covered Wagon" was recorded and is available on the “Our American Journey” CD (Teldec).