Title: Voodoo
Date of Composition: Copyright © 1984 Daniel Bukvich
Level of Difficulty: High School
Instrumentation: Wind Band
Ensemble Set-up: Bukvich Symphonic Band Diagram
Performance Time: 5:19
Publisher: Wingert-Jones Music
11225 Colorado
Kansas City, MO 64137-2502
or toll-free 800-258-WJMO
Program Notes:

Voodoo” was a commission for the Idaho All-State Band in 1984. The piece was written specifically for the setting it would be premiered in, a gymnasium. Mel Shelton, a professor of conducting and composition at Boise State University, conducted it and was instrumental in pulling off the first successful performance of the piece. The educational purpose of the piece was to challenge the performers to listen to each other. “To accomplish this, it occured to me to turn the lights off.” The piece is supposed to be performed from memory, without a conductor. It is as much a theatrical event as a piece of music, calling for the use of flashlights, arm waving, chanting, singing, blowing into brass mutes, surrounding the audience, and playing on parts of wind instruments, such as mouthpieces, trombone slides, and trumpets with tuning slides removed.

Voodoo”, the band piece, is in no way related to the practice of religion. The name of the piece is derived from a conversation Bukvich had with his friend who was a missionary nun living in Guatemala. “She told me that the sounds of the jungle, at night time, reminded her of ‘those old Voodoo movies’ they used to watch,” he said. Many of these “sounds of the jungle” are imitated in Voodoo, the band piece. The primary melodic material is loosely based on a favorite Gregorian chant; he simply finds the melody appealing. It is also a smooth, flowing, conjunct melodic line which works well while singing the word “voodoo.”

Portions of the program notes extracted from “The Careers and Works of Emerging Composers of Music for the Wind-Band: Discussions with Jack Stamp, Thomas Duffy, Andrew Boysen, Jr. and Daniel Bukvich” by James P. McCrann; edited for content by Susan G. Weaver.

FAQ: For lack of a good way to phrase the questions, here are the answers:
No, Dan is not a satanist. No, Dan does not practice black magic. This piece was not in any way intended to reflect specific religious convictions - please see the program notes on the Voodoo "details" page for more information about the ideas behind the piece.

Recordings: Details about recording(s):
  • Performer(s): UI Lionel Hampton School of Music Wind Ensemble
  • File(s) available:

    Recording(s) posted: [2002-09-28 00:00:00]

    **All recordings on this site are made available for use by students and music educators. Please be kind to our server and download in moderation.

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