Ooga Booga

ENS.2015.6 | 14′
Poems by Frederick Seidel
Soprano & 4 Sousaphones


1. Broadway Melody

2. Sunlight

3. Breast Cancer

4. Hair in a Net

Ideally Ooga Booga would be performed with the soprano amplified through a small, shitty amplifier or speaker backed by four (unamplified) sousaphones, creating a loud outdoor sound. The amplification’s purpose is to balance the soprano with the brass as well as to add some distortion and noise to the vocals, but should not obscure the poems’ comprehensibility. In a more “refined” concert setting the voice may remain unamplified alongside four orchestral tubas. In either case the soprano should stand in front of the four tubas, which do not need to be arranged in any particular order on stage and can even move around during performance if desired, making formations or dancing or whatever.

Ooga Booga is a setting of four poems by Frederick Seidel, whom Michael Robbins calls “the best poet we have…a one-man abattoir, masturbating on poetry’s grave in his finest bespoke suit from Savile Row.” Accordingly, I have scored this song cycle for amplified soprano and four sousaphones. There are no slow movements.