One of 2018’s top classical releases thus far is Paddle to the Sea from Third Coast Percussion. Cedille released the album in February from the Grammy Award-winning, Chicago-based percussion ensemble. This dynamic quartet of Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore is one that those seeking a good “beat” must get to know. Their use of a wide array of pitched and non-pitched percussion and ability to seamlessly blend with one another is superb, not to mention they are a blast to watch perform if you ever have the opportunity!
Paddle to the Sea gets its name from the album’s centerpiece, which is based off the 1941 children’s book of the same name by Holling C. Holling. The story tells of a small wooden figure in a canoe that travels through the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, highlighting its encounters along the way. Third Coast Percussion wrote a piece to perform with the 1966 film adaptation of the book. The remainder of the album shares the water theme, containing music by others who have influenced the quartet over the years.
Personally, I find the four selections from Philip Glass’s Aguas da Amazonia to be a stand out. These pieces are named after four rivers and come from a group of twelve that Glass originally wrote for piano and then was adapted for custom built instruments by the Brazilian group, Uakti. Third Coast Percussion makes the music their own by arranging it for their ensemble. The four pieces are Madeira River, Xingu River, Amazon River, and Japura River (check out the video of Third Coast Percussion performing Japura River in that last link – you can’t help but move as you watch them work those wine bottles!)
Like what you hear? You’re in luck. 90.9 WGUC is offering this incredible album as a way to thank YOU for your donation during our spring fund drive in May. Make your donation online at wguc.org and ask about how you can add this new release from Third Coast Percussion to your library.