Skip to main content

People's Picks: Sarah Davachi

People's Picks: Sarah Davachi
People's Picks: Sarah Davachi | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

In the summer of 2020, in the midst of pandemic-induced slipped time, I decided one day to do a deep dive from within the entire Folkways Records catalogue. I selected around 250 albums from across the decades and spent the next year or so going through them at a leisurely pace. I'm very thankful to have been asked to put this mix together, to finally have the opportunity to bring some of the highlights of my chosen albums into the same sonic space. For the most part, the material that I most gravitated towards emphasizes musical aspects that are very important to me in my own work – music that is slow and pensive, music that takes the space and time that it needs. The music here spans many genres and cultural traditions, opening with a beautiful modern work for Javanese gamelan by Barbara Benary and the New York-based Gamelan Son of Lion. My partner, Sean McCann of the Recital imprint, and I inherited the Berkeley Gamelan from instrument builder Daniel Schmidt earlier this year and so I've been returning my ears to Javanese and Javanese-style gamelan music lately. I chose two tracks from what is probably my favourite release of the bunch, Lullabies of the World, which contains exactly what it claims in the title and which sounds as incredible as you would imagine that it could. Among my selections are choral music, songs drawn from both folk and classical traditions, music performed on bagpipes, kora, setar, dulcimer, and brass quintet. Another of my favourite tracks is from Science of Sound, a largely spoken-word album that explores various musical principles, including two of my favourites: consonance and dissonance. The breadth and depth of the Folkways collection is overwhelming, and I hope that these selections provide some insight into corners of the catalogue that may have otherwise been buried.

Sarah Davachi (b. 1987, Canada) is a composer and performer whose work is concerned with the close intricacies of timbral and temporal space, utilizing extended durations and considered harmonic structures that emphasize gradual variations in texture, overtone complexity, psychoacoustic phenomena, and tuning and intonation. In addition to her acclaimed recorded output, Davachi has toured extensively and presented her work internationally at venues such as Southbank Centre (London UK), Ina GRM (Paris FR), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg DE), The Museum of Modern Art (New York USA), The Getty (Los Angeles USA), Issue Project Room (New York USA), Orgelpark (Amsterdam NL), Temppeliaukio Church (Helsinki FI), Grace Cathedral (San Francisco USA), Museo Reina Sofia (Madrid ES), Honen-in Temple (Kyoto JP), Western Front (Vancouver CA), and Église Saint-Eustache (Paris FR). In 2020 she founded Late Music, an imprint within the partner labels division of Warp Records. Davachi is currently based in Los Angeles, California.
Apple Music


Listen on Pandora here