Guest Blog by Waywords & Meansigns Director Derek Pyle
With collaborators from around the world, Waywords & Meansigns set James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to music unabridged. Twice. But Finnegans Wake being the expansive, and addictive, book that it is, we decided to organize one last hurrah!
In our two previous releases, we focused on the book’s epic arcs and massive trajectory, with each contributor reading and performing an entire chapter. For 2017 contributors are invited to take much shorter passages of the book — a page, a few pages — to set to music. This will allow for a new kind of depth, as well as variety, as dozens upon dozens of people from around the world dig into their short passage.
As always, our contributions come from all kinds of people — musicians, artists, poets, scholars, weirdos, passionate Wake-heads, those totally ignorant of the Wake, and anyone generally adventurous. Unlike the previous two editions this will be an “incomplete edition” (as opposed to an unabridged edition). People can continue to contribute individual passages well into posterity for the “incomplete edition”, but as far as we can anticipate, this Spring will see the final large group release of Waywords & Meansigns.
It seems the nature of the Finnegans Wake to demand an endless supply of readers and readings. This risks, perhaps, creating an endless ocean wherein listeners get lost in the wake(!) but as our two original editions – these two behemoths of wild wonderful hours upon hours – reach and inspire new ears in future years, it is our hope that this “incomplete edition” will be a vehicle wherein listeners are in turn encouraged to become readers, singers, shouters, and whisperers of the book that keeps demanding, inspiring, confusing.
We’re really excited about our 2017 contributors, including avant-psych rockers Kinski, Eyeless in Gaza’s Martyn Bates, the Joyce Centre’s beloved Here Comes Everybody Players, a straight reading from jazz vocalist Phil Minton, and much more. Visit the artist page on our site to see the current list of contributors, with many more to be announced.
Waywords & Meansigns has been, and continues to be, great fun. I never imagined we would sustain so much interest from contributors and listeners alike – thank you for your continued support of our weird little idea.