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The light, the sea, and the forest below (2022)

Written for The Ocean's Cry, a collaboration between CNSNC Collective and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Recorded and premiered by Robert Brown, saxophone; Ben Giroux, percussion; and Sherry Du, piano.
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Edward Tetreault.

This project is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Seagrass forests make up an extremely vital part of our oceans’ ecosystems. These surreal underwater landscapes serve as important food sources and as habitats for many different marine species; in a sense, they serve as the foundation upon which the ocean’s cycle of life exists, in which thousands of marine flora and fauna coexist with one another.

However, the seagrass forests are being endangered by human activity. Recent research shows that excess fertilizer and nutrients from other sources are contributing to the growth of harmful algal blooms. These massive blooms, usually red or green in color, float on the surface of the water, blocking light that the seagrasses would normally use to photosynthesize.

If these harmful algal blooms continue to block much-needed sunlight from reaching the seagrass forests, then the seagrasses will start to shrink and dwindle, potentially uprooting and permanently changing the ecosystems which they support. However, if humans make an effort to curb the amount of harmful chemicals we accidentally (or intentionally) spill into the water, there is hope that the seagrass forests will re-grow and return to their former glory

This piece serves as a simple tribute to these ancient, beautiful underwater forests, which have existed long before humans walked the earth; and, even though they are currently struggling with the effects of our pollution, will likely continue to exist long after we are gone.

(January 2022)

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