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Umoja (Woodwind Quintet)


Umoja (Woodwind Quintet) by Valerie Coleman, Published by Coleman Page Music.

Umoja is the Swahili word for "unity" and is the first day in seven in the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. The original composition calls for unity through the tradition of call and response and was first meant to be a simple family sing-along song for Kwanzaa. As it was added to the wind quintet repertoire of Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet that was created and founded by Coleman, and it soon became a signature piece of the ensemble. The melody is mainly a French horn solo with supporting rhythms from the upper winds and a constant motor played by the bassoon. Even though the meter is in 3/4 time, the melody and percussive upper wind accompaniment is mostly phrased in 6/8 when there is syncopation. Most importantly, the entire feel should be in 1. Suggested effects: flutter tongueing and trills within the flute line.