Here’s a musical response to Aarti Sequeira’s recipe “Ezekiel’s Wheel Chickpea Salad” that she graciously contibuted to Spark and Echo Arts. Watch the video. For those who have been following her stellar performance on The Next Food Network Star or are fans of her Aarti Paarti Blog and Cooking Series you know what a superb chef she is. After making her Ezekiel’s Wheel Chickpea Salad, we can tell you first hand that it is delicious. My wife Emily and I recently enjoyed it on a picnic along the Hudson River.
Listen/Download The Wheels
The recipe, her delightfully upbeat presentation, and the wild story of Ezekiel’s Vision in Ezekiel Chapter 1 inspired this song The Wheels. I picked a few specific parts of Aarti’s submission to create my own artistic reaction.
First, I recorded the great sounds that came up as I made Ezekiel’s Wheel Chickpea Salad in my kitchen:
-Firing up the gas burner
-Roasting a red bell pepper over the burner (it whistled and popped)
-Stirring up tahini
-Scraping the skin off the bell pepper with a knife
-Dropping and toasting walnuts in a pan (we were out of pine nuts)
Then I sampled Aarti saying two words from her video: “Tahini” and “Chickpea.” I used the tah, iin, and chi sounds.
In the spirit of a Food Network style challenge I limited myself to only the recorded sounds from the salad prep and Aarti’s three syllables (tah, iin, chi) when making the composition. I cut the sounds up, pitched them at different octaves, and added delay and reverb.
The text is adapted directly from the story of Ezekiel’s Vision of God. There are so many fascinating parts of this story, but since Aarti pleasantly focused on the mysterious wheels that Ezekiel saw, I thought I would also make this the focus of the song.
I imagine the narrator emphatically telling the story of what he just saw to the first person he sees. When we see something incredible, barely believable, sometimes we focus on just one component of what we saw, the only part we can wrap our head around. Imagine a couple telling their grandkids about an extreme storm they just witnessed. The storm had tornados, torrential rains, and affected thousands of lives, yet the part of the story they tell over and over is that there was a mailbox in perfect condition yet up in a tree. The rest of the tale was unfathomable so they keep coming back to that mailbox.
That reminds me of Ezekiel a little bit when he spends so much time focusing on the wheels–how many, how they intersect, that they move but don’t turn. Perhaps of all the wild things he saw, the wheels were something that he could wrap his head around and communicate so he really focused on them.
So those are the parts of Aarti’s Recipe and Ezekiel’s story I am confronting. We hope you enjoy! For a more classic rendition of the tune listen to the Piano/Vocal Version of the song here:
Listen / Download The Wheels (Piano Version)
ELEMENTS FROM THE COMPOSITION
Here are the sound samples I used to make this piece. They were gathered while I made Aarti’s Ezekiel’s Wheel Chickpea Salad. We hope they might inspire you to make your own Response. If you do please let us know. Thanks for your support and involvement!
Gas Burner Lighting
Roasted Red Pepper Whistling
Roasted Red Pepper Crackling
Dropping Walnuts in a Pan
Pouring Chickpeas in a Bowl
Chopping Little Shallots
Chopping Big Shallots
Dropping a Pan on a Burner
Peeling Skin Off a Roasted Red Pepper
Rolling Walnuts in a Pan
Scraping Roasted Red Pepper
I was particularly impressed at how many cool sounds the red pepper made when I roasted it over the gas burner. Try it! It whistles and crackles like a big ol’ campfire.
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