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Sean J. Kennedy

An original composition by Sean J. Kennedy entitled, Kaku, Kupala. Fear in Neutral Buoyancy, will be premiered on September 27, 2015, at Carnegie Hall (New York City, NY), during the YPHIL-International Youth Philharmonic Orchestra-International Youth Philharmonic Orchestra "Concert for Global Peace".

The composition, a percussion feature written with full orchestra, was inspired by a shocking two-minute encounter that Kennedy had with a four-foot barracuda off the coast of Maui.

It was August 2001, while on a sight-seeing trip, snorkeling off the coast of Maui to observe the great sea turtles, when Kennedy encountered a Kaku, kupala — Hawaiian for large barracuda — just two meters to his left. The ominous fish remained motionless, starring at Sean while using its innate ability for maintaining neutral buoyancy. Terrified, Sean called out to his friend who was nearby ... but when he looked back to see if the barracuda was still there, it had vanished.

Kaku, Kupala. Fear in Neutral Buoyancy is a fusion of jazz, rock, and classical music — painting a picture in sound using specific rhythms and pitches as well as moments of free improvisation. The work features three percussionists who symbolize the composer's emotions while floating just below the surface of the Pacific Ocean: prior to, during, and after the encounter with the great fish. The percussionists switch frequently between reading specific notated rhythms to moments of free improvisation — adding the necessary elements of danger and surprise — making the piece come alive for both the performers and the audience.

A drummer, percussionist, educator, author and composer, Sean J. Kennedy has been a Drummer Cafe community member and contributor since 2009.