A medicine bundle is part of the traditional teachings and practices of the First Nations peoples of North America. The title of the first Medicine Bundle piece, which I wrote as one of the many invited composers worldwide to contribute a piece for pianist Ananda Sukarlan’s Concerts for Bali commemorating the Bali bombing of October 2002, was my response to an article published in the Toronto Star, where an elder of the Six Nations Reserve of southern Ontario spoke of a “medicine bundle” found within each of us; a place of healing and transformation which we can tap into in times of strife and need. I envisaged the bundle in the three previous Medicine Bundle pieces as consisting of a bundle of notes from which the performer(s) can freely bring their own sensitivities, experiences and responses to the work’s realisation. Unlike my other medicine bundle pieces however, this Medicine Bundle does not allow for different realisations of the score – instead, the focus is on the different voices “speaking together” in a common tongue.
‘Medicine Bundle’ was first performed in a version for solo piano by Ross Carey at the Dunedin Composers’ Group concert in August 2005.