Soul of Remembrance is the second movement of Mary D. Watkins’ Five Movements in Color for full orchestra.
Five Movements in Color is about the African-American experience. The first movement is about the Africans being captured, brought to America, and forced into slavery. Soul of Remembrance, is the collective moan of a profound grief felt by the newly-arrived Africans, who found themselves in a strange land, dealing with the loss of the only life they had known and leaving behind the comforts of family and friends.
A melody floats over a march in Soul of Remembrance. I saw my own people in their long march to express themselves as fully human. In spite of the trauma of enslavement, dehumanization, degradation, and oppression, they carried the ancestral wisdom and spiritual knowledge deep within their souls. Soul of Remembrance is my tribute to the way my ancestors found calm in the eye of the storm and held onto hope by remembering that deep knowledge of the soul.
[Program note by the composer]