The Coral Suite, a musical event nurtured by violinist Dana Lyn and and guitarist Kyle Sanna, blended a worldwide concern for the protection of critically threatened and biodiverse coral reef ecosystems with a medley of traditional Irish melodies. The duo effectively mirrored the life cycles and common threats associated with the widespread destruction of coral reefs through a series of reels, jigs, and improvisations, which elicited from audience members the raw emotional reactions of endearment, desperation, and terror.
Observers wore gentle smiles as a projector showed fertilized coral eggs floated on ocean currents (“Dear Irish Boy”), their adoration for the promise of new life influenced by Lyn’s soft and purposeful strokes of strings and expanded tenfold by the beautiful togetherness of the violin and guitar: a harmonious pairing that resembled the stunning union of coral eggs and seabed. Projected images and videos of clownfish (“Silver Slipper”), sea snakes (“Aqualude”), and parrotfish (“Bunch of Keys”), who work relentlessly to maintain their aquatic homes, aided Lyn and Sanna in their mission to inform their observers that coral reef ecosystems house the most colorful and glorious species on Earth, and that with their decay and death, the same perilous fate awaits their inhabitants.
Spectators could not restrain their gasps of abject shock and dread as a violent storm was shown decimating coral structures exposed by retreating tides (“Toss the Feathers”). This communal sense of urgency was brought about as Lyn and Sanna joined the playing of their instruments in sharp and simultaneous notes: a creative decision that produced a sound both sour and compelling. The musicians’ use of an Irish reel primarily composed of sharp and desperate notes produced a highly purposeful metaphor: one which compared the destruction of an inevitable storm with that of human-orchestrated violence against coral reef ecosystems. Lyn and Sanna’s musical metaphor, then, intended to rouse us out of our complacency with the mindless human annihilation of coral reef ecosystems and encourage us to adopt a universal commitment to providing protection to these beautiful and biodiverse landscapes.
“Through the music and art from ‘The Coral Suite,’ we hope to celebrate the reefs’ extraordinary biodiversity, while calling attention to the urgent need for their protection,” said Lyn and Sanna in the event pamphlet.
Through masterfully composed Irish pieces, the musicians of The Coral Suite successfully crafted a musical environment that was emotionally complex for its attendees, who were given a space both to bask in the glorious wonders of the coral reef ecosystems and to recognize the augmenting need to mobilize a widespread effort to protect their various structures and affiliated species. The Coral Suite contained music and artwork that was both wildly entertaining and intellectually challenging, but could be enjoyed by all audiences.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Staff