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Dan Berggren releases new CD, 'Tongues in Trees'

Dan Berggren

Dan Berggren Photo by Andy Flynn.

— “I just happened to come upon that poem and decided, ‘You know, I ought to just put a tune to it, even though it’s short,’” he said, “which I did the same day and recorded it the same day.”

Another track on the album that takes me back to the classroom is “Where is My Father,” a soundpoem of memories and voices — including recordings of his parents, Dorothy and Walter Berggren, and the sound of the wind blowing through the pine trees his mother planted with her father, Harry Wilson, on the homestead in Olmstedville in the 1920s.

My question was, “What are you trying to say with this soundpoem?”

“Life and death are different sides of the same coin,” Dan said. “There is no life without death, and there is no death without life. So altogether, it’s one big mystery that we’re all trying to make our way through and enjoy as much as we can and help other people as much as we can. So when a person goes out of your life, you know the physicality of it ... And you don’t have to believe in different religious things, heaven or hell or an afterlife or not. Whether you believe that or not, it’s the stories that someone tells and the stories that you tell about them that keeps that person alive in your mind and your memory.”

The title, “Tongues in Trees,” comes from the comedy “As You Like It,” by William Shakespeare:

"And this our life, exempt from public haunt,

Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,

Sermons in stones, and good in everything."

I was looking for something critical when writing this review, as I rationalized that a negative thought or two could somehow balance my subjectivity. Then I thought, what if Dan never speaks to me again?

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