Malala, a new choral work for womens choir, commissioned by the Cornell University Chorus, is inspired by the extraordinary Malala Yousafzai, (born 12 July 1997). Malala is the young Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. At the time of the premiere of this work at Cornell University, she was 18 years old. Malala is known mainly for her human rights advocacy for education for women in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan. At the time, many girls' schools were being destroyed by militants in the Swat Valley. Malala was shot by the Taliban in 2012
in retaliation for her advocacy, After she was shot, Yousafzai was rushed to the United Kingdom for medical treatment. Following her recovery, she and her family resettled in Birmingham, England,
where Yousafzai now lives and studies in a private girls’ school.Yousafzai's advocacy has since grown into an international movement.
This work weaves several of Malala's words spoken in public along with the inspirational vowel sounds of her name.
For the Conductor and Choir:
Straight tone is preferable throughout the piece. The opening Ma-La! should be slurred in unison from low D to high D. The fermata on the first beat indicates a hold, then slide up to the high D joyfully. Beat 4 of measure one should be the beginning of the tempo of the piece.
In addition to the rhythmic motif of Malala's name, I have interspersed a percussive sound that can be achieved by slapping an open right hand over the heart on the beats that are described with an X. Hopefully, this will not only be an interesting sound but also a choreographic element added into the work. The choir should feel free to add percussive sounds by slapping the thigh and/or stomping the foot on rests that appear in various parts at various times.
The last measure of the piece: on beat 1rest , stomp with left foot, beats 2 and 3 should be Firmly Spoken while pounding chest with right hand. Above all, the piece should be sung with joyous determination.