Umoja (for Woodwind Quintet)

for Wind Quintet

Valerie Coleman

Duration: 2'
Instrumentation:fl, ob, cl, hn, bn

Score and Parts


Umoja is the Swahili word for “unity” and is the first day in seven in the African-American celebration of Kwanzaa. The original composition calls for unity through the tradition of call and response and was first meant to be a simple family sing-along song for Kwanzaa. As it was added to the wind quintet repertoire of Imani Winds, a woodwind quintet that was created and founded by Coleman, and it soon became a signature piece of the ensemble. The melody is mainly a French horn solo with supporting rhythms from the upper winds and a constant motor played by the bassoon. Even though the meter is in 3/4 time, the melody and percussive upper wind accompaniment is mostly phrased in 6/8 when there is syncopation. Most importantly, the entire feel should be in 1. Suggested effects: flutter tongueing and trills within the flute line.