CHARLIE McCARRON lives and works as a freelance composer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His orchestral works often involve intricately woven melodies and rhythms, with the aim of giving each instrument a unique and fun role to play. As a musical storyteller and sonic experimenter, he has released a 3-disc concept album. From 2013 to 2017, he produced the podcast, Composer Quest, in which he challenged podcast listeners from around the world to complete composing “quests” and over 400 new pieces of music were written as a result. To foster community and commission new music, he co-created MNKINO Film Score Fest, an annual collaboration between filmmakers and composers.

CHARLIE McCARRON

Composer-Fellow 

Top 10

Balitúk: The Divided Child

PROGRAM NOTES

“Balitúk: The Divided Child” is inspired by the Ifugao tale of the sky goddess Búgan and her husband Kinggauan, a poor hunter from Earth. When Búgan is forced by the Earth people to leave Kinggauan and return to her sky world, she divides their son Balitúk in two. However, Kinggauan is unable to re-animate his half of Balitúk.

As punishment to the people who drove her away, Búgan transforms Balitúk’s corpse into a number of cursed objects. From his ribs, she makes venomous snakes. From his head, an owl. From his hair, maggots. From his arm, she makes rotten tree branches that fall on the people below.

Like Balitúk himself, the composition is divided into heavenly and vile. The journey begins peacefully; the piano’s first entrance signals the birth of Balitúk and the tragedy which is about to unfold. Although gruesome and fantastical, the story of Búgan and Kinggauan is one that many of us can relate to. Some relationships are destined to end because of a physical or emotional distance, and the result is often ugly. The challenge for us is to find beauty in the chaotic aftermath. In the end, Búgan did not just unfurl pestilence and adversity; out of Balitúk’s heart, she created a rainbow.