Poetry Set to Music
Yata is a singer, guitarist and prolific songwriter from Pepin County, Wisconsin. Yata has recorded seven CD’s of original music and appeared on concert stages with Garrison Keillor and folk giants Tom Paxton, Claudia Schmidt and John Hammond, Jr.
He has developed a new program for theaters, college and high school classrooms and libraries called “Poetry Set to Music” with original songs based upon the lyrical poetry of Yeats, Blake, Burns, Browning, Housman, eecummings, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Steven, Lao Tzu and many others.
In 2004, Yata became known for his skill in setting poetry to music with the release of the twelve song CD entitled Yata Sings Yeats, Mad as the Mist and Snow, his musical homage to the poet, William Butler Yeats.
“Mad as the Mist and Snow carries us with a quavering grace of which Yeats would be proud. This is a CD of distilled colors, tones and refined liqueurs with the old-fashioned sweetness and bitterness of old Irish theatre or blind, Breton troubadours. Yata has given us a musical opus of gorgeously loving art.” Free Verse
“Yata’s music pulls Yeats off the page and brings him alive for students. My students felt the heart and soul of Yeats through Yata’s songs. They left the performance with an enhanced appreciation not only for Yeats but also for poetry as expressed in music.” Professor Jenny Shaddock PhD, University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
“My World Literature students were introduced to the poetry of Yeats through Yata’s music. Yata brings the poems to life with these beautiful sometimes haunting melodies. The songs give the students a better sense of each poem’s mood, tone and imagery. The music pulls the students into each poem, holds their attention, and lets them better appreciate, understand, and enjoy the works of Yeats. “Mad as the Mist and Snow” is an integral part of my World Literature curriculum, and I continue to recommend Yata’s music to my teaching colleagues, for use in the classroom and their own enjoyment.” Alison Gray, English/Journalism Teacher, Sierra Vista High School, Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The poetry seemed like it was meant for the music (and vice versa); they simply flowed so well together. Your performance made the literature more approachable for us as students – it brought it to life! I am pursuing a degree in English Education and I couldn’t help but think how if I were to teach Yeats’ poetry, I would love to complement the lesson with your music.” Julie, student, UW-Eau Claire.
“I think putting Yeats to music does something that is lacking in lit. education. Take the poem away from the academic, critical viewfinder imposed by class, and bring it to where it should be – an art form explored artistically.” Student, UW-Eau Claire.
A review after a concert of lyrical poetry songs …
“Superbly crafted show … diverse cultural influences … truly a Renaissance man.” Gary Schuster, Executive Director, Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts, Menomonie, WI.
Yata has performed seven
CD release parties at the Mable Tainter Center for
beginning in 1989.
delivers a delightful performance by captivating the audience with a
variety of music and vocals. Library patrons found the program "Poetry
Set to Music" to be refreshing and referred to it several times during
the days following the event. Yata left a strong impression of his
musical gifts, his humor and his love of poetry. This program is highly
And a review of a house concert on “poetry set to music” …
“When Yata sets a poem to music, he
participates fully in
the finest bardic tradition. His musical cart gracefully
the weight and beauty of
POETRY SET TO MUSIC
William Butler Yeats:
Lake Isle of Innisfree, Mad as the Mist and Snow, Those Dancing Days are Gone, Four Ages of Man, I am of Ireland, Her Anxiety, High Talk, Old Friends, When You are Old.
Robert Burns: Red, Red Rose.
William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience Introduction (The Piper), Poison Tree.
Robert Browning: Summum Bonum.
Emily Dickinson: Apparently with No Surprise.
AE Housman: When I was One and Twenty, Loveliest of Trees.
eecummings: I Thank You God For Most.
Robert Frost: Road Not Taken, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, Fire and Ice, Nothing Gold Can Stay.
Wallace Stevens: The Man with a Blue Guitar.
William Carlos Williams: This is Just to Say, The Act and River Rhyme II, Clock of the Years.
Lao Tzu: #6 Valley Spirit, #53 Sidetracked.
Psalm’s: 23, 46, 61, 116, 130, 139.
And more …
Song samples are available on this website under “Discography”
On “Spirit of the Raven” CD hear:
Valley Spirit (Lao Tzu and Isaiah)
The Man with a Blue Guitar (Wallace Stevens)
Sidetracked (Lao Tzu)
On “Yata Sings Yeats: Mad as the Mist and Snow” CD hear:
Mad as the Mist and Snow
Those Dancing Days Are Gone
I am of Ireland
Lake Isle of Innisfree
On “Mississippi River Blues” CD hear:
Red, Red Rose (Robert Burns)
|Program and Performance