As one of the few students from Alaska here at American University, I feel a strong responsibility to educate my peers about the history and culture of my state. Lesson number 1: October 18th is Alaska Day – yes it is a legal holiday that state employees get paid leave for.

On this day in 1867 the transfer from Russian to American ownership took place. This official ceremony was actually held in the town I come from, Sitka, which at the time was the capital of Russia-javascript:;American. Right now in my little fishing village schools are letting out early for a big parade and reenactment of the transfer. Yes, it’s a bigger deal than the fourth of July.

If you want to hear some Alaskan-inspired music check out these CDs:

CD 106: Earth and the Great Weather, A Sonic Geography of the Artic

This compilation of pieces by John Luther Adams is described as a “convergence of sound and poetry.” Inspired by the Artic landscape and the languages of Natives there Adams uses natural sounds, drum rhythms and spoken text to recreate a picture of the Artic through music.

CD 3039: In the White Silence

This composition, again by John Luther Adams, is an example of his concept of “sonic geography,” a concept he uses to try to understand “music as place and place as music.”  Written for celesta, harp, orchestra bells, 2 vibraphones and strings “In the White Silence” musically depicts the “treeless, windswept expanses of the Artic.”