Dao Zsi – Choral Version

Inside Desire by Nina Soyfer small 4A song about good wishes, relaxed enjoyment of music, and happiness.

English translation of lyrics:
“Those who always carry goodness, welcome joy at every instance;
For anyone, Eternal Love can only be found by unconditional acceptance.
If you are really looking for success, make sure the desire comes from deep inside subconsciously.
Success to everyone always – when will it be?”

Dao Zsi: aka Inside Desire
by Nina Soyfer
Jubilate Singers
Conductor Isabel Bernaus

Filmed by Rick Harper
Great Northern Productions

Produced by Jubilate Singers
Conducted and Interpreted by
Isabel Bernaus

Music by Dr. Nina Soyfer
Piano – Sherry Squires
Percussion Paul Therrien,
Dr. Gilbert Verghese
Ubuntu Percussion
Solo Group:
Carol Chin
Judith Hayes
Kathryn Humphrey
Pat Keating
Contralto: Nina Soyfer
Choreography and Dance:
Nina Soyfer
Special Thanks to All
African Connection
March 4, 2017, Toronto
Dao Zsi Description:

Dao Zsi is a choral piece, which features African inspired percussion and dance, as well as Nina Soyfer’s original language. The title translates into Inside Desire, and the song overall is wishing people happiness.
In the summer of 2007 Nina composed (or rather improvised) Dao Zsi as an a cappella song, originally in a lower key (A minor), while envisioning her original language. The alphabet, grammar, and vocabulary of this language were organized and notated in the same time period, and represent a continuous process of discovery. Dao Zsi is just one of the songs Nina has created in this language. All of them share a similar music quality and folk feel. Each word in Dao Zsi has a specific meaning and is connected to the other words of the song in sentence-like structures. The lyrics of the song are a complete poetic unit that contains a philosophical message or meaning, and therefore English literal and approximate transliterations are provided. The original cursive of the language has been notated and is also provided here. Transliteration into Latin alphabet has been employed in the score to accommodate choral performance.
One interesting feature of the piece musically is the voice-drumming technique, where the composer treats voices as pitched drums with lyrics. Nina says: “When we drum in African culture, we each play our short pattern over and over again, gaining mastery in it every time, and merging with our instrument. For this piece, I employed the voice instrument in place of a drum, and the piece features a short choral-voice-drumming section where each voice repeats a pattern in recurring fashion, and thus the combinations of these patterns are heard as they flow circularly.”
The earlier sections of the piece feature some recitative and rhythmically flexible material, while the latter sections are in strict upbeat timing.
Dr. Nina Soyfer Bio:

Dr. Nina Soyfer is a Ukrainian-Canadian composer, pianist, vocalist, and musicologist, as well as educator, dancer, and visual artist. She recently completed her doctorate in music at York University, as well as her LRCM in piano performance at the RCM.
Dr. Nina Soyfer’s career as composer began in 2003 with her prize-winning piano miniature, Frolicsome Polka, which was published in Suzir’ya Muz magazine and premiered in Ukraine. She has since composed over 100 pieces, mainly written for piano, voice, percussion, guitar, bandura (Ukrainian lute), as well as choir and orchestra. She has also completed West African percussion-inspired arrangements of intercultural folk tunes and collaborative works with composers/writers from Tanzania, America, Russia, and Ukraine. Her involvement in African music, as a professional dancer, singer, drummer, and educator, has been ongoing since about 2006. Her African culture mentors and colleagues include Isaac Akrong, Sani-Abu Mohammed Allen, Amadou Kienou, Modesto Amegago, and Kwasi Dunyo.

Dr. Nina Soyfer is also a prize-winning painter, pianist, and poet, as well as a dancer/choreographer, and developer of the Integrated Arts Method (IAM) for teaching. Her works have been performed and exhibited in Canada and abroad.

This the second time Nina enjoys collaborating with Jubilate Singers.


Bars 1-12 – a feeling of people coming together to sing. 

(Build up the texture from one voice to a group – like a tribe)

Bars 15-22 – a feeling of people coming together to drum.

1(Again building up texture from one to a united whole. We are using voices in places of drums. For example, one drum – soprano starts, and then joining in are the rest – one by one with harmonious blend yet clarity in each part)

When we drum in African culture, we play our short patterns over and over again, gaining mastery in it every time, and merging with our instrument. In your case it is voice, so find a new way to sing your pattern ever time, yet keep it flowing in circular time (end of one pattern is just the beginning of it again).
Have fun and enjoy your voice-drumming. To create the full mood, a few traditional percussion instruments will also join in with the choir (gankogui, shakere, and djembes).
Bars 23-35 – making use of the flow just created, the choir continues with Caribbean-like piano accompaniment, and sings a simple joyful but also philosophical song, which is embedded in the same groove from the previous section. Thus, this section takes musical advantage of the momentum built up in the previous section.

The choir, percussion, and piano come together in the final united sound of the last bar.

Nina (Soyfer)