This Big Moroccan Sea

from The Times, June 1, 2006


“The situation in the boat is so painful. I believe there’s no way out of this. To those who find me, I would like to send my family in Bassada this sum of money. Forgive me and goodbye. This is the end of my life in this big Moroccan sea.”

This is the note believed to have been written by 29 year old Diao Souncar Diémé from the western Senegalese town of Bassada.

I found the story of the Barbados ‘death boat’ very moving. Of course I knew of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of undocumented migrants that continue to lose their lives in the oceans and deserts of the world en route to ‘promised lands’. But this note of resignation penned in the last moments of this young man’s life put a human face on the tragedy.

In this music the words of the letter are delivered simply by a solo voice and commented on by the rest of the choir. As the words cease the music subsides into a wordless evocation of the expanse of sea and sky, or perhaps of eternity.

Please contact me for more information, or to arrange a performance of this work by your choir.

Christopher Marshall


“…immensity and intimacy,…. a unique and moving experience.”


SATB choir, with divisions and tenor and soprano solos






San Francisco Choral Artists, Director, Magen Solomon

Performance History:

Four performances by SFCA in San Francisco and the Bay Area from March 14-21, 2010.
Four more performances by the choir also in the Bay Area from May 7-15, 2011.
Featured in the SFCA presentation at the Chorus America National Conference, 2011.