Stories Retold


Stories Retold served as Michael’s M.M. recital at Northern Illinois University. It was an hour long performance consisting of six pieces, which can be seen below. The idea for Stories Retold was based on the idea that each of the pieces/songs had been taken out of their original context and retold from the various perspectives.


by Glenn Kotche

Monkey Chant is a drum set solo based on Balinese Kecak. For more information on Kecak, check out Michael’s research on Balinese Kecak Ramayana

by Toto

Arranged for Steel Pan and GuZheng (Chinese Zither) by Michael McSweeney and Qi Yu, this arrangement puts Toto’s classic song in a setting not only unique for the song but also for the instruments being used, highlighting the unique abilities of each instrument.

by Hiraeth Quartet

Hiraeth Quartet was a world fusion quartet consisting of percussionist Michael McSweeney, GuZheng player Qi Yu, flamenco guitarist Andrea Salcedo, and Chinese flautist Jiaqi Li. Loulan is one of their original songs based on the mystery of the body of an unknown woman found at what is believed to be the site of the Loulan Kingdom, an ancient kingdom that acted as an oasis along the Silk Road.

by Anika Nilles

Synergy is an original song written by drummer Anika Nilles that weaves through various time signatures, many of which I realized worked really well for joropo maracas, so I decided to arrange a joropo-style maraca part to lay on top of the original recording.

by Sami El-Quqa

While working in Medellín, Colombia, I lived and worked with Sami, a student at Berklee University, who wrote Waves as a student. We had a few opportunities to work it out with a few musicians at La Casa de la Cultura La Barquereña in Sabaneta where we were working which inspired me to try putting it together in a modernized Afro-Cuban context.

arr. by Salsa del Norte

Having just been founded in the August prior, Salsa del Norte performed their arrangement of jazz standard St. James’ Infirmary, one of their first original arrangements.