“Crossroads” is a piece for solo percussionist who both sings and plays pandeiro (Brazilian tambourine). The piece is an homage to the Afro-Brazilian orixá (saint) Exú, who is an intermediary between the mortal and spirit worlds.
The text of “Crossroads” is a resetting of parts of two traditional Portuguese chants/sayings about Exú:
Exú da meia-noite, Exú da madrugada
Uma banda sêm ExúExu não se pode fazer nada.
Sem Exú, nada se fáz.
Exú of midnight, Exú of dawn
A band without Exú can’t do anything.
Without Exú, nothing gets done.
Crossroads was commissioned by and is dedicated to percussionist Alex Smith.