Waywords and Meansigns


Waywords and Meansigns logo, designed by Robert Berry. 

Waywords and Meansigns is an international project setting James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake to music.

Through unabridged musical interpretation and adaptation, Waywords and Meansigns explores the parallax range and depth inherent to Joyce’s great “Here Comes Everybody” text.

Joyce scholar Finn Fordham describes the music of Waywords and Meansigns as “rich and various, surprising, amusing, weird. Different musicians frame different readings, and their different styles offer a series of unexpected transformations of this endlessly transformative text.”

With an additional goal of rendering the Wake more accessible to newcomers, all audio from the project is distributed freely online via Creative Commons licensing.

Contributors involved in the project include Grammy award-winning producer David Kahne, punk rock icon Mike Watt, Joyce performer Adam Harvey, author Brian Hall, Joyce translator Krzysztof Bartnicki, painter Robert Amos, composer Mary Lorson, and many more.

Project director Derek Pyle will be in residence at Diasporic Joyce in 2017, where conference attendees can experience Waywords and Meansigns through an on-site audio-based installation. There will also be opportunities for attendees to contribute their own voices to the project, through recorded reading sessions.

For more information about Waywords and Meansigns, visit the project’s website.

Below is a sample of Waywords and Meansigns from their 2016 release.