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Another poem, "Like This It Is We Think to Dance," was streamlined to accommodate the music and renamed "Hips to Hips." The poem "had a lot of extended imagery and [was] much too lush, much too crowded for what a song could possibly do," R¡os says. "So really, the process there was more like taking it and cutting it up and down and in place of the extended imagery . . . he gave the piece music."
Since his first collaborations with Broza, R¡os has also hooked up with James DeMars, a classical composer and ASU colleague. The cantata they created was performed last year at Carnegie Hall in New York.
His poetry has been published in its original form, R¡os says, thus he doesn't worry that he's compromising his work by altering it to fit with music. "The poem is mine. That I don't give up," he says. "But what we do with it later, that becomes a different beast. And part of that beast is the music and part of that beast is the words."
Broza will perform the latest Broza-R¡os beast, "Driving With the Car Top Down," this Sunday at Gammage Auditorium. The poem-song is "kind of an Arizona thing," Broza says. The song will appear on his forthcoming album, along with a remake of "Chile¤o Boys." The collaborations will continue, both say. R¡os never dreamed he'd be called a songwriter, but upon reflection, he says it's not such a dramatic departure. For years he's told his students, "There's got to be music in your work.