Singing and playing instruments as a form of technology

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With a few days’ distance to sonADA 2015 | Theme: MESS (http://sonada.org/sonADA2015/), I have the opportunity to sit down and share som of my thoughts.

The festival invitation said “If music is organized sound, composing really starts by identifying chaotic elements. sonADA invites and challenges artists to showcase mess of their own.”, and I made two contributions. On the opening night of the festival, at the 17 Art Gallery in Aberdeen, Scotland, (https://www.list.co.uk/place/52799-seventeen/) I took part in a panel discussion as one out of three female composers/performers. With lively input from the audience, we talked about our backgrounds, but also if and how embodiment, and the aspect of gender/femininity, has impact on our creative and scientific work. My own contribution did, as always, start with some live singing. A little microtonality, and asymmetrical beats here and there sure wake up most audiences! It is a fine and thought provoking experience that when travelling abroad with the music that is closest and most intuitive to you, like a “nonsense song” or a lullaby you learned as a small child, musicians with decades of formal music education could make comments like “that must be difficult!” Yes, it is, and no, it’s not!

My talk was mainly on how singing and playing instruments are not only something you do in your spare time, but how the performative act of making live acoustic music is actually a form of technology in itself. Lots of discussions circled around what could be said to be a musical piece, regarding tradition. A very good question – please fell free to make comments here! (in any language, as always!)

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 14.08.35

The second contribution was giving a performance together with my English Aberdeen colleague Nathan Bissette (http://www.serg-aberdeen.net). We have worked together for years, around performing and composing traditional, as well as classical and electronic music. We were invited as two separate composers, but chose to collaborate on a longer piece, made for this special occasion. It was a nice crowd, and we were prepared with our two chairs, the floor, a scarf, a computer, a guitar and two voices. The reception was very good, and people were singing along – as we encouraged them to, despite that this was not the typical folk audience that are used to that.

I left the festival with many good impressions, and an increased courage and interest in continuing to work for highlighting the multi-dimensional skills it takes being a traditional musician!

Tack för er stund!!

Kristin, PhD student at Elphinstone Institute (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone/)

(http://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/profiles/r01keb12)

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