Yesterday #koraleriet – A PROJECT ON FEMALE VOICES. ANCIENT PROTESTANT AND CATHOLIC LOCAL HYMNS. MONODIC AND POLYPHONIC – met to sing and to record a few songs in Kallinge kyrka. We were only four singers instead of nine, and that invited us to play around with new sounds for a while.
Apart from preparing for our big recording session that will take place in April, we ended up singing songs only from Kristin’s relatives. The fact that these songs are now passed on and spread to singers and listeners very far away from what we refer to as the original setting (even though all similar settings are equally original in the eyes of tradition) made me eager to make a short film of one of the songs, a funeral hymn after my great grandfather Back Erk Daniel Ersson. This to show the very people that have been crucial in keeping this singing style and this particular song alive, and NOT stored in some archive someplace.
When performing traditional music nowadays, it is often the performers that get the appreciation, while the sources remain anonymised. This little video is an attempt to turn this around, to rather show the great mutual confidence and strong personal connections that are the foundation for any strong tradition. From the old wooden cabin in the late 1800s, until today. A quite exotic approach in a capitalist post modern world where we are believed to construct our identity through picking and mixing any impulse we may like along the way, and to earn admiration as if we invented it ourselves.
From men to women, from strictly religious to a (for some of our singers) semi-secular approach, from vertical transmission through six generations in Dalarna, to horisontal transmission among friends and colleagues in Blekinge 2016!
After all, you do share your best songs and advice only with the ones you love!!
The hashtag #libertéegalitétonalité will from now on be used for posts here and other social media, for posts related to Kristin Borghed’s PhD project at the University of Aberdeen. The project is called Tuning the Human Voice: An Empirical Exploration of Tonality in Northern Traditional Singing. Feel free to scroll down this page for a short info film.
This PhD project on singing traditions in northern Europe, is in close cooperation with Folk Practice Academy, in fact, the work is inseparably intertwined.
This is a picture of me, my mother Elisabeth Bjurström Jonzon, Malungsfors, Sweden and my aunt Anna Hedin, Malungsfors, Sweden. They are the two singers that have had the greatest impact on me in terms of songs, singing style, story telling, general life advice, as well as together with other relatives always helping my family when I have been away singing, recording and writing.
For more info of the project, please read here!! http://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/profiles/r01keb12
A few pictures from recent rehearsals with #koraleriet
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)
Everything taught by heart, including incredibly tricky monodic and polyphonic microtonal music. No music sheets handed out. Ever.
Even if a 200 year hymn book often is smaller than a contemporary phone, it still lasts a hundred times longer. How about that for sustainability and transcendence?!!
Soon we are off to start our performances!!
Kristin & Astrid
This weekend yet another practice with the women singing ancient local religious psalms, songs and hymns is taking place. The choir is newborn, and the ladies, handpicked and of all ages and places in Blekinge.
All needed on a long train ride is some påskmust and a twohundred year old hymn book!! We are looking forward to see where our group’s ideas might take us! Next time we’re on stage!!
Back later with films and pictures!
Kristin & Astrid
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!)
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/)