So New- So Old, So Far -So Near -bathing in timelessness
The Seed of the Project
I heard Sori's Janggu playing for the first time in Darmstadt Ferienkurse 2012, and it struck me so incredibly deep...that I knew immediately I had to do something about it. I was so amazed and moved not only by her way for playing, but also by the fact that, ancient Korean Shaman music sounds extremely contemporary to my ear- the irregular rhythms, the raw energy, the complexity, etc. In fact, the raw energy of it reminds me very much of the percussion music of Iannis Xenakis.
This raised the philosophical question about the lables " contemporary music" and " traditional music." In fact, a lot of " traditional" music in for example Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Java, incorporates all kinds of "contemporary" elements I can think of. It is also very interesting to me, that such complex music was passed down by oral tradition- an embodied way for passing down a deep knowledge.
The dilemma of the performance practice of contemporary music is the separation of the body and the loss of instinct. A lot of it becomes too cerebral, too much in the head. When one is too much in the head, he or she does not breathe properly. And for sure, when one stops breathing properly according to the music, a lot of spirit of the music is not fully transmitted. And how the heaven do we expect the audience to love the music when the performer does not trust his or her instinct and express the music comfortably through his or her unique body/soul?
Many emphasize the mathematical and aspect of Xenakis' percussion music, which is of course important. I am not a mathematician nor architect, so the way I try to understand Xenakis' composition is to feel the mathematical and architectural aspect through my body, while reading, playing, and singing it. I also do sit down and analyze like a detective trying to figure out what is beyond, but I may never find out what mathematical formulas he used. One of the things I found out was that he must have liked savageness and very persistent dynamics, and he must have been an intuitive composer too.
It is my blessing have found this beautiful and spiritual musician Sori Choi, who is very much an inspiration for me. We have visited each other's city ( Seoul and Copenhagen) to find out each other's specialty. The first step for realizing our project is to juxtapose music of Xenakis and Korean Shaman Music in one concert, presenting as a unity.
So much said, it's my strong wish to make this project become true in Denmark in 2014, and we are both very open to realize this project worldwide as well. Please contact me if you do have questions or you are interested in this unique concert which we would like to offer you.
05.02. 2014, Copenhagen
©2014 Ying-Hsueh Chen. All rights reserved