Last week Kustaa Saski‘s exhibition of tapestries opened in a new location run by the locally-known architect Siu Siu (Cha Cha). It was comissioned by June (pictured on top, with me, amidst three tapestries) about 5 years ago, after he exhibited in Taiwan through curator Frank, of Doublegrass. I remember we met Kustaa at several occasions here in Taiwan and also in Amsterdam, and it seems ages ago. June/Canjune, Frank and Kustaa persisted during these troubling times, and now the moment is there to enjoy the fruits of this long gestation. And I can only see it is absolutely formidable.
Tapestry by Kustaa Saksi for the myth of Sinbad
There were too many highlights during the opening, really, but I mention a few. Sanxia hosts many temples, tea houses, retreat centres, etc., and has its own magic atmosphere. Approaching the former minesite, and stepping into the actual buildings, now called Mineless, is a journey in itself. The design is an unbeatable combination of industrial, functional architecture repurposed very skilfully, to get the best out of the combination of trees and plants overgrowing the buildings and the interiors.
The short documentary film about what drives Kustaa is very moving, and shown near the entrance. You walk in and out of buildings, up and down stairs to see all the rooms – I guess I haven’t seen it all yet. June gave a moving poetic talk – two, in fact – based on Japanese stories. There was a fire performance which will still be performed over the next few weeks, and there was music played on a collection of wood fish, including some really huge ones, made of unlacquered, plain wood. I had a chance to add some last notes in a space with booming low resonances, and those high notes too, of course (you know me).
Yours truly illustrating June’s beautiful story of old age and flowing water
Raymond opening a book of secrets
Say hello to The Artist
Go check it out, there are many performances and I think it is all free! More info and review in Chinese here.
肯園 25 週年紀念展覽Ｘ芬蘭當代藝術家古斯塔‧薩克希
CANJUNE 25th Anniversary Exhibition X KUSTAA SAKSI
Talking about Expos, there was more happening, and still going on. Some of my oldest friends here in Taiwan, Aichin Rao and Iming Mavaliw, have a joint-solo-exhibition in the Kuandu Arts Museum. They used to work in Dulan (recently adopting its more correct, indigenous name Atolan, which sounds so much better), and live in Jrben, Taidong. Away from the humdrum of Taiwan’s metropoles, where they are quietly but surely working on an oeuvre that is really impressive.
Iming’s work is part furniture that is almost (neo)classic in style, in the sense that you see it all over Taiwan: huge slabs of wood for marvelous tables and benches, smaller pieces turned into chairs, stools, etc. But the surprise was the original art works, and most of all the more unpolished pieces.
Aichin’s work consists of paintings, some sort of shelters, and mosaics, the latter of which you can encounter in larger-than-life-size on the East Coast of Taiwan as land-art, more and more often (we bumped into her two years ago, finishing her wall for the old train station in Taidong city).
Like some of my best artist-friends, Aichin never talks about her work, and I only learnt of the exhibition after running into Aichin. Another nearly accidental visitor, just like myself, was Scott Ezell, a somewhat elusive figure whom Aichin had often told me about. He used to live in Dulan and make music there shortly before I first set foot there, in 2004, but was expelled from the country. After many years, he turned up again and now we made the acquaintance. We exchanged our books: after some 15 years he published the account of his experiences in Atolan around the turn of the millenium. And I have to say it is a thoroughly enjoyable, poetic read, featuring Aichin, Yiming and many others of the burgeoning artist community, before Atolan became a hotspot for some sort of ethnic chic. Scott played some guitar, with flageolettes. A sure way to let me prick up my ears and introduce myself.
If you live in Taipei, go see both exhibitions while you can!
Scott Ezell playing guitar harmonics at Kuandu Museum of Arts.
Scott’s book about Atolan (Dulan) around the year 2000.
Sunday May 24 at Canjune’s Training Center in the Daan area, Taipei, from 10-12: an introduction to next year’s RESONANCE course. With information about the course, some exercises and a small concert by Mark to round it up.
Canjune Training Centre, 4th Floor, number 3 , Lane 151, Fuxing South Road, Section 2, (this is about 20 meters from the corner of FuXing South Road, go up the stairs to the hairdresser and take the elevator to 4F; if you’re early the streetdoor may be closed). Nearest MRT: Technology Building (10 min. walk). Phone 09 – 10 38 27 49.
A gong resounds on the groundfloor of a spa. Through the mezzanine situated at the spa’s glass façade, its sound waves travel to the basement, where a voice answers the gong. A multi-level dialogue begins, in more than one sense of the word. Instruments and voices, audience and performers mingle in a unique sound-space-event that tests the limits of music, mind & body.
Festival Transverbal is dedicated to the memory and legacy of the German multi-medial artist Michael Vetter, who passed away, aged 70, on December 7, 2013. It bridges an ongoing search for sound’s soothing inner secrets with its more expressive post-modern/avant-garde forms.
Expect voices, singing bowls, sheng (mouth organ), a gong, performers moving through the space, an immersive 60-minute sonic surrounding. Talk to or play with the musicians afterwards!
Through this Festival we keep alive the spirit and works of Michael Vetter, who inspired many musicians, artists, and other individuals along his extremely versatile and moving career in Europe and Asia. Michael Vetter had an incredible output of art works (starting at age 5); compositions, LPs/CDs; tours and performances; and educational methods for (experimental) flute, voice and instruments, among many other things. His musical career spanned the period from his late school years (early 1960s) until the months before his death (september 2013), when he worked on pieces by Karlheinz Stockhausen that many musicians have played and performed piecemeal, while none really gave them a try in their entirety. Thus, shortly after his death, Natascha Nikeprelevic, Vetter’s foremost successor, and Stockhausen Verlag worked on the publication ofExpo, one of Stockhausen’s scores with pluses and minuses (+ -) as guiding points. Vetter recorded it with Nikeprelevic and FX Randomiz 8 weeks before he passed away. (The CD appeared in May of this year, listen here).
Michael Vetter’s visit to Taiwan, together with Natascha Nikprelevic, left a great impression on those who had the chance to see/hear them or work with them, during their residency at the Taipei National University of Arts, where Chung Minder from the Theatre Department invited them.
Michael Vetter always straddled the paths outside clear-cut styles, usually combining elements from here and there, and most of all relying on his own experimental genius to create fresh insights and sounds at every moment. His long-time affiliation with zen in Japan and outspoken zen themes in the 1980s aliened him from some of his former avant-garde colleagues, who shied away from (or were not interested in) anything to do with Eastern “spirituality”. However, looking back on his life in its entirety, it is clear that Vetter was dedicated to creative imagination and disciplined, daily musical and artistic rituals, above anything else. For Vetter, the world itself was constantly exploding with creation, unfolding, coming-into-existence, into a myriad forms, colours, sounds. He observed this world with intelligence, humor, commitment and compassion. His love and dedication to the arts and existence (‘Dasein’) as a whole was the starting point for his creative response to them. Or rather, it seemed he was able to let creative forces take their course through him, as a critical, subtle moderator.
Michael Vetter making Indian ink drawings, Academia Caparaia, Italy, 2009
It is in this spirit of capturing the uniqueness of every meeting (between performers, with a certain space and with a certain audience, at a given time) that we want to inaugurate a Festival which we hope to repeat in following years.
We prepared this Transverbal Festival in collaboration with Canjune Spa and Nicole’s Creative agency. It will be held on Sunday, November 16 at Canjune Spa. There are two identical concerts, you can join us either in the afternoon (3 PM) or in the evening (7 PM). The participants are Hans de Back, Lu Chi-Chung and Lee Wei-Lin, Li Li-Chin and Mark van Tongeren, and probably a few more musical assistants.
For more information and tickets, please follow this link to accupass.
Limited number of tickets!
Please also note that there will be a limited number of seats in the space, and limited storage space for your bags. Do not bring your own food/drinks.
We believe this concert will be less suitable for young children.
In April two excellent musicians and friends from Tuva are coming to Taiwan, so that people here can get better acquainted with this fascinating musical culture from the North. Get to know Tuvan music and culture and learn throat singing directly from established, original masters!
be amazed by Tuva’s signature sounds of throat singing
hear the beats of the shaman drum and Jew’s harp
resonate with the buzzing strings of horse-head fiddles and lute
At Wistaria, an atmospheric original Japanese building, you will be seated on tatami mats. The concert is purely acoustic, so you can enjoy the sounds directly with your own ears. An excellent way to get to know the amazing acoustic world that Tuvans have developed over the centuries. Tuva’s auditory culture has become an icon in the last two decades for its remarkable throat singing techniques, which they share with Mongolia. Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay both perform seveal throat singing techniques, which you will be able to hear at close range: the soft, light technique called khöömei, the whistle-like sygyt and the thundering low kargyraa. In Tuva we also find the horse-head fiddle (igil) and erhu-like fiddle (byzaanchy), lutes (doshpuluur, chanzy) and flute (shoor), the Jew’s harp (khomus) and the shaman’s drum (dunggur), among others. Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay master many of these and will play tunes and pieces from different regions and times in Tuva. Songs and pieces will be alternated with stories about and from Tuva and its rich musical folklore. The only public Tuvan concert in a very special intimate setting!
As a donation we suggest 500 NT$ for the perfomance, tea and a snack. Call Wistaria and leave your name and number for a seat: (02)2363-7375 or register here.
Sunday April 12, 10-17 1-day workshop Tuvan throat singing and culture, at Canjune Training Center
Learn to sing khöömei,sygyt and/or kargyraa with Otkun Dostay and Choduraa Tumat. The one-day Throat Singing workshop will have not just one, but two expert throat singers, including a female throat singer. A rare opportunity to learn the three basic Tuvan styles of throat singing: khöömei, sygyt and kargyraa, which tend to be a little softer and therefore easier than the Mongolian counterpart. During the day you will learn about Tuvan music and culture and get plenty of chance to hear throat singing and try it for yourself. With a maximum of 15 students (plus perhaps a few listeners), there is a chance to get personal feedback from Choduraa or Otkun for everyone. About half the time will be devoted to throat singing, the other half to other music and culture of Tuva.
Otkun Dostay teaching khöömei in Venice
We aim at a 50/50 divide of male/female voices. The workshop is held in English/Russian with Chinese translation. Mark will be there to help translate Russian-English, if needed.
This presentation features introductions, videos about the beautiful, unknown land of Tuva, a display of many styles of throat singing and different musical instruments. Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay both perform seveal throat singing techniques: the soft, light technique called khöömei, the whistle-like sygyt and the thundering low kargyraa and other substyles. They will also present a selection of pieces and instruments found in Tuva, such as the horse-head fiddle (igil) and erhu-like fiddle (byzaanchy), lutes (doshpuluur, chanzy) and flute (shoor), the Jew’s harp (khomus) and the shaman’s drum (dunggur). Choduraa Tumat and Otkun Dostay master many of these. Songs and pieces will be alternated with stories about and from Tuva and its rich musical folklore. Afterwards there is a chance to talk to the musicians during the Q&A.
The concert at NCCU is free and open for everyone. Just register here. Without reservation there may still be places when you come, there is no guarantee but there are 300+ seats.
In the late 1980s Dostay was the youngest member of the internationally acclaimed Tuva Ensemble. During the late Soviet era he enrolled a theatre school in Leningrad (now Sint-Petersburg), and was engaged in acting, dancing and storytelling. With fellow students Stanislav Iril and Olaak Ondar he took part in Buddhist ceremonies in Leningrad and founded the group Özüm (‘sprouts’). They recorded their first CD in 1991, published by Window to Europe/Orpheus. Dostay has continued to direct Özüm with changing group members over time. He plays horse-head fiddle, all the Tuvan varieties of Jew’s harp and the shaman’s drum. He organised festivals to commemorate the great throat-singer Gennadi Tumat in his native village Khandagayti. He is currently active as the founder-director of the Tuvan-Japanese friendship Center and works as a correspondent for Tuvan State Radio, under the State TV & Radio Company. He regularly performs in solo, duo and ensemble projects, which he toured in Germany, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Morroco, Japan and China. He has been involved in recording, producing and playing on several CDs of Tuvan music published in Russia, Japan and Europe. In 2013 he published his first solo CD, an exciting mix of traditional songs and melodies with 21st-century sounds.
Born in Western Tuva, as a girl Tumat was fond of listening to khoomei and sygyt throat singing performed by her brothers. She studied traditional music in music college in Tuva and went on to become one of the world’s most active female overtone/throat singers, as well as the founder and artistic leader of the all-female throat-singing folk ensemble Tyva Kyzy (‘Daughters of Tuva’, www.tyvakyzy.com). She is an accomplished performer of all basic throat-singing styles, sings traditional folk songs, and plays various Tuvan string instruments, Jew’s harps and zither. As a performer, she received many titles in Tuva. She is a teacher of traditional music and khöömei throat-singing at the Pedagogical College of Tuvan State University in Tuva’s capitol Kyzyl. With Tyva Kyzy and with solo projects she toured extensivly in the USA, Poland, Russia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Japan. She recorded and released several CDs and DVDs, among which her outstanding solo CD Belek/ The Gift.
1970年生於圖瓦Khandagaity小鎮，為知名喉音演唱與馬頭琴表演者，亦是著名圖瓦民族音樂團體《圖瓦樂團》Tuva Ensemble的一員，於音樂上有卓越的成就，不斷受邀至日本、土耳其及荷蘭等地演出。歐特昆一直以來致力於圖瓦傳統音樂的傳承與創新，舉辦圖瓦喉音國際音樂節《Övur之地—西奇與呼麥》（Sygyt and khoomei in the land of Övur)。他不僅擔任全女子喉音團體《圖瓦的女兒》的經紀人，同時也在電視台製作音樂節目，極力推廣傳統音樂。目前於圖瓦的聯合國教科文組織UNESCO部門擔任主席。
2014 was a great year for the Voice Yoga class. Some old students came back, and many new enthusiastic students joined for a first time, some of them also coming back.
The outline of the formula was the same: start with silence, breath and ‘body-work’ (which is always also mind-work). Then a first exploration of our unused potential to make sound, with simple, and sometimes primitive, raw sounds and movements. Then a structured part with more warming-up of ‘body-speech-mind’ (to use the Buddhist three-fold scheme of the human being), the ‘vowel triad‘ and the ‘ocean exercise’. Depending on the particular dynamic of the day (and the duration of the preceding parts), I add two or three of a large pool of rotating exercises that let us listen, feel and (re)sound in different ways. In the end, I often sing with the sruti-box, and students lie down on the mats in the Canjune Training Center.
Some of the new students of this year got really hooked on our weekly session, saying they missed it a lot when I was travelling, for example. Every student’s input changes the way things turn out, and the recent sessions have become true adventures of body, mind and sound. One time, right after a particularly powerful session of vocal noises, chants, screams, rhythms, I asked each student what (s)he had just experienced. I had decided not to interrupt the sound-making, and it had lasted longer than ever, about 45 minutes without a break. It was amazing to hear their deeply personal, moving accounts. Every student had gone through powerful experiences. One re-lived her pain from the past by letting the sounds follow the beating of her foot, which felt like a great relief. Another mainly listened, which worried me a little; but she was extremely grateful to what she heard and was crying at some point. A therapist told us she used her lessons from Voice Yoga to help others relief their pain, by adding sounds to the massage treatment and inviting her client to make sounds too. Another could hardly find the words to describe her feelings, but said she felt completely enveloped by the other voices and also merged them, while singing or just listening. One student’s first response, after we had just stopped our sound-making, was: ‘Ahh, this is better than sex!’
I usually try to limit my own talking and do not ask students to talk about their experience either. So I was amazed to learn about their feelings and impressions, and felt encouraged to develop this path further. I thank all those who have attended the Voice Yoga class in the last two years, whether it is one or ten or twenty times, for their courage, their input, their creativity. This class is so interesting because of you all! And I thank Canjune for the wonderful and inspiring space, which was renovated early 2014.
Want to join? The dates for 2015 you can find here.
In this class we use the voice in its immense richness, not only as a musical instrument, but as our primary tool to communicate and exist through/with/for/from sound. In Voice Yoga, sound, silence and resonance become a mirror for the self. The sounds produced by ourselves, allows us to ‘see’ ourselves more clearly, to hear what’s living deep inside us. In ever-growing cycles of creating and perceiving we learn about music and sound, about ourselves and about the environment. A ‘quintessence of science, sound and self’ as I called it in my book Overtone Singing.
DATES AND TIME FOR 2014
EVERY THURSDAY, 10-12 AM
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JANUARY,9/ 16/ 23/ 28
FEBRUARY,13/ 20/ 27
MARCH,6/ 13/ 27
APRIL,3/ 10/ 17/ 24
MAY,1/ 8/ 15/ 22/ 29
JUNE,5/ 12/ 19
SEPTEMBER,4/ 11/ 18/ 25
OCTOBER,2/ 9/ 16/ 23/ 30
NOVEMBER,6/ 13/ 27 [no class on November 20]
DECEMBER,4/ 11/ 18/ 25
Canjune Training Centre, 4th Floor, number 3 , Lane 151, Fuxing South Road, Section 2, (this is about 20 meters from the corner of FuXing South Road, go up the stairs to the hairdresser and take the elevator to 4F; if you’re early the streetdoor may be closed). Nearest MRT: Technology Building (10 min. walk). Telephone training centre: 02 – 27 00 72 91.
Please notify us of your intention to join the class, by sending a text-message (SMS) with your name to 09-10 38 27 49.
For those unfamiliar with Voice Yoga, the information about Voice of Dao posted earlier still stands.