ON SALE NOW Mark van Tongeren – Overtone singing. Physics and metaphysics of harmonics in East and West
(book + CD for the price of a CD
only US$ 17,50 / € 15,-
( instead of US$ 35,- / € 30,- )
In Overtone Singing, ethnomusicologist and singer Mark van Tongeren provides a fascinating insight into the timeless and universal aspects of sound and vibration. Grounded in a decade-long study of Asian music, he draws upon various fieldwork experiences, interviews with eastern and western musicians, in addition to the work of numerous scholars. He presents a multidisciplinary vision on sound that runs from World and contemporary music to the science of acoustics and perception, to music philosophy and the spiritual dimensions of music. Written in a non-technical style, this book and accompanying audio CD are indispensable guides to musicians, listeners and music specialists seeking a deeper understanding of the nature of the human voice, sound and overtones.
There are some copies left of the second edition and we are now selling them out at half price. Before the 2004 edition becomes a Collector’s Item, you can still get your own book plus the CD anthology included in the book for the price of a mere CD: US$ 17,50 / € 15,- , instead of the normal US$ 35,- / € 30,- ) (paperback).
The special hardcover edition (pictured below with the CD in the back) is on sale for justUS$ 22,50 (normally US$ 50,-) 0r € 20,- (normally 42,50) – more than 50%v discount for a high quality print (paper/binding) that will last another century.
To get your own copy you can direct-order from Fusica. Send an email stating the number of books you want, if you want to order additional items from this page, and your full name and address details. We’ll add the actual postage and send you payment instructions to a bank account in The Netherlands, Taiwan, or using Paypal, Transferwise or Bunq, whichever is convenient for you.
Due to all the uncertainties in Hong Kong, the Soundtherapy Hong Kong team decided it is not a good time to run my regular Hong Kong workshop Outer Voice – Inner Voice. So we cancel the workshop. Here is the original post with announcement and some photos from the workshops 2014-2018.
If you want to learn overtone singing with me but do not need a Chinese translation, then the workshops in Hong Kong may be something for you. Most workshops in Taiwan are with translation, which means we lose some time for interpretation. This November workshop in Hong Kong is the next opportunity to do an English-only workshop, other opportunities in Winter and Spring 2020 will be announced here soon.
I have had such fantastic experiences during the Hong Kong workshops over the past six years and would like to look back through some photos. The first workshop I did was during the Umbrella Revolution in 2014 – though the umbrellas you see in the first photo were not related to the protest. The previous visit (late 2018) was just days after a violent typhoon struck Hong Kong, locking people in their homes with the wind bashing on their windows and rains creeping in through the windowposts. On the beach (last photo) we found the remains of shops that were completely destroyed. In between you will find mostly happier moments shared with students and Jennifer and Jasmine. And at the bottom my ‘Courage!’ statement for the many friends in Hong Kong.
With Jasmine Hui of Soundtherapy Hong Kong at the workshop location, a comix and animation center.
The fantastic Soundtherapy Hong Kong team and me have revamped the annual Outer Voice ~ Inner Voice workshop to make it a bit more accessible and diverse. At the same time old students will find some new themes to progress further in their exploration of overtone singing and the endless possibilities of the colours of the human voice.
The general idea is for starters to come to Part One ~ Outer Voice (day one) and from there to continue with Part Two ~ Inner Voice (day two and three). Old students can directly come to Part Two ~ Inner Voice, if they wish. Within these two blocks there are still six themes to chose from – or you can do them all.
PART I ~ OUTER VOICE
THE RESONATING BODY
DAY 1. SOUND IS MOVEMENT
Session 1. Breath, Prana & Movement
Breath is one process in the totality of prana / life force, and the one that drives our vocal sound too. We slowly build up our vocal practise from the breath and from movements. From relaxation we start a journey to learn new ways of sounding and moving. Familiar, everyday patterns become tools for transformation. Plenty of group chanting and toning, too.
Session 2. Sounds and music to lose and find yourself
We continue our exploration by shaking up things a bit more. Going wild and extreme one moment, contemplating sound and self another. Focus and un-focus. By doing less than we normally do, we notice more. We return to a primary knowledge that sits at the centre of the body-mind-division: sonic phenomenology. Musical games/meditations/dances. Serious fun. Anything is possible, and nothing too!
Projecting vowels into the body
PART II. INNER VOICE
INTO THE HEART OF SOUND
DAY 2. THE HARMONIC UNIVERSE
Session 3. Cosmic Listening
After some energising Voice Yoga we dive into the subtler realms of vowels, resonance and overtones. You take your first steps in The Art of Listening 2.0. Break through your habitual patterns of sounding and hearing. Expand your awareness of voice physiology. Cosmic listening to overtone singing with the sruti box and hear your own harmonics. Getting back to the more vigorous shake-ups of the day before whenever needed.
Session 4. Your Voice, Your Resonance, Your life
Overtone singing is not easy and pursuing mere technique in itself can be a burden. Armed with new understandings and experiences of the hidden dimensions of the human voice, we ask ourselves where we want to go with it. How do you resonate? What makes your voice unique? Love it or hate it? Every voice and every path is different. Pushing our vocal limits, we collectively embrace failure. And return to soothing vibrant sonic meditations.
DAY 3. CREATIVE IMAGINATION as a SOURCE OF LIFE
Session 5. Mantras, Chants and Sound poems
In an age of media technologies we have silenced ourselves and forgotten our ancestors’ songs. Mantras are among the most ancient sound tools around and we can still learn from them. The repetitive vibrations of chants also awake slumbering resonances in our body-mind. Add to that 21st century Sound Poems flavored with overtones and we have a complete palette of tools to revive the lost sonic core of our selves.
Session 6. Paraphony
Paraphony means: there is no such thing as objective sounds. Sound is shaped by your ears, your awareness, your mood … always in flux. In our last session, we throw ourselves into the creative process of making music by and for ourselves and each other. The more we live by our creative impulses—be they noisy and chaotic or contemplative and balanced—the deeper we get to know ourselves and the world around is. Resonating together, we attune ourselves to ever subtler sounds of tones, overtones and elusive acoustic realms. Grasping these phenomena, we manifest our own voice, bring it out in its own unique glory.
PART II ~ Session 3 /4 and 5/6: 23-24 Nov 2019 (Sat – Sun), Time: 10am – 5:30pm
To register Session 3-6 (Part II), you’re required to register for either Session 1 or 2 first. Past students can directly register for Part II without taking Session 1 or 2.
Venue (All Sessions): Sound Therapy Hong Kong
For registration go to the Soundtherapy Hong Kong website here and on Facebook.
Awaken your potential:
– > to listen better
– > to hear and sing the natural overtones in your voice
– > to understand your inner drives better
– > to diversify your voice
After this 3 days workshop, you will go home with a renewed sense of self through a fresh look and ‘a fresh ear’ at your voice. You will have a fuller understanding of its complex vibratory mechanisms, and get many new ideas how these operate at the point where body and mind are merged in a greater whole. You learn techniques to better hear the world around you and inside you. These tools help you to gradually increase your musical/sound awareness, to know what needs to be healed and how to do that.
No previous musical or vocal experience is required. Just bring a healthy dosage of curiosity and willingness to explore. The starting point is your own path as a speaker, as a communicator, as a person who enjoys music. Or simply as a human being. This workshop is beneficial for musicians and artists, for healers and therapists, and for anyone looking for more direction, meaning and depth in their lives.
Improvising theatre director Ho Ying Fung and Wu Wentsui brought me to this fantastic streetperformance in January 2018
Courage, Hong Kong!
It is my sincere wish that Hong Kong remains as much as possible as it isnow:
a relatively free space within the larger Chinese boundaries
a place where Cantonese people with a democratic inclination determine the political, economic, cultural course of their unique region
a peaceful and culturally diverse hotspot where people from around the world live and work together without an over-active state apparatus encroaching upon their lives
My prayers go out to my Hong Kong friends and everyone else suffering from the human violence and psychological pressure. I pray too for the perpretators because it is, in my point of view, them who need to find peace of mind more than anyone else.
The most prolific researcher in the field of overtone singing is a man with many faces. His name is Tran Quang Hai and you can call him (and all options are correct): Vietnamese or French; a professional musician or a professional musicologist; an instrumentalist or a singer; an improviser or a composer; a traditional, a popular or an experimental musician (all three will do); an expert in Vietnamese traditional musics and an astute chronicler of its year-to-year development in the past decades.* Tran Quang Hai has a new book out celebrating his 50 years of music research in many different areas. We recently met in Paris, where he shared some interesting facts about the Vietnamese Jew’s harp (dan moi) I did not know before. On the trip back to Amsterdam I read most of the articles in his book that I had not seen before, so more on that too. Before talking about our meeting, his book and the origin of the word dan moi (Jew’s harp), some historical background. Since Hai is Tran Quang Hai’s first name I will refer to him as Hai.
I learned of Hai’s work on overtone singing in the early 1990s. When I got to know him personally, I was astounded and (I will admit) a bit intimidated by his unbridled energy. He loves to share what he does, and he is in fact overflowing with enthusiasm: for overtone singing, for Vietnamese music, for playing the Jew’s harp and spoons, for ethnomusicology, for his constant travels as a performer and teacher. After my visits I was usually exhilirated (about all the new things I had learned or shared with him) and at the same time exhausted (feeling my life was a mess with no progress at all).
In fact, going to Paris has been almost synonymous with visiting Hai and his lovely wife Bach Yen (whose singing carreer goes way way back). And these visits became almost synonymous with absolutely great Vietnamese food. Bach Yen often spent hours and hours to buy fine ingredients like all kinds of fresh leaves, vegetables, seafood and meat and prepare them the Vietnamese way. We would have excellent diners, drank nice wine, as the couple made an annual ‘pilgrimage’ to different regions in France to stock up on boxes of quality wine to share with friends at home.
After moving to Taiwan, my encounters with Tran Quang Hai were scarce, and visits to both of them even more. In 2019, it has been around ten years since we last met in Paris. So I was delighted to see them again some weeks ago. Tran Quang Hai retired a decade ago from the ethnomusicology department at the Musée de L’Homme in Paris, but has remained an active performer and workshop leader for all these years. Bach Yen is a famous singer of popular songs and entertainment music, as well as a singer of many different genres of traditional music. Together they have given hundreds of concerts in Europe and elsewhere, and they continue to do so. Here is a photo of their appearance in Genoa, Italy, a week or so after I met them.
Late August, when I walked down the platform of Gare de Lyon, Hai and Bach Yen were waiting for me. Once again I was overwhelmed to be in their buzzing, energetic presence. The first thing they did, was to get out their cameras and make many photos together. Then we strolled to their car, and their warm hands and arms embraced my arms. I sometimes think of myself as someone who easily touches people, but this time I thought I am quite distant compared to them. It was really (excusez le mot) touching to stroll down the platform chatting and to be ‘wrapped’ by their tender hands and arms on both sides. Hai told me once about using his hands to heal people and showed me some methods. But it seems the couple just radiates warmth and energy naturally, even without using a special method.
For our Vietnamese food, this time we drove to a place called Pho Bida, pronounced Fo Beeyaa. Pho is the famous Vietnamese noodle soup, but what about Bida? It turns out to be derived from ‘billiard’, as the former location of this restaurant housed a popular billiard room as well. The place is not very spacious but we were early and could chose any seat. By the time we left lots of people waited outside. The food was great and loved by Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese alike: highly recommended! (Pho Bida Vietnam, 36 rue Nationale, 75013 Paris)
Tran Quang Hai’s New Book
When we sat down, Hai gave me his new book, a thick volume with many of his articles and listst of all his achievements, titles, appearances, etc. organized in a single volume. Some articles I have known for a long time. So I particularly enjoyed reading those things I did not know in detail.
First, an article about Vietnamese music and its historical background, very helpful for understanding the relationship to Chinese music and culture. It also covers many of the recent developments in Vietnamese music, making it in effect a kind of encyclopaedic entry into Vietnam and all its music. With this work Hai most clearly follows in the footsteps of his late father Tran Van Khe, also a well-known musician and musicologist.
“Tran Quang Hai. 50 Years of Research in Vietnamese Traditional Music and Overtone Singing.”
Second, an article that accompanied a double CD issued in France in 1997, dedicated to the absolutely fascinating world of mountain tribe musics in Vietnam. There is a dazzling array of types of instruments and ways of playing, and these liner notes give a good overview of this field.
If you are interested in overtone singing and still love printed matter, as I do myself, then this is a good way to get your (physical) hands on several key articles on this technique by Dr. Tran Quang Hai and understand the background of his research. (Note for academic readers: for research purposes it is better to consult online pdfs of the articles in their original format). Available here.
Tran Quang Hai and the Dan Moi
During our lunch I also learned where the common name of the Vietnamese brass Jew’s harp comes from. It is usually referred to as dan moi, which is a Vietnamese word (compare for example dan tranh/đàn tranh, the plucked zither, or the unique one-string zither dan bau/đàn bầu). However, the thin, finely crafted Jew’s harp, probably smaller than any other type of Jew’s harp, originates from the mountain tribes who live close to Yunnan in South China. The Hmong’s native language and culture has little to do with that of the dominant Viet or Kinh ethnic group, who are historically tied to China. When travelling in the mountains in North Vietnam (around Sapa), I encountered the Hmong people who play this instrument and managed to get one made locally by their craftsmen. They referred to it as gya, phonetically speaking, though in writing it is referred to as djam. A personal note from Tran Quang Hai shortly after publishing this post: the Hmong name of the Jew’s harp is ncas (pronounced ncha).
The djam I bought in Sapa from girls who played the instrument along the mountain road. (photo by the author).
So I asked Hai how the name dan moi came about. He explained: there is no Jew’s harp in the music of the ethnic Vietnamese. So when he learned about the traditions of the mountain people around 50 years ago, he had to make up a new name himself in order to accommodate the minorities’ instrument in the system and language of Vietnam. To use ‘dan’ (meaning ‘instrument’) was an obvious beginning point. Hai decided to add ‘moi’ for lips, to designate it is played between the lips. Most brass or metal Jew’s harps are held against the teeth, with the lamella vibrating between the teeth; the dan moi is held between the lips and vibrates there. In this sense it is more like a type of wooden or bamboo Jew’s harp, particularly the ones vibrated by a string attached to one side.
A Hmong girl playing the djam for me in 2003 (photo by the author).
The dan moi went on to become a very popular instrument around the world once non-Vietnamese musicians discovered them, at the turn of the millenium. Many people asked me for it when I brought them back in 2003. I remember giving one to Tuvan throat singer Sainkho around 2004. She immediately fell for its bright sound and expressive qualities, and asked for more several times after (and so did other people). At the same time, a German company saw the potential of this cheap instrument to reach a huge audience and set up (web)shop, calling it www.danmoi.com. It has a become a one-stop shop to buy all kinds of Jew’s harps. So dan moi, Hai’s new name for the djham, a minority instrument, and for Jew’s harps in general, now has become sort of a symbol of 21st century global Jew’s harp culture. And it seems to be growing year by year: here in Taiwan I have seen many new Jew’s harp enthusiasts taking the stages recently, often sporting a collection of world Jew’s harps, including, of course, the dan moi.
Here is a video where you see the movement of the dan moi lamella in slow motion, played by Hai’s student Dang Khai Nguyen.
Learn more about Tran Quang Hai
Hai is still actively teaching, find out where his next workshops are by going to his blog:
(the blog itself amounts to a ‘wikipedia’ of sorts for throat/overtone singing, where you will find a huge amount o copies of scientific and popular articles, videos, and indeed copies of wikipedia entries, as well as some original posts about Hai’s workshops and travels).
Go here to find more entries in English and in Vietnamese:
And for more news from Fusica and Mark van Tongeren subscribe to these blogposts here.
Finally, back to some Asian flavour, but East-Asian instead of the South-East Asian of Hai’s origins. Here is a hilarious video from the time Hai was flown into Japan to demonstrate overtone/throat singing in a hypertheatrical popular entertainment program.
TRAN QUANG HAI on JAPANESE TELEVISION, part 2, December 26, 2012
* OK, for this one I have no way to tell if it is true, but Hai does mention in his new book (page 32) that he wrote “more than 500 articles in Vietnamese for 30 Vietnamese magazines in America, Europe, Asia and Australia.”
Today I tried out something I do a few times a year: take a deep breath and see how long I can sing. Well, this time I just tried to sing for one minute, not as long as possible. The best technique to use for this is either khöömei or sygyt as it automatically constricts the throat and inhibits the airflow.
It is trivial, I know, but it is a good exercise for the lungs, diaphragm and the entire respiratory system. The other challenge is to make some musical sense. The throat singing is far from perfect (some of the overtones should not be there) but I decided to share it anyway as an example of some of the things I practise.
This 2,5 day workshop is for students familiar with the basic overtone singing techniques and who want to improve their technical skills, explore new possibilities and just have fun singing together.
The emphasis is on three themes:
1) getting out clearer individual overtones
2) creating duo and trio pieces with overtones using Mark’s ZERO method.
3) creating other choral pieces
Besides the technical and creative side of overtone singing, we spend time on voice-building, particularly to warm-up and refresh the singing body. Throat singing is not part of this workshop.
We have two days plus two evenings of singing and playing. A great opportunity to catch up with your overtone technique and enjoy singing together.
We are staying in Hui Mei’s BNB/camping, already familiar to several Resonators. You can only stay overnight in shared rooms (two or four people in one room). A tent is also possible, though… Rooms and food are included in the price.
Watch a video of the Superstringtrio singing overtones using the ZERO cycle (0…) developed by Mark here:
– students who have done the RESONANCE yeargroup with Mark
– those who have done several workshops of overtone singing with Mark or someone else
– anyone familiar with the basic techniques such as NG/1 cavity and RR/2 cavities and able to sing them.
Newcomers to overtone singing are referred to the 2-day Beginners workshop Overtone Singing in March in Taipei. Only exceptionally talented students qualify for joining this workshop after the beginners’ workshop, if they wish to.
WHAT YOU NEED
You can bring your own sruti box, drum, guitar or Jew’s harp for a joint improv session, but this is not necessary. Just your voice will do! Resonance students please bring the older pieces you like to sing so we can repeat some sogs you are already familiar with.
Other things like sleeping bags we will tell you after registration.
DATES & TIMES
Start time: Friday April 19, 7 PM with diner, (arrival may be earlier)
Finish time: Sunday April 21, 4 PM
Puli, Hui Mei’s place.
Normal price: 10.500 NT$
RESONANCE students: 9.500 NT$
Students/seniors with ID card: 8.800 NT$
– Tuition fee
– Shared rooming 2 nights (same for 2/4 persons)
– All meals (Friday diner up to and including Sunday lunch)
(if you have special request please let us know)
– Transport to Puli
Mark van Tongeren is a Dutch sound explorer with a deep interest in the synergy of arts, sciences and contemplative traditions. Mark has 25 years of experience in theatre, music and dance productions and holds a PhD from Leiden University’s Academy of Creative of Performing Arts.
REGISTER & INFO
You can register by sending an email to email@example.com and transfering a downpayment of 25% of the workshop fee.
If you want to stay in a room with someone specific, please let us know on the form/by mail.
For your questions (please check all the info in this announcement first!), you can ask Mark or Sunny.
In English: firstname.lastname@example.org / Facebook / Phone 09 103 827 49
中文： email@example.com / lineID: soleilc77 陳亮伃
Payment upon registration by bank or Paypal.
Bank code: 822.
Name of bank: China Trust
Beneficiary: Mark Christiaan van Tongeren
Account number: 163540306745
Make sure to send an email when you have actually made your payment. We will confirm reception in a few days time.
PLEASE CHECK OUT OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS AS WELL! Overtone Singing – beginners (March 23-24 2019)
Jew’s Harp playing (probably May 18 or 19, Taipei, to be confirmed)
Sound Journey: Catch the Spirit of the Moment (Impro). (probably June 7-8-9, to be confirmed)
On Saturday and Sunday March 23-24, I will teach a two-day overtone singing workshop, for those who want to get to know more about this singing technique. The workshop is open to all who are interested, with or without musical/singing experience.
This basic workshop is an introduction to that approach for musicians and non-musicans alike. It includes warm-up exercises to develop attention for body, mind and sound, exploring basic techniques for using the resonances of the natural voice. Then we will start our exploration of overtone techniques.
We will listen to and try more specific techniques for singing harmonics, and combine voices to work with simple, intuitive sound structures and intuitive compositional ideas.
Of course it is not possible to learn overtone singing in two days (despite some claims you find here and there). But you can get a sense of what goes on when singers produce clear overtones, sharpen your hearing in a live, acoustic situation, and get started on something you might want to explore further in the future. To hear this technique live from close by is a very important way to get familiar with this aspect of the human voice.
Every participant will get some personal feedback about his/her voice and how to get started with the technique.
Excerpt from my Overtone Singing book.
The workshop is in English with Chinese translation.
Dates: Saturday March 23 + Sunday March 24
Time: 10:00-17:00 (lunch break 13:00-14:00)
Cost: 4500 NT$
Bring a friend: pay 8000 instead of 9000 NT$
Students, pensioners and poor struggling artists: – 25% (3375 NT$).
Place: Artists’ community at Yangminshan, a few kilometers behind National Palace Museum. About 15 minute walk up the mountain, with stairs.
INFO & REGISTRATION
If you don’t read Chinese and are interested to join, or if you have any questions drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get all the details.
Here is a letter I wrote earlier this year when I was about to turn 50 (want to get on the mailinglist too? let me know!):
I love the number 49 and its symbolism. Much better than 50. So I prefer to send out a shout to everyone on the last day of my 49th year in which I am walking on this strange and wonderful place called earth, rather than on the first day of the 50th year. My dear sister Daphne somehow knew I wanted to celebrate while I was still 49, when she organised a surprise party for me several months ago. I completely and totally bought it, even after my mom and two friends showed up in a park where you would not expect that. What a great present!
And then the Tuvans, for whom 49 is a special number, play their magic on me too. Tuva and its inhabitants have shaped my life in many ways. When I was halfway on to this point of my life and getting close to 25 years old, I first visited Tuva and fell in love with the place forever. 12 Years later I visited Tuva with June Wen, and it was then and there that we found out that we are destined for each other. That led to our marriage, to our kids, to me moving to Taiwan. Life-changing experiences in which Tuva seemed to play a role.
And right now, guess what? Earlier this year I began organising several Tuvan concerts here in Taiwan, and I was asked to curate two different acts for the Asian Pacific Traditional Arts Festival. And today (last day of 49) the first Tuvan group, a young quartet called Ezengi, has just finished their job (which they did very well) and returns to Tuva. And tomorrow (first day of 50) four fine senior musicians arrive from Tuva to Taiwan for this weekend’s performances: Shonchalai and Nachyn Choodu, Andrei Öpei and Valerii Mongush. Coincidence?
And then, there was this other coincidence this year. When I fist visited Tuva I learned about a Scythian ornament found during archaeological excavations, consisting of a panther biting its own tail. A wonderful symbol of infinity and the ever-repeating cycles of events. “Ma fin est mon commencement” (“my end is my beginning’) as mediaeval poets and musicians such as Guillaume de Machaut knew so well. This spring a very noble and inspiring friend, the philosopher Fons Elders, sent around a message with his view about this symbol, which is known as the ouroboros in the western world. A little later I performed in the Oosterkerk in Amsterdam with the wonderful Turkish ney player Sinan Arat, a concert I had arranged to be filmed so that I could share it with everybody. In the background of our stage happened to be . . . an ouroboros. So a few days ago, while working on the video I decided to call it “The Ouroboros Concert”. The next day I took the Tuvans to the Pacific Ocean – Tuva being very far removed from any sea or ocean. They decided to try surfing and that’s how I noticed the Scythian ouroboros tattooed on the arm of Anchy Damdyn. What a great idea! The first time ever I imagined I could have a tattoo too.
So by way of celebration and to express the gratitude I feel for being a human amidst so many wonderful human beings I share this Ouroboros concert video with you.
Hier is een brief die ik onlangs rondstuurde, toen ik op het punt stond 49 te worden (ook op de mailinglijst? laat het weten!):
49 Is een prachtig getal met een prachtige symboliek. Veel beter dan 50. Dus stuur ik een groet aan iedereen op de laatste dag van de 49 jaar dat ik op deze vreemde, wonderlijke planeet rondloop, in plaats van de eerste dag van mijn 50e. Mijn lieve zus Daphne voelde kennelijk al aan dat ik liever even stil sta bij mijn leven op mijn 49e, toen ze een surprise party voor me oganiseerde enkele maanden geleden. Ik stonk er totaal in, zelfs nadat mijn moeder en enkele vrienden spontaan opdoken in een park waar je hen toch niet 1-2-3 samen verwacht. Wat een geweldig cadeau!
En de Toevanen, voor wie het getal 49 ook speciale betekenis heeft, duiken ook weer op haast magische wijze op. Zoals jullie weten hebben Toeva en haar inwoners mijn leven op allerlei manieren vorm gegeven. Toen ik halverwege het punt was waar ik nu ben, dus bijna 25 jaar oud, bezocht ik Toeva voor het eerst en raakte voorgoed verslingerd aan deze plek. 12 Jaar later ging ik naar Toeva met June en we ontdekten, toen en daar, dat we voorbestemd waren voor elkaar. Dat leidde dus tot ons huwelijk, kinderen en tenslotte mijn verhuizing naar Taiwan. Nog een levenswending waar Toeva haast een sturende hand in leek te hebben.
En wat is er nu aan de hand? Ik begon eerder dit jaar een aantal Toevaanse concerten te organiseren hier in Taiwan, en werd onder andere verzocht twee programma’s in te vullen voor het Asian Pacific Traditional Arts Festival. En vandaag (de laatste dag dat ik 49 ben) vertrekt de eerste Toevaanse groep, een jong kwartet genaamd Ezengi (nadat ze zich trouwens uitstekend gekweten hebben van hun taak). En morgen (de eerste dag dat ik 50 ben) arriveren er vier geweldige senior musici uit Toeva: Shonchalai en Nachyn Choodu, Andrei Öpei en Valerii Mongush. Toeval?
En dan was er nog iets dit jaar. Toen ik Toeva voor het eerst bezocht leerde ik een Scythisch ornament kennen, dat bij archeologische opgravingen gevonden was en dat bestaat uit een panter die in zijn staart bijt. Een prachtig symbool van oneindigheid en de eeuwigdurende cycli van gebeurtenissen. “Ma fin est mon commencement” zoals middeleeuwse dichters en musici als Guillaume de Machaut heel goed wisten. Dit voorjaar stuurde vriend en inspiratiebron Fons Elders een bericht rond met daarin zijn visie op dit symbool, dat bekend staat als oeroboros in de westerse wereld. Iets later trad ik op in de Oosterkerk in Amsterdam met een geweldige Turkse ney-speler, Sinan Arat, een concert dat ik liet opnemen op video (en waarvoor je de link onderaan vindt). Juist achter ons podium bevond zich . . . een mooie uit hout gesneden oeroboros. En dus besloot ik een aantal dagen geleden toen ik met de video bezig was om ons optreden Het Oeroboros Concert te noemen. De volgende dag (afgelopen zaterdag) nam ik de Toevaanse musici mee naar de oceaan (waar de Toevanen verder van verwijderd zijn dan zo’n beetje wie dan ook ter wereld). Ze wilden graag gaan surfen en zo ontdekte ik de tatoeage van zo’n Scytische oeroboros op de arm van Anchy Damdyn. Wat een geweldig idee! Nooit eerder had ik ook maar een seconde de gedachte gekoesterd dat een tatoeage voor mij zelf ook best interessant kon zijn.
Dus om even stil te staan bij dit bijzondere moment in mijn leven en uitdrukking te geven aan de dankbaarheid om een mens te zijn te midden van allerlei fantastische mensen met wie ik mij omringd weet, deel ik nu deze Oeroboros concertvideo met jullie.
Over enkele weken doe ik een dubbelconcert met Sinan Arat in de Oosterkerk in amsterdam. Hij is vooral bekend van zijn ney spel, zijn hoofdinstrument. Ik heb hem nog niet ontmoet maar we hebben wel overlegd hoe we het willen gaan doen. Vanwege ons beider voorliefde voor improvisatie hebben we besloten te proberen om niet twee solo-blokken te spelen met een beetje overlap, maar de uitwisseling aan te gaan. Ik ben al langer op zoek naar samenwerking met een goede fluitspeler. In Taiwan zijn die dun gezaaid, zeker spelers die een dergelijke rijke, luchtige klank produceren. Dat heb je natuurlijk in Japan met de shakuhachi en in India met de bansuri (die Sinan ook bespeelt). Maar ik werd helemaal stil van het spel van Sinan toen ik gisteren onderstaande video van hem bekeek. Van die prachtige, lange, rustige tonen, waarin de adem steeds doorklinkt, en daarmee de ziel van de speler – of van de muziek zelf zo je wilt.
Sinan bespeelt naast de ney rietfluit ook lijsttrommels en zingt, en hij heeft Indiase muziek bestudeerd. En aangezien ik de laatste jaren ook experimenteer met fluiten en met de Marrokaanse bendir lijsttrommel én omdat ik ook al jaren met Indiase muziek bezig ben, hebben we aardig wat overlap. Ik ben heel benieuwd hoe dat gaat uitpakken, zijn voornamelijk traditionele spel met mijn meer experimentele benadering.
Het concert is op zondag 15 juli en begint om 12:00
Gratis toegankelijk (donaties welkom).
Adres: Oosterkerk, Kleine Wittenburgerstraat 1, Amsterdam.
De dag ervoor doe ik een eendaagse workshop boventoonzang, ook in de Oosterkerk in Amsterdam, voor wie wil kennismaken met deze techniek.
Beluister ook het mooie interview met Sinan rondom de VPRO sessie.
“Sinan Arat uit Turkije speelt en improviseert op de ney (Turkse fluit) en laat zich inspireren door de Ottomaanse en Anatolische traditie. Hij wordt begeleid door Alper Kekeç op percussie. In het interview met Giovanca vertelt Sinan hoe hij kennis leerde maken met de ney.”
In January I will be visiting the great team of Soundtherapy Hong Kong again to teach various workshops around the theme “hidden dimensions of the human voice.” There are 6 themes to chose from – or you can do them all:
Workshop 1: Breath, Prana & Movement
Workshop 2: Sound Journey, Ocean of Voices
Workshop 3: Art of listening
Workshop 4: Polyphony of the body
Workshop 5&6 : Inner Voice & Outer Voice
All workshops are either morning (10 am – 1 pm) or afternoon (2:30-5:30 pm), in Causeway Bay / WanChai.
More details + registration on the Soundtherapy Hong Kong website here and on Facebook.
Hong Kong image Vertical Horizon by Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, who published the photobook Vertical Horizon.