This concert is part of the PhD artistic research “Inventing New Marimba Techniques from its African Heritage” of Adilia YIP, a marimba performer from Hong Kong. In 2011-13, Adilia traveled to Mali and Burkina Faso to study with musicians Youssouf and Kassoum Keita on traditional percussion instrument, the balafon. The experience broadened her views in music and life, giving her the insights to create new music for the marimba, the Western version of the balafon. And as a step further, the stimulating findings may renew the current music practice of the Western classical world, for instance:
- Music is passed down through listening and imitation, via oral tradition, no notation and score are used
- Spectacular polyrhythmic features
- Music is embodied in performer’s movement patterns
- High level two-hand coordination technique
- Holistic approach in performing, composing and teaching music
Song Barica, performance by Youssouf and Kassoum Keita, at Village Konsankuy, Mali:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55JiT8h7A3s
How balafon musician teaches music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAUw7ISZ6sw
Marimba soloist: Adilia Yip | Marimba duo: Ricardo Lievano | Light design: Kris Depuydt | Video: Adilia Yip
Dondoria | traditional
Mal/oxin Suite | Michiel De Malsche
Transposons | Cheong Li
El Perjurio de la Nieve | Juan Albarracín
Sound Portrait V | Enric Riu
Inner Sight Etudes | Cornelia Zambila
Dondoria is traditional balafon music from the Bobo tribe of Mali, combined with a video installation, the five minutes piece shows the essence in Mali; Mal/oxin Suite Michiel De Malsche (Belgium) shares his afro-funk and Yaki-da grooves with full energy; Transposons Dr. Cheong Li (Hong Kong) makes a scientific metaphor to the idiomatic musical element embeds in the balafon music, which is constantly changeable in position, capable to re-creation and reverse mutation; El Perjurio de la Nieve for four hands on marimba, Juan Albarracín (Argentina) creates a retrograde journey back to the historic moment when the Africans first meeting the Western musical practices, the bombarding moment of rhythmic patterns and style; Sound Portrait V Enric Riu (Spain/Canada) uses graphical score to frame the time structure and bodily movement of the performer; Inner Sight Etudes Cornelia Zambila (Romania) investigates into the sensorial experience of the performer leaving her comfort zone (the change of marimba to balafon) by setting up a blindfolded performance.
In the Heat of the Moment
The HEAT is
<SOURCE> we, the music composers and the performers are overwhelmed by our experiences and sensations—coming from both the outer and inner spaces—the sound we heard, the movement we did, the scenario we saw, the story we imagined, the emotion we felt, the texture we touched and the moment that passed, etc.
<ENERGY EMISSION> to deliver our experiences and sensations to the audience via music
<PASSION> the urge to bring new concepts and practices to the art
The MOMENT is
Being in <TIME>
Music of the <NOW>—the actual time during performing and improvising the music
<OCCURRENCE> of a sensation, a life-long experience, an intercultural impact, or a daily habit
Duo Antwerp is formed by two outstanding performers: Adilia Yip on the marimba and Daniel Belloví (Spain) on the bass clarinet, who always believe in the enormous potential of this unique combination. Through original works from contemporary composers and classical arrangements, the Duo extends the amazing possibilities of marimba and bass clarinet in both musical interpretation and high technical level. Every concert of the Duo is an enjoyable music experience full of creativity and cultural excursions. Website: www.duoantwerp.com
Tag words: marimba, West African balafon, percussion, performance, performance practice, embodiment in music, embodied movement patterns, perception, artistic research, artistic creativity, psychology in music, notation, oral tradition, bi-manual coordination, two-hands coordination
The Brackets Percussion is formed by Adilia Yip with Ricardo Lievano Flores (Mexico/ Belgium) and Ilya Dynov (Belgium) in 2010. The Western classical percussionists are in search of a new performance stage for their instruments, to create a platform for interdisciplinary collaborations with theatre, ethnic music culture, visual arts, etc. Their projects include: Vlinders (puppet theater, the Chinese legend the Butterfly Lovers), Mictlan (percussion theater, a story based on the Mexican's The Day of the Dead), Mexican marimba folk music and Erhu-rimba (Chinese erhu and Western marimba). The artists contribute his/her specialties to the group, bursting the flashy sparks of performance talents.
Numerous masterclass in marimba and bass clarinet, such as: the Baketes Festival Benetusser, the Professional and Superior Conservatory of Castellón, Velluters Professional Conservatory in Valencia, Municipal Conservatory of Lleida.
PhD research project: Inventing New Marimba Techniques from its African Heritage
The aim of this practice-based project is to search for new performance perspectives for the marimba (invented in 1910s) by inquiring into the West African music tradition--the balafon of the Bobo and Bamana tribes living in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Through a triangulation of research methodology—participant-observation (lessons with local musicians and interviews), literature (African ethnomusicology, phenomenology in music and music embodiment) and artistic practice (analyses and experiments in music)—I have gained insights on describing the artistic experience of stepping into the "unknown" balafon world. It is a discussion on how I have overcome the obstacles of learning, performing and listening to balafon music, and how these new experiences renewed and enriched my original artistic practice and ideas. Due to oral tradition, the balafon polyrhythm and melodic materials are embodied in forms of bimanual (two-hand) coordination patterns rather than symbolic representation. Music-making is largely informed by the performer's motoric sensory, and body movement is given a crucial role in music communication and sensory perception.
The second purpose of this research is, therefore, to apply these balafon practices in the Western performance. Most preceding Western composers and performers have initiated music projects to adapt the African musical materials to their creative processes, e.g. "Drumming" (Steve Reich, 1971), but barely a work grows out of an inquiry into the embodied performance practice of the non-Western genre. This yields artistic outcomes of five commissioned compositions for the marimba and a concert program "In the Heat of the Moment".
Keywords: marimba, balafon, body movement, music embodiment.
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