In 2012 and 2013, I traveled to Mali and Burkina Faso to study with balafon musicians Youssouf and Kassoum Keita of the Bobo and Bamana peoples. The balafon is believed to be one of the ethnic origins of the marimba in the Western world. The experience has broadened my music practice and given me new insights to enrich the repertoire and music practice of the marimba. Here are the stimulating findings:
- 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
Two video footages of the musicians at Village Konsankuy, Mali:
Song Barica, performance by Youssouf and Kassoum Keita
How balafon musician teaches music
Concert program “In the Heat of the Moment”
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
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.
The original concepts of the title “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
Tag words: marimba, West African balafon, percussion, cross-cultural research, music practice, music embodiment, practice-based research, phenomenology, ethnomusicology, artistic creativity, notation, oral tradition
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
Programs (click titles below for more details)
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.