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Audio art by Grace Yoon and Roman Bunka with Greetje Bijma, Netherland, Albert Kuvezin, Tuva, Trinovox, Italy
Earborn – a play on the English words “ear” and “airborne,” meaning “to be in the air,” “to be carried by the air;” one might also associate “airborn” – “born of the air.”
Earborn is a radio play developed from various material on the themes “descending angels” and “the singing of the soul” as a myth on the origin of mankind. The authors were inspired by four texts from different cultures and time periods: a history of creation by the Pakistani mystic and musician Hazrat Inayat Khan, texts from the “Vergleichende Anatomie der Engel” (“the comparative anatomy of angels”) written by Gustav Theodor Fechner in 1825, excerpts from the poems of the Sufi and social revolutionary al-Halladsch, who was put to death in Baghdad in the year 922, and a story by the Chinese Taoist Chuang-Tsu. All of these texts dwell on the origin of the senses, particularly the sense of hearing; yet they are also concerned with dissolution, with animal presence and with how the angels hear. The authors distributed the material to the various artists, arranged the music and spoken language with them and later edited the recordings in the studio.
The participants in the production of Earborn were:
The vocal group Trinovox from Florence, the city of angels – working closely with the authors, the ensemble composed a cappella versions of the texts which they spoke and sang in Italian, English and Hebrew. In some passages they employed the singing techniques of the great Italian castrati of the 17th century such as Farinelli or Cafarelli. They used their voices to create a virtual planet with a tropical jungle, exotic birds and the song of insects. Recordings were made not only in the studio but also in Florence and its surroundings. (CD Trinovox Incanto JARO 4168-2)
Greetje Bijma, a Jazz singer living in Holland, used the German lyrics but also spoke and sang in English. In her voice compositions she follows the path of life – from baby to lady – and she contributed the sound of an entire bestiary to the production.
Albert Kuvezin, a Tuvinian by birth, masters the traditional technique of overtone and undertone singing, also called diplophony. For the production he spoke in his native language Tuvinian as well as in Russian. A musician accustomed to language and sound experiments through his collaboration with members of the Russian music avant-garde, in his compositions he became a wanderer between the traditional and the modern.
An important criterion in the production of Earborn was the limitation to the human voice. As much of the sound as possible was to be expressed by the voice, the medium through which we obtain most of our information about the world. In order to achieve the broadest possible spectrum of sound, the singers were selected with regard to their roots in various musical cultures and their own aesthetic sense. The multi-lingualism thus created provided a framework for the artists to develop their own personal interpretation of the myth, the story of the genesis of the senses, on the emotional level of their voices. Recording in various places and situations intensified the degree of individual expression attained in dealing with the material. The work culminated in the editing of the various recordings by the initiators in a studio in Munich. With the aid of the sound engineer Benno Grodon Earborn was newly arranged, while existing tendencies in the acoustic events were enhanced. Thus Earborn was created – as a sound experience or, to allude to Demetrio Stratos, as a play on the “word, [which] is the articulation of hollow space.” Earborn – a consciously airy transformation from inward to outward listening.
Music listening suggestions: Nr. 2, Nr. 6 und Nr. 12 sung by Trinovox.