Listening session n°5

To continue the quest of rethinking what contributes to the universalities of contemporary music today, we invited the experimental avant-garde composer Carlos Gutiérrez and musician and visual artist Tatiana López for our next  Untraining the Ear  listening session. In this session, we listen to and through SIKUS, a traditional Andean panpipe which we will build during a two days long workshop-performance listening session with participants and the artists. Already in our fourth encounter – also a workshop-performance based listening session– we engaged with the question of the multiple universalities of contemporary music while listening to the works of and reading the philosophies of the pioneer composer Jose Maceda and the Philippine context; in this session, we continue, as we focus on the Bolivian context.

Through almost inaudible sonic variations performed in the works of Carlos and Tatiana, such as subtle pitch bends, polyphonic sounds produced by the Bolivian wind instruments, polyrhythmic musical composition structures, their work pushes the listeners to a more concrete listening mode and creates situational soundscapes. Those scapes therefore become an ongoing processes of sharing through the sonic imagination and relationships between the knowns and the unknowns, found in the musical constellations experienced during the performance. Carlos and Tatiana explore depths of reflection on togetherness, everyday materials, time, space, and movement.

The duets' work also offers a counter gaze, or a counter listening space and questions the formal musical structures found in Bolivia that, since colonial times, have been "looking at the Western musical traditions as the better, as the more universal, and the more advanced," as Carlos underlines. "Such structures need to be challenged. And to do that, we, as Bolivians, need to reconnect with our own forms of indigenous knowledge to produce counter contemporary cultures,” he continues.

The term indigenous (esp. indígena) in that case is used in the Bolivian context, to designate an identification assumed by ancestral cultures. However, in the current Bolivian context it is also a word questioned in its meanings which will be one of the core conversations raised and challenged in this session in an open conversation with the invited public.

On the  first day of this Listening Session, Carlos and Tatiana will give a workshop on constructing Bolivian Sikus (panpipes in Aymara language) and teach a traditional tune from la Comunidad de Upinhuaya. After that, participants of the workshop will apply the learnt techniques and principles to collectively work on a contemporary music piece using the instruments they have produced.

The second day of the Listening Session is open to the public, and we invite you to a lecture by Carlos Gutiérrez and Tatiana López in which they will converse about their work with the Experimental Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments (OEIN) in its investigative pedagogical and creative scope, including audio and video samples of the oeuvre of the orchestra, and various collaborations which they have done extensively with indigenous communities in Bolivia. Subsequent to the lecture, the three musical compositions , will be performed in a concert open to the public.

Carlos Gutiérrez and Tatiana López are members of the Experimental Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments (OEIN) form Bolivia which is a musical ensemble and also a workspace based on the practice, performance, study and research of Bolivian indigenous* music and the projection of this knowledge in the creation of contemporary experimental music and also new educational models. Currently, Carlos Gutiérrez is a resident of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.

Carlos Gutiérrez Quiroga (La Paz-Bolivia, 1982) is a composer, musical researcher, teacher, builder of sound objects and member of the Experimental Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments (OEIN) since 2002. He has composed music for different instrumental settings and also original soundtracks for several films, documentaries and theater works. In 2016 he was chosen to be part of the OEIN board members. Currently, he lives in Berlin as a guest of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm of the DAAD.

Tatiana López Churata (La Paz-Bolivia, 1992) is a visual artist, researcher, musical teacher and member of the Experimental Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments (OEIN) since 2004. In 2016 she was chosen to be part of the OEIN board members. She has worked as a teacher of the Musical Initiation Program (PIM) of the OEIN, holding annual workshops for children and young people. Her work as a visual artist is developed in different disciplines as ceramics, painting, costume design and installations.  The different expressive forms of the indigenous traditions of Bolivia, especially music and textiles, strongly influence her creative work.

The fourth listening session is a part of Untraining the Ear: SAVVY Contemporary, Deutschlandfunk Kultur and CTM Festival suggest an alternative way to listen to music and sound through a year series of events – UNTRAINING THE EAR, split into six listening sessions. We invite up-and-coming Berlin based, international musicians and composers, to perform sixty-minute long program of an uninterrupted listening session preceded by a moderated conversation between performers, curators and listeners. This will be premiered live in SAVVY Contemporary and premiered for the first time on the air of Deutschlandfunk Kultur.

Moreover, in order to contextualise how we listen to the world today we also need to replay the past of abounding sonic references. We (the audience, the performers, the space, the radio, the moderators and the technicians) will rhetorically navigate through archives of maverick composers in the attempt to reindex their contributions, to create other possible genealogies and narratives. By involving sound practitioners coming from diverse genres to perform, and scholars to discuss works of the composers, we listen back to the influence and ingeniosity of musicians and sound artists who defy the linearity of 20th century avant-garde music history. We would like to shed light on and unbox works of pioneers such as Halim El-Dabh, Eliane Radigue, Jose Maceda to mention a few. We will also commission new works to echo and reflect (with a contemporary take) rare archival body of works that have been marginalised by history of avant-garde music and sound art.