Sunrise at 05.38 on Saturday, August 28th… Over the past week, instruments and gear have been moved into the water tower. Tomas has mounted the mikes and loudspeakers, and we have all brought blankets and sleeping mats to make our personal nests along the inner wall. An installation by Patrick releases water dripping from a container above into glass jars in a plastic tub on the ground floor; drip-drop in irregular intervals, like notes from a piano played slowly… and now, time has come; the SoundWavesLament begins.
Julia’s low, steady heart beats, transmitted via contact microphone, and little sounds of dripping water; mingling with humming voices, floating rhythms strummed and tapped; at times, blending with birdsong from outside; passing on to field recordings from World Listening Day; a gentle Sunrise River Reverberation. Julia’s text On Lament is read and echoed, before the first hour closes with a sonic meditation by Pauline Oliveros – Teach Yourself to Fly.
what is a lament for you?
for me, lament is a love song in which no-thing is concealed
where the whole of the heart, even the muck at the bottom is revealed released, transformed perhaps
through the exhale of sound waves
through the mouth, the fingers, the pores of the skin
through all the bodies one inhabits and is inhabited by
not just the bodies human but the elemental ones
lament is the transmutation of water
from solid to liquid
from flow to effervescence.
A howl in the night, a blood song
a discharge and dance where it all comes out
a place where there is space for all, even that which is held most tightly as a ball inside – the shame, the grief, the lost and broken stories
lament is a vocal seamstress, stitching all parts together again
making whole and weaving not just human story
stories of places that are part of us, our companion species
the whole ghost of our civilization’s environmental grief
that so few have been singing for so long
that lives in all of us, even when dormant.
There underground where the bones lay
in the mulch of years of fallen leaves
a fertile ground is woven with threads almost invisible
a mycelial weft exchanging life and messages between trees an uprising of fruiting fungal bodies
in a wondrous variety of forms
a lament to the wind sending spores on the airwaves.
Lament reaches deep into our bloodlines
to generations before, through all the veins
of life giving and life taking away
not just my paternal grandfather, but all the people he killed in war
not just the environmental destruction of the land where I was born, the land I live now but the brutal treatment of first nations people on who’s lands we live today
though lament we might let our selves feel this
not just in historical knowledge
but in our bones, under our feet where we walk.
To lament might unravel a small sorrow
and with it release the energy of years that that little sorrow held back moving the grief that froze, moving the shame that coagulated moving with flow, into action and compassion for every one another listening with the heart as an organ of perception
could it change the way we live?
August 4th, 2020
The second hour opens with Anka Draugelates’ agile, full-toned voice overflowing with love and agony…
but as the programme continues, an unexpected problem occurs within the web radio connection: every now and then, sounds of water interrupt the broadcast – sometimes flowing and burbling, sometimes flushing like a loo… How strange! The following performance is paused for troubleshooting. Tomas targets some suspect files and deletes them. Web streaming is taken up again, according to programme, but those ghost sounds keep haunting the broadcast and the source cannot be tracked. Before noon, we have to give in and finish the live stream. Once the decision is taken, confusion turns into focused presence.; the programme is reordered and the SoundWavesLament resumes – for now, enclosed within the tower.
Tomas Björkdal and Erik Peters; Björn Ola Lind, cellist Johanna Dahl and violinist Katt Hernandez; Torbjörn Grass playing the guitar; Björn Ola’s setup (all photos by HHW.)
From herding calls to soft singing bells, from poetic readings and instrumental improvisations to Dido’s lament deconstructed, and further; to a sing-along of melodious gratitude, a purging ceremony by violin and an electronic/sonic Northern light experience; a ritual lament pulsates within us, between us; releasing emotions and opening up for what will become… past sunset, all the way into the night.
We – the Ljudtornet/Soundtower team – sincerely apologize to our listeners that the announced live streaming of the SoundWavesLament had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, the mishap eventually came across as an unexpected blessing; enhancing artistic focus within a ritual space.
The recorded event is now permanently available (along with updated programme and further information) at:
Ljudtornet / ANTENN 2020