Noise Uprising: A Polystylistic Atlas
A new songcycle by Christopher Trapani for Zwerm, Sofia Jernberg & Sophia Burgos.
The inspiration is Michael Denning’s book Noise Uprising, which chronicles the explosion of vernacular recording that took place in the late 1920s in port cities around the globe. The historical 78 rpm records of this era are the not-so-silent witnesses of the birth of son, jazz, samba, rembetiko, fado, tango, etc. They reveal a kind of B-side of music history, a people’s history of music-making driven by the bustling marketplaces of colonial port cities. Noise Uprising is a polystylistic atlas that unravels a subterranean, cross-cultural network far away from, and with a wider reach than, traditional concert halls. Using Denning’s book as a starting point, Christopher Trapani plans to “fill in the map” by composing a series of pieces for four guitars and two singers, sometimes including live electronics. In studying these 78s as primary source documents, Trapani transcribes and transforms their musical gestures. These recordings will be in turn woven into electronic collages, often alongside his own field recordings, made on site in the cities where the source material originated, imagining alternative histories, fictive encounters and cross-pollinations between styles which in reality may never have intersected: gamelan meets tango, fado meets samba. With Noise Uprising Trapani uncovers hidden connections between geographically distant genres, but in doing so he always strives to create work that ultimately represents something more than a travelogue or a book of postcards. The short works he composes for this cycle will be meant to call into question notions of cultural appropriation and authenticity, to challenge rather than to romanticize notions of the exotic, and to draw attention to the dangers of “overtourism” and the unreflective, superficial consumption of place.
The guitar, in all its possible variations, forms a common thread. But also the human voice plays a central role in Noise Uprising. For this project, made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, Trapani and Zwerm will collaborate with Swedish-Ethiopian soprano Sofia Jernberg and Puerto Rican soprano Sophia Burgos.
22/10/2023 Transit Festival, Leuven (première) (BE)
05/11/2023 November Music, Den Bosch (NL)
25/11/2023 HCMF, Huddersfield (UK)
29/11/2023 DESINGEL, Antwerpen (BE)
24/02/2024 Wilde Westen, Kortrijk (BE)
Concept & Development: Christopher Trapani & Zwerm
Composition: Christopher Trapani
Performers: Sofia Jernberg, Sophia Burgos & Zwerm (Kobe Van Cauwenberghe, Toon Callier, Johannes Westendorp, Bruno Nelissen)
Sound: Antoine Delagoutte
Light: Lucas Van Haesbroeck
Supported by Vlaamse Gemeenschap & Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung