They talk all the time on searching. Just as one. But they never explicitly refer to what, because the feeling of what is lost or forgotten: the origin of human being in an America discovered, besieged, relegated, underlies in any search. A continent that breathes while s leeping, like if waiting to resound. An America of Mallkus, Amarus and Pachamamas; a mystical America.
I am told that the sounds have different wealth by location, but the search is always the same. It is a native to native, human to human and impossible to break connection. And they reaffirm: “The search, just like music, does not believe in borders or boundaries, does not know the concept of nationality.”
“When we were with the Maori in New Zealand, we did a concert for children. Once finished, they began to leave. We did not know what was happening; we thought they had not enjoyed it. After a while, they came back with their grandparents´ instruments, which are not well regarded culturally because they are a colonized nation. They felt they had to show us their instruments, which are also very similar to our wind ones, and sound like trumpets. A priori it seems we are in distant parts of the world but we are all together, “Andres Fortunato , one of the twenty two members of the group, told me.
With their instruments , masquerade, performance, their mixture of acoustic and electro-acoustic sounds -all in a strangely pure state, the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies creates soundscapes through the geography of lands remaining secret , hidden .
“It’s a rather multisensory approach,” Lucas Mattioni says, “because we mix lighting, aroma, with instruments that also help joining audiences …” “We also work with gestures, Eastern martial arts and movements of American tradition , which help with the interpretation of the instrument.” Enrique Anabella adds in this sort of multiple conversations. “And Julieta Szewach state s: “It is not only the audio or visual thing is a whole concept and cosmogony of the play, of what gives rise to that work.”
“These are concepts that come from the native traditions of all peoples. The dance, song, rituality, instrument and its construction is a unit in itself, indivisible, and that is the idea, that every musician to meet all the functions, as investigator, constructor, composer, performer, ” Anabella notes.
The death whistles, the water drum, bird callers, rain stick … As a luthier, the Orchestra has the belief that each instrument is unique, made by artisans: “In this way, each member can find their own way to play, because the instrument itself has not only one sound , everything is in the possibilities of interacting with it, ” Julieta explains me. To which Melissa Foss, the only North American in the group, adds: “The appearance of the instruments can even vary, the sonorities may have different richness by location, but the search is always the same.”
Andres, sitting to my left and with the intention to take a break in the conversation, comments on the anthropological task which is just to retake lost instruments, native instruments that identify the Orchestra: “The idea belongs to Masters Susana Ferreres and Alejandro Iglesias, who have dedicated their lives to rescue traditional cultures and bring them to modernity, including equity, knowledge and worldview, or in the forms of approaching music. Today we have, in conjunction with the Institute of Musicology, the most important collection of Latin American instruments that exists, alive in addition, because it is not in windows or museums, but in ourselves, who revive and re-emerge their sounds for them to have the place they deserve, as well as the European instruments. ”
How is the recovery process of these instruments?
“We make field work with current communities, know their instruments and explore their sounds. Now, with physically vanished cultures, the Aztecs for example, we need the pieces exhibited in museums. We use films, photographs and even X-rays, as there is inside each instrument a new, highly complex world, such as the aerophones. In other cases, we reproduce pieces depicted in ancient murals and codices. Our aim is to compose with these instruments, to renew Latin American sounds. It is not about go back and play or recreate what was done before. ”
The pre-Columbian and electro-acoustic instruments harmoniously coexist in the Orchestra, such as the magnetic tape. They merge each other to the point that “there have been very special situations with shamans who have heard the electro-acoustic music we compose and they tell us having listen to that same sound in their rituals,” Andres says.
” The point is that, acoustically, the pre-Columbian indigenous instruments had sound searches of a very complex structural depth. We have found in temples, river channels deviated to large underground stairs where sounds like thunder were generated. We can now make that sound digital or electrically, but the technology to generate them existed thousands of years ago, made of clay and mud. ” “It’s what we call the pre-Columbian technologies,” Anabella states.
Here everything is strange, mixtures of seemingly opposing elements: ethereal and corporeal, traditional and modern, popular and academic … “It’s really a tandem, it is not either that things are so far apart. What we take to the concerts is the result of research projects carried out by interdisciplinary teams where the instruments are addressed from the iconographic and acoustic way . Thanks to that, we have generated new searches, needs that create new works. In the end, Lucas notes. ”
I ask about today’s concert at Mella Theatre at 8:30 pm , and in response I receive a complicit silence. The surprise , perhaps privacy, beats the answer until after a little insistence, Lucas speaks: “Here we have composers from Chile, Brazil, Argentina , with a broad wealth of instruments and sounds. E ach work includes specific details, so that it could not be found two alike. It’s a concert that we have prepared especially for the Festival and to express what Maestro Leo Brouwer represents to us. “”W e’re so happy , Anabella tells me from the other corner with her Argentine accent, “that this is the first time we traveled the whole group together.”
The last question of this multi- conversation with five of the twenty two members of the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies, searches, perhaps, an uncomfortable reaction: Is it mysticism , ritualism, a philosophy of life or mere resource ?
Again, I get as answer the question of the search: “Impossible to do if you are not within a rituality and sacredness very of us,” Julieta notes. “Because the work of the orchestra is also part of a process of personal transformation,” Lucas continues. “If it were a resource , it would not work because it would be a lie,” Andres concludes.
The meaning of the journey emerges then from the search, through exotic and mysterious passages, with subdued, howling and loud sounds; all this at a time. Something not rationally understood, but that connects and takes you: faith.