CESSE Conference / Concerts / Lisa Greenaway / Sonority I.: magyar – Dancing on Blades / Story & Creative Consultant, translator: Zalka Csenge / Storytellers: Szabó Enikő, Nagy Enikő, Kovács Marianna, Lovászi Irén, Szeleczki Mónika, Zalka Csenge
Working at the intersection of spoken word, music and sound art, with her ‘Sonority’ project sound artist and linguist Lisa Greenaway is exploring the rhythms of languages, the melodic and sonorous patterns of our natural and built world, and the power of the storytelling voice, through construction of dynamic, immersive spatial sound installations.
Field recordings and spoken word are used as instruments in composition along with spatially manipulated sound, to create an environment in which we can truly inhabit the world of a story through our heightened and awakened sense of hearing. The work aims to find the sonority, the resonance, the distinctive richness, in harmonising sounds and languages of a particular environment. The work explores the power of collaboration, communion, and connection via the conduit of the storyteller, and encourages deep and active listening. The artist aims to draw listeners into a deeper engagement with story and, through story, a deeper understanding of world-views beyond our own. Greenaway believes stories are the most powerful method of ‘understanding the misunderstood’. And through listening deeply to stories, we may expand our ability to practice compassionate responses to the world around us.
As artist-in-residence at the Spatial Sound Institute for three months working with the 4DSOUND system, Greenaway has been collaborating with storytellers, musicians, dancers and gathering field recordings around Hungary and Transylvania. The resulting work ‘Magyar – Dancing on Blades’ explores the powerful resonance of the Hungarian language, environment and music telling a folktale in six dialects.
Six women, six voices, speak in six Hungarian dialects, telling six versions of the same folktale. In concert, the voices and the sounds and music of six regions of Hungarian communities, from Hungary to Transylvania, to Slovakia, to Croatia, weave a complex dance, an immersive world in which audiences can move and explore. A spoken chorus telling an ancient folktale with resonances of cultural change and upheaval, transgression and desire. The story of the twelve dancing princesses fascinates in its variances from region to region. Defiant women, under patriarchal lock and key, escape every night to dance. Every morning, their shoes are found torn to pieces…
(Photo: Ana Amorós López)