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Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman (Norway / US / Spain)
by Aeron Bergman New York, 1997
My grandfather was an avid sound collector, but instead of collecting records, he bought them, taped them onto cassette tapes, meticulously typed the song titles and label information on the tape inserts, and then threw out the vinyl. To him, the most important thing was the easy access and storage of the music he loved. (Sadly he didn't survive to see MP3 culture. -aa 2007) After he died of a heart attack in 1997, I inherited a strange, bulky package, excessively taped in brown paper. It was a box of blank tapes in a brown paper bag, duct taped shut, a rubber band around the whole thing, and a type-written note that said "blank tapes". To commemorate him and his habit, I pulled out a "Boston Pops" record he hadn't got around to taping yet, put a reverb device between the record player and the cassette recorder, and recorded all 20 blank tapes with "Bostonpopsonreverbformydeadgrandpa".
2. La Rioja (Folklore Volume 1) by Alejandra and Aeron
La Rioja, Spain 2001
We made no pretensions of a "complete" study of Riojan folk sounds. Instead, we paired found recordings, casual discoveries, and technologically fragile sound environments. Folk culture in flux.
a. Belinda feedback
Circa 1960's. Emiliana Sainz used to tape her favorite songs and send them in the mail to her daughter Pilar in Toronto as a way to keep in touch. This recording also includes accidental room sounds and tape feedback.
b. Christmas Bells
A man called the radio to play bells through his mobile phone on Christmas day.
c. Gigantes y Cabezudos
Viana. Gigantes are men dressed as giants and cabezudos are little men wearing giant grinning heads. They run through the village and whip children with pig's bladders filled with air.
d. Gigantes y Cabezudos. Cine de Barrio.
The same scene as described above, except this recording comes from classic Spanish cinema.
e. Los Tres Reyes del Oriente
At 6am, January 6th, Los Auroros sing up and down every street to wake up the village and let them know the three kings have arrived. Rain hitting the umbrella sounds digital but it also sounds like the scratchy sound of old vinyl.
f. Murga del Sorteo
Felix Carinanos sings a protest song from Logrono from 1898. The song is about how Spain was ruled by the rich and corrupt. The song claims the rich sent the poor to fight in Cuba by using a fixed draft lottery. The penalty for singing this song was jail (or worse).
g. San Mateo. Fiestas of Logrono.
A song comes out of a balcony after lunchtime.
3. Porto (Folklore Fragments Volume 2) by Alejandra and Aeron
A study of the social, political, formal and aesthetic properties of sound environments in Porto, Portugal.
a. Bugiadas in Sobrado
We stumbled on this disturbing and complex festival in Sobrado, a village several kilometers to the north east of Porto. Otherwise a quiet agrarian village, all hell breaks out during the Bugiadas festival on the 24th of June. Celebrating to some degree the old conflicts between the moors and the christians, it also addresses such topics as social criticism, sin, punishment, and marginality. Around a hundred villagers dress as christians in red, mid-19th century velvet uniforms with tiny bells sewn into the seams and rubber monster masks with brightly flowing caps. Also, twenty or so villagers dress as moors in colorful, embroidered soldier uniforms with big hats topped with feathers. There is an epic fight between the moors and the christians at night, but mostly the moors stick in formation during the day. It is the christians who commit most of the weird rituals. After lunch, one of the christians, menacing with his monster mask, mounted backwards onto a nervous horse, and beat on a porno magazine with a stick until he was led to a bar. At the bar he shouted for payment until the bar owner emerged and offered a bottle of wine. Most of the people participating in the masquerade did not change out of their sports shoes: it was a sight to see Adidas stripes under such costumes. The exact scene captured in the recording is the time leading up to the cobranša dos direitos when the christian, mounted backwards on the horse, demanded payment at local bars.
b. Boat Horns, Afurada
Afurada is a small fishing village tucked in an ear of land on the mouth of the river. Sao Pedro is the patron saint of fishermen, so it is important to the village. On the day of Sao Pedro the people paraded a few dozen extra large, carved and brightly painted saints from their resting places in the white-washed church down steep hills to the docks. There, a sculpture of Saint Pedro presided in a rowboat in a parking lot. After a few words from the parish priest, the saint is assumed to have blessed the water, and all the fishing boats in the harbor blow their air horns. This piercing, intricate sound blew for more than a half-hour for those who could stand it.
c. Bottling at Caves Grahams
Although the tour guides take the average tourist past the picturesque ancient oak barrels storing the really good port vintages, most of the fermentation takes place in cement or stainless steel vats. And most of the bottling is done using high tech equipment such as what we hear in this recording. The mixing in this track happened naturally by walking along the automated lines, the microphone picking up different sections of bottling, corking, labeling and boxing.
d. Rita and Adriano Sing Without Accompaniment
The best folklore preservation society we found was the Rancho TÝpico da Amorosa in Leca da Palmeira, just next to the port of Matosinhos. (Although it sounds pastoral, this town is industrial, a heavyweight in Portugal.) The Rancho Tipico da Amorosa group was animated and spirited from the youngest to the oldest members. Rita Soares, a cashier at a local supermarket, and Adriano Correia, a dentist's assistant, are two of the youngest members in the group. Although we loved how the whole group sounded together, we were interested to highlight the voices of these two because we so often saw passion for folklore only in the older generations. We normally never ask to change anything we are recording, but in this case, we wanted to capture the song as it may have been a long time ago: voices only. Rita and Adriano were hesitant. Adriano said that they never sing or play any instrument alone. But, laughing, they decided to try it anyway. The song is about a spring courting ritual between a young man and a young woman. Despite their reservations, we were blown away by the power and richness in their voices, even if they had never sung alone before.
> 4. Ruinas Encantadas (Hounted Foklore Vol.1) by Alejandra and Aeron
La Rioja, Spain 2001 (paired with La Rioja)
Processing, analyzing and fragmenting the aural landscape of Northern Spain through electronics. Echoes of the past are found, but they are structured around mysterious high-frequency hisses, static, noise and decay. These almost sound like ghost-recordings..
a. Water Jota in 1213442
This track uses the structure of the Jota, the traditional folk songs from La Rioja, to structure a water drop composition.
b. La Labradora Castanuela
Composed with castanuelas from an old song.
by Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman, Goteborg, Sweden 2006
We cut Doctor Martin Luther King Junior's voice out of the archive recording of his speech "I have a dream". Leaving only the sounds of the audience in an aging recording, maybe we can remember what he said.
6. LoreleiTube (2008)
The Lorelei is a mythical siren on the Rhine River who lured sailors to their doom. We spent many hours "researching" Lorelei songs online, and burned our dinner by accident. To be played on a boat on the Rhine. Produced by European Sound Delta.
7. Imperfect Reliability (2008)
Museu das Rendas, Vila do Conde, Portugal.
In this small, tidy museum dedicated to the local lace craft, there is a very curious permanent installation: 2-8 older ladies sit making lace from 9-5, Monday to Friday. Some of the women work on a municipal salary. The sounds resemble many wooden wind chimes, or perhaps rain. Produced by Circular with the support of Museu das Rendas and Maria da Guia, head lacemaker.
8 Traditional Visual (2008)
Voice and acoustic guitar. Oslo
Alejandra & Aeron in UbuWeb Film & Video
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