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News from Sound Symposium in Newfoundland

by Teresa Doyle

Hello from Sound Symposium, in St. John’ Newfoundland. This is hands down the best festival I have ever attended. I have been to a ton of folk festivals but this is so much better. There is a great mix of genres…some folk, cutting edge classical, jazz…dancers, filmakers, art installations…and the town itself that is a “piece of work.” The cab drivers alone are worth a visit. All have degrees in Nfld humor. Suits Kate [Poole] and I to a tee!

The music has been amazing. Highlights include Trichy Sankaran, maestro of the mrdangam, a double headed East Indian drum. Other favorites are SAFA, a Persion Trio, and Autorickshaw, jazz East Indian fusion.

As for Kate and I, we have been very busy. We did a concert set opening night. We did an improvised set with extended vocal techniques, digeridoo, djembi, water phone, singing bowls, sruti box and water drum. Our piece evoked the four elements of earth, water, fire and air. We were very well received and have been invited to do a number of other events with different performers. Hear our concert later in the year on CBC Two New Hours.

Bill Brennan and I did another concert set on Tuesday. He played keyboard on my Orrachan album. We did some ancient Irish Gaelic pieces together. Tonight 35 of us are creating a massive improv together. Our part is with an opera singer and saxophone. Tomorrow night I am performing an improvised piece with Suba Sankaran of Autorickshaw. It is rather cool to weave Celtic and East Indian vocals. The Celts did indeed originate in The Himalayas so there is a thread. I find some common ground in the vocal ornamentation.

As for the Sound Sculpture project at Rock Barra—Kate and I will be hitting the ground running on that as soon as we get back. We have a ton of new ideas, We are collecting some very cool stuff and meeting lots of great folks around the eastern end of the Island. We are beginning to discover that dairy barns have some useful items for our sculpture—stainless steel is very useful, it resonates very well. To that end we are putting out the call to farmers and fishermen for old stainless steel bulk tanks, wooden barrels, bells of any kind. Some pulleys would be helpful as well. We have a great team coming together and invite interested people to get in touch—farmers, fishermen, welders, builders, musicians.

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