Journey Down the Nile
Below are some resources about the Wyndreamas choir and harp piece. Thank you to Caroline for commissioning me to write this at this particular and peculiar time. Thank you all for investing time and emotion in it and being so forthcoming with your amazing ideas. It’s become my favourite thing to ponder on, work on and do!
Screencast of Yalla Score
Here is some info about the piece
iInspired by stories, documentaries, a big book called The Discovery of the Nile by westerner Gianni Guadalupi and the knowledge that all of history has, to a certain extent, been rewritten with certain truths omitted. So, we look inside ourselves to find the truth. We ask our souls the secrets and we imagine, through ancient traditions and early composers such as Hildegard, the truths behind people and places. Nothing is what is seems in life, so we go beyond the grave, beyond the veil. We go in and out of the water, just as you will go in and out of the water noises and as Georgia suggested, the syllables of the names of ancient Gods and Goddesses, the pitches of the instruments and your voices, and aspects from nature as well as Renaissance choral music such as sound spatialisation, effect of acoustics and the way the audience perceives and interacts with what they hear, can represent suppression or elevation. I was also inspired by Considering the Women, a book of poetry by Choman Hardi, in which she writes from her own point of view but also experiments with inhabiting the physical and emotional space of oppressed women in various persecuted groups.
© Copyright Eleanor Turner
We are creating four pieces of music, with Water (Yalla) being also used as a journeying song to the different places. (I’m toying with a fifth piece, a celebration of women perhaps, in which we are all the queens we deserve to be! I’ll keep you posted)
Water as transporter of people, ideas, gifts, instruments and music….the journeying music is ‘Yalla’ as ‘Let’s Go’ symbolises our constant movement as people
The Dam – water becomes power, noise, division and musical energy
Veil/Unveil – we explore themes of suppression and elevation, referencing real stories and letters possibly from real sources both ancient and modern; worshipping of Gods and Goddesses, Queens, Pharoahs and mystical things past and present
The Harp from the Grave – this uses the Sudanese song Ay Fa Kir Noogonilla, collected from a musician called Dahab Khalil in the Sudan in 1980 – before even I was born. See below.
I used it to base a long composition on after my Godmother Deborah’s son was murdered. It was called I have no wish to say goodbye. Good news, I found the full recording! However, the only bit of it you need is the bit with the (reconstructed) ancient lyre in it. It’s in the dropbox folder too, an mp3 entitled ‘I have no wish 6’. Remember, this lyre was discovered in the mass grave of a Queen and her subjects… how bizarre. Now there is a piece of history you cannot reconstruct or argue with! However, as I told you in one of the zoom chats, this particular harp has even been used as a power symbol, even in its various reconstructions. So, you are all helping me to raise this ‘forbidden’ piece from the grave. To help you imagine the sound, I even found a video of myself, Tara Jaff (Kurdish harpist and singer, great friend of mine who I had not seen for YEARS until just before lockdown!!) and Rowie Calvert, a cellist I’m also extremely close to. This video is crazy – we are so young, I was hilariously self-conscious and new to improvising and feeling the music in this way, let alone being filmed whilst doing so. (Guys, the selfie had not even been invented at this point in history!) Here’s this little journey back to around 2003, see youtube video below: