photo A.N. Lierman
Some of you might know about my grandfather Kanyoni Ladislas, one of the oldest people that ever lived on this planet. He just turned 113 (!) and is said to be one of the last traditional medicines in northern Rwanda. People sometimes travel up to 100 km, often barefoot, to get cured by him. In his younger years he would go for epic walks into the subalpine forests of the Virunga mountains: to collect herbs and minerals for his medical practice and to hunt all sorts of wildlife.
Ever since I met my grandfather he has continued to inspire me, leading to various artistic sonic creations, including Umva! my newest performative installation for 6 moving musicians. And I am over the moon that it’s about to premiere in my hometown, at Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) this Wednesday March 8th.
photo Anne van Zantwijk
As Jasper Croonen quotes me in De Standaard Magazine March 4th 2023:
(… ) a brand new synthesis work in which all Lierman’s facets come together. It starts with the title: ‘umva’ means ‘listen’ in Kinyarwanda. It is the provisional end of the search for Lierman’s own voice, an expression of her multi-layered artistic identity. A creation between sound and performance art, averse to musical traditions. Lierman works with binaural audio that gives you a 360° experience and uses elements from her beloved radio art. Viola player Maya Felixbrodt, duduk player Raphaela Danksagmuller, Burkinabé multi-instrumentalist Kaito Winse, foley-percussionist Gaetan La Mela and dancer Soa Ratsifandrihana move around on stage.
(…) “It’s kind of like going back to being myself as a six-year-old. I may have been born in Rwanda, but I have lived all my life with my adoptive parents in Bruges. The Rwanda I knew was that from the AfricaMuseum back then: the stuffed elephant, the gigantic canoe… I want to tap into that childlike wonder again, but this time use it to give Africa a fair chance. Thát exactly seems to me the power of audio. It might perhaps liberate us from the stigmatizing image we have of the continent.”
Lately I have discovered another impressive part of my grandfather’s life: him, in his younger years, as a master of cows, leading large herds all around my ancestral region. How that gave him – together with his already exceptional work as a doctor and as a hunter – an even more unique position in Rwanda’s society. My grandfather’s epic biography helped me better understand the beauty of the inyambo cow and the refined complexity of Rwanda’s underexposed ancient esoteric cow cultus.
Umva! tries to give the audience a glimpse of the world of my grandfather, starting about 100 years ago. We move at his current pace, trying to understand what it means to be living for a hundred and thirteen years on this planet. And I am very proud to bring this layered story on stage in a multi sensorial and immersive way, together with five amazingly talented performers.
As Huib Ramaer quotes me in New Music Now, March 3rd 2023.
(…) She has cast her performers and musicians as if it were a film production. ‘I deliberately chose people who would like to be challenged in a process of research into questions such as: where is the borderline between African and European? Between movement and sound? Between performance and installation?’
photo Anne van Zantwijk
I look forward to seeing you on one of the following confirmed concerts
08.03.2023 Concertgebouw Brugge (BE) – world premiere
02.06.2023 Brakke Grond, Amsterdam
10.09.2023 Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Utrecht
24.10.2023 de Doelen, Rotterdam
07.11.2023 November Music Festival, Den Bosch
10.11.2023 Korzo Theater, Den Haag
⇒ Tickets and updates of new international tour dates via Silbersee or HERMESensemble
A big shout and heartfelt salute to the incredible line up who helped creating Umva!
Honored that Concertgebouw Brugge appointed me as their seizoenscomponist 2021 – 2022 ! So, I’ll get to showcase existing and brand new work in a variety of settings and contexts right at the cultural heart of my beloved hometown Bruges. Performing with the finest musicians and ensembles such as Romina Lischka, Goeyvaerts Trio, Organo, HERMESensemble and Silbsersee a.o….
More info here !
photo © Sightways/Concertgebouw Brugge
Radio Klara (VRT, Brussels) invited me today to their Black Words Matter-series. This to share one book of my choice that has been my personal eye opener on the topic of systemic racism. I chose ‘Nations Nègres et Culture’ by the visionary writer Cheikh Anta Diop, published by Présence Africaine in Paris.
Kunstenfestival Watou 2020 will kick off early July displaying its corona proof open air exhibition of contemporary art combined with poetry, located in the marvelous landscape of Heuvelland, a region in West-Vlaanderen.
If you plan a visit I encourage you to walk and listen to the epistolary poem Vonken: in my opinion an incredibly mighty and now already classic written by Simone Atangana Bekono. A refreshing literary voice on topics of identity, racism, globalism and (post)-colonialism.
I had the honor to interprete Vonken for this occasion. Sound design is by Annick Lesage. Kunstenfestival Watou 2020 is curated by Chantal Pattyn, Benedicte Goesaert and Peter Verhelst – Photo by Gaby Jongenelen
The coming months I will be participate in Wir Irren a new music theatrical performance for Ictus Ensemble initiated by visual artist Ana Torfs on the occasion of the digitization of her 1998 feature film, Zyklus van Kleinigkeiten (Cycles of Trifles). Wir Irren will be presented as a concert and a film. Film and concept Ana Torfs | Music Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Soundscape Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman.
Click here for info & tourdates next season.
Koor & Stem has appointed me as their Artistic Coordinator for the European project MoSaIC initiated by Amadeus Ensemble (Italy), partnered by Koor & Stem (Belgium), Swinging Europe (Denmark), Sound Cultural Foundation (Romania).
As Artistic Coordinator I will help develop workshops, compositions and concerts to be showcased on several occasions in Belgium and at the World Music Festival 2020 in Milan (Italy). Here you can find some extended info on the concept and aims behind this pioneering and hope igniting project.
Organo has been nominated for the pre-selection of the most prestigious composition prize in the Netherlands: Matthijs Vermeulenprijs 2019. Finals will be announced this summer by the Performing Arts Fund of The Netherlands.
Organo remains available via Bandcamp for 7.99 € or any price you are happy to support us with.
Meanwhile: Huge Gratitude for all the beautiful response to Organo’s self-titled debut album (December 2018). Heartwarming !
Artist Christian Nyampeta’s Scriptorium is a space for “writing,” in which a working group translates Kinyarwandan as well as Francophone texts of African expression into English. Attention is then given to short texts, songs and films from or related to modern and contemporary Rwandan Thought and life practices.
Click here for info + tourdates
Stunned by this beautiful semi doc by Mei Bao/The Lake Radio about my ongoing conversations with Kanyoni Ladislas, my 109 year old Rwandan grandfather. As well as the making off ‘Sogokuru’ for CTM festival and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. (stream or download via soundcloud either iTunes) #gratitude #countingmyblessings
On December 8th and December 9th I participated in The Edges of The Voice – Reading Room #29 & # 30 in The Hague: reading and discussing texts by Anne Carson & Eduardo Kohn together with Amelia Groom, Sissel Marie Tonn, Floria Reznik. ==> Here an Invitation to read the relay conversation further reflecting on what was discussed back then. (drawing by Sissel Marie Tonn)
Sogokuru my new performative installation and part two of my series (Non) Humanism & Animism will get premiered early 2019 at CTM Festival in Berlin. Sogokuru literally means grandfather in Kinyarwanda and will be an ode to the incredible resilience and wisdom of my nearly 109 year old Rwandan grandfather: a HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISH, loud and proud, for everyone to be heard!
Sogokuru is the winning project of CTM Radiolab 2019, realised in the framework of “CTM 2019 – PERSISTENCE“, and is a co-production with CTM Festival and Deutschlandfunk Kultur. It is co-funded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur and ORF. With support of Musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst, Goethe Institut and The Wire Magazine. The first phase of this project was commissioned by Gaudeamus and supported by Fonds Podiumkunsten.
- Click here to see tourdates in Europe
Two winning projects have been selected from an open call for the CTM 2019 Radio Lab. The organisers would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit their proposals, which totalled 175 entries from 43 countries, and collectively addressed the call’s themes and challenges from a wide and interesting array of perspectives.
Awarded by Deutschlandfunk Kultur – Radio Art/Klangkunst and CTM Festival, in collaboration with ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst festival, Ö1 Kunstradio, and The Wire magazine, the CTM 2019 Radio Lab open call sought unusual explorations of the artistic possibilities of radio and live performance or installation mediums, while also addressing the CTM 2019 – Persistence festival theme.
With (Non) Humanism and Animism, Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman researches (modern) forms of animism, and how animistic worldviews have managed to survive in spite of severe oppression through heavy colonization. Herself born in Rwanda but raised in Belgium, Lierman takes direct inspiration from a series of life-changing encounters with her 108-year-old grandfather, one of the last living Rwandan traditional hunters and doctors that has seen the pre-colonial country of his childhood pass through two colonization events (German and Belgian), the 1950s revolution for independence, the genocide and post-war massacres of the 90s, and the country’s present-day turmoil. Lierman’s family visits have resulted in an ongoing investigation into the soundscape of contemporary urban and rural East African, and of her native region of Virunga in particular. The Wire‘s Phil England comments: “(Non) Humanism & Animism will give festival attendees and radio listeners a unique perspective into a contrasting cultural perspective, one that we hope will transport listeners into another reality while providing an insight into a colonial past that needs confronting as well as a powerful, living example of persistence.”
“Persistence in Mexico, as in other parts of the world, or rather, throughout the world, today, is not a choice or a possibility: it is a condition to be able to survive, to be able to imagine a different future … contributing substantially to critical thinking and resistance throughout the world” writes Mexican sound artist Israel Martínez. With Love and Rage, the artist proposes a tribute to the persistence of resistance via a series of powerful, intimate performances that give “a very strong sonic statement on political activism in Mexico, resonating with many forms of persistence around the world.” Marcus Gammel (Deutschlandfunk Kultur).
The winning works will be premiered at CTM 2019 Festival in Berlin (25.01. – 03.02.2019), with radio versions to be broadcast via Deutschlandfunk Kultur (spring 2019). The works will also be presented by the Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF Austrian Broadcasting Service) via one of their platforms: the ORF Zeit-Ton or Ö1 Kunstradio shows, or the ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst festival in Graz in autumn 2019.
The jury consisted of:
Cedrik Fermont (independent artist and researcher)
Elisabeth Zimmerman (Producer, ORF Kunstradio)
Jan Rohlf (Artistic & Managing Director, CTM Festival)
Marcus Gammel (Curator, Deutschlandfunk Kultur Radio Art / Klangkunst)
Philip England (The Wire)
(Non) Humanism & Animism my newest performative installation was premiered by ensemble But What About this last weekend, at Gaudeamus 2018. Here a talk about the creative process moderated by Rens Machielse, former director HKU Muziek & Technologie. Interviewees are me & Marte Boneschansker (who also was featerud at Gaudeamus with her project BLOOS). – Extra guests: But What About (Wilco Oomkes), Matthías Ingiberg Sigurðsson (composer for BLOOS)
Cathy van Eck writer of the book Between Air & Electricity: Microphones and Loudspeakers as Musical Instruments (ed. Bloomsbury) published a wonderful article today about Kropka na Ogonie & Soroka Fruwa (2016). You can read it here on her blog. Check it out !
Gender, voice, language, and identity are four important notions for musical creation, for the shaping of a canon, and for the interactions in the field. All four notions are strongly contextual and carry an inherent sense of paradigm and otherness. Other and self are defined via orientation and history, expressed via voice, and confirmed in language.
In this publication, these four core notions serve as a set of lenses permitting different perspectives on one another. However much the field of the sounding arts might pretend to be tangential to such affections, they provide important grounds for musical creation.
Some twenty artists, including myself, have created a variety of outputs – as different in form, strategies, approach, and language, as they are rooted in a variety of sub-fields within the sounding arts.
GROUNDS FOR POSSIBLE MUSIC is edited by Julia Eckhardt/Q-02 (Brussels), published by Errant Bodies Press (Berlin).
So much fabulous radiophonic news from the German speaking part of the world: last summer Anosmia was part of Savvy Funk at Documenta 14 in Kassel and Berlin. Next month, from May 4th 2018 till June 16th 2018 Anosmia will be featured in Interspaces an exhibition in Kunstlerhaus Kärnten in Klagenfurt in Austria.
And, last but not least, Anosmia will be on display for Radiophonic Spaces: the very first large scale overview exhibition about 100 year Radio Art to be held in Museum Tinguely in Basel, in Bauhaus in Weimar and Haus der Kulturen Welt in Berlin from October 2018 till September 2019. Anosmia will be featured alongside 200 treasures by a.o. Antonin Artaud, Orson Welles, Samuel Beckett, John Cage, Friederike Mayröcker to Michaela Mélian, Brandon LaBelle, Alessandro Bossetti, Ahmet Ögüt or Natascha Sadr Haghighian.
Some geeky impressions from my artistic residency at Gaudeamus and Muziekhuis in Utrecht. Preparing the technical part of a new radio phonic live performance commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek, to be premiered by ensemble But What About upcoming September 2018. Now, together with Ruud van Kluten re-discovering several historical speaker and headphone stereophony possibilities. Most of it is a loud and clear re confirmation of the tremendously deep ‘power of sound’.
photos Aurélie Lierman
I love giving lectures, teaching masterclasses and tailoring workshops related to vocal art and radio art: for individuals as well as groups! I have had the tremendous honour to have been taught in formal and informal ways from an innumerous amount of inspiring and generous masters (see bio); and I am excited to pass on all I have learned and discovered along the way. So from 2018 onwards I’ll be teaching on a more regular basis.
– If you are interested send me a message via the contact page for more info. And click here to see where else I may be teaching in the near future.
Extremely excited about 2018 as I will start a close collaboration with But What About (BWA): a young and promising Dutch ensemble for new music from The Hague. I will join BWA for their project Disrupted Transmissions – focussing on ideas of language and communication. Fitting in my piece Tele Drumming (2016) as well new work tailored for BWA. Alongside existing pieces such as Aphasia by Mark Applebaum, Coming Together by Frederic Rzewski, Gesprek by Martijn Padding & Louis Andriessen, Cheating Lying Stealing by David Lang. Tour dates in NL tba.
I will also feature as a guest vocalist for BWA’s upcoming project Confrontations In Dialogue (USA/NL tour 2018-2019) including works by Patrick David Clark, Jan-Peter de Graaff, John Cage, Louis Andriessen and Sunbin Kim
Hargawaan Por Shail is now in pre-order at Aguirre records!
Gaudeamus the most beautiful and oldest new music festival in The Netherlands has nominated me today to become their new artist in resident for upcoming season 2018-2019. photo Co Broerse, Theater de Kikker – Gaudeamus September 2017
My artistic residency at Lijiang Studio is coming to an end. Tomorrow is my last full day and last chance to make some fieldrecordings in rural Yunnan. Fridaymorning I may witness a Dongba ritual, in the afternoon I’ll be flying to Shanghai for an extended weekend of fieldrecording in a urban environment. Next Tuesday I’ll be crossing the Pacific Ocean direction Montalvo Arts, California, USA for my second artist residency this summer.
• Click here for pics from my travels to Beijing, Lijiang, Lashihai, Dali, Shaxi & Shanghai (July/August 2017)
• Read here more about Asia On Tape, an offspring of my ongoing project Africa On Tape
Globalization and telecommunication at its best ! Today Vincent Meessen and me had a talk about the exhibition Patterns for (Re)cognition at Radio Klara (VRT). Vincent live from the radio studio in Brussels. And me – via the phone – live from Lijiang Studio Yunnan, rural China, lower Himalayas (Yes, flew almost directly from East-Africa to East Asia. Here right now in an absolutely fabulous residency run by Jay Brown & curated by Crystal Pascucci). Vincent and me were talking about Tshela Tendu’s pioneering Congolese modern art in the 1930’s, Tshela Tendu’s one time accidental meeting with Jan Vansina in the 1950’s. In case u missed it, here a link to the radio interview (in Dutch).
click here for new photos from my travels to Rwanda, D.R. Congo and Uganda, june/july 2017
Très Grand Merci – Super dank my countless dear friends, colleagues and former teachers (!): the vernissage in Bozar was thanks to your visit a dream come true. My first happening and exhibition in Belgium as a sound artist, but what a blissful experience.
… and last but not least: thank you Vincent Meessen for your invitation into this inspiring collaboration
If you are tomorrow in The Hague you could witness the birth of a trio featuring Abel Fazekas (HU) and Riccardo Marogna (IT) both on bassclarinet (!) and myself as a soprano singer.
– special thanks to Michael Pisaro and his inspiring concert in The Hague a few monhts ago, as that’s where one of the first seeds were planted for this new collaboration – now daydreaming of tomorrow May 19th, that’s when we will have our ‘worldpremiere’ at Studio Loos, in The Hague/ Same night same place also worth to check out some utterly beautiful new work (performative and installation) by Lauge Dideriksen/Julie Hasfjord, Adam Bonser and Daniel Fabris.
Before traveling to the ISCM World New Music Days in Vancouver in November, Kropka na Ogonie & Soroka Fruwa will also be performed at Gaudeamus Muziekweek upcoming September. This as part of New Makers New Music-Series, in Utrecht (NL). And some more bonding is happening with Gaudeamus… Updates will follow
(photo Co Broerse)
Received the wonderful news that Kropka na Ogonie & Soroka Fruwa, written for and performed by Marianna Soroka, got selected as Belgian entry for the ISCM World New Music Days 2017, in Vancouver upcoming november !! Over the moon, and yes Marianna and me, we are definitely going.
.. meanwhile slowly descended from my journey on sub alpine altitudes in Rwanda. It was a soft and gentle landing into the Lowlands.
Currently developing a brand new sonic sculpture and a new composition for a set of large African drums, field recordings and children choir! I’m so excited that both are commissioned by Slagwerk Den Haag – one of my all time favorite music ensembles – and that both are to be premiered, early 2017, at this magnificent Richard Meier building (the City Hall of The Hague) as a part of City of Sounds.
Slagwerk Den Haag is spreading the love for sound by organizing many workshops and some fab contest for kids, all around the idea of listening and collecting sounds in the city of The Hague – Go and check out http://cityofsounds.nl
if u want to see more pics of the Richard Meier building, click on this one above
This is my grandfather, a light-hearted, powerful and wise soul. Current age estimated between 106 and 112 years old. Just some days ago I went to visit him at his home in rural Rwanda.
He is said to be one of the last traditional medicine in northern Rwanda. People sometimes travel up to 100 km, often barefoot, to get cured by him. In his younger years he would go for epic walks into the subalpine forests of the Virunga mountains: to collect herbs and minerals for his medical practice, to hunt all sorts of wild life and also for beekeeping and honey collecting. He has lived all his live at the foot of volcano Mt. Karisimbi, my own birthplace, just at the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. In my grandfather’s mind that border didn’t really exist. He used to go freely wherever the journey’s leading to.
I consider my grandfather a miracle of our contemporary times: he is the only person I know off who’s experienced all the major (often atrocious) events and transformations a Rwandan person could possibly experience in the 20th and early 21st century. He was around when the pre colonial kingdom of Rwanda was still in function, has seen the early transitions towards colonization by the Germans, quickly followed by the Belgians who drastically overturned every aspect of Rwandan society. There was the violence and turmoil of the Rwandan Revolution in the 50’s and the independency throughout the ’60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There was the 1994 Genocide and the post-war massacres – amongst the worst in his village and region. And yet – in spite of this all – he still is driven by an endless positivity and unconditional love towards his fellowman and environment. His great sense of humor is unstoppable and his erupting laughters and whirling naughty giggles are contagious.
We met last in 2011, and I went to visit him again mid August and last saturday, for some in-depth talks. Especially his revelations about his life as a hunter and traditional doctor were for me – having grown up in the totally different environment of Bruges in Belgium- mind blowing.
An African proverb says “When an African man dies, a library burns to the ground”. So of course I have ‘taped’ every little word and sigh of my grandfather’s parchment-like, ultra fragile and soft voice. And the videos and binaural audio tapes that I have gathered are amongst the most ‘precious treasures’ of my personal AFRICA ON TAPE archive – so I hope the recordings can serve one day as a source for oral history of the Virunga Mountains. And yes, time is against me, but I’ll do everything I can to get another chance to visit my grandfather some time soon to listen ‘nd tape more stories from the past.
Bondy and Nickita, I feel very blessed that you were accompanying me on those very special excursions to Mt. Karisimbi. Thank you also to my precious family in Rwanda for the amazing time we shared together. And to my friends that encouraged me, despite all my doubts and fears to take the flight back home, back to my ancestral territory: BIG THANK YOU !
The past week has felt like a personal big bang… and now my musical world is slowly but surely expanding beyond my own imagination. Last weekend Renan Zeladan Cisneros send me his newest song cycle: a very touching triptych with texts by Gerard Reve, Pedro Lemebel and Yukio Mishima. I do the solo vocal part. Grateful that I’ll be accompanied by Ivan Pavlov on grand piano.
Locked myself twice into a recording studio for vocal recordings in preparation for fascinating new compositions. One by Andrius Arutiunian‘s for tape and ensemble. The other one by Nikos Kokolakis for voice, tape and percussion based on texts by Borges. Very curious to get to hear these !
Meanwhile I also had my first rehearsals for The Cruel Mother based on an anglo saxo horror folksong, re written by Sasha Thiele. My partner in crime in this is Salomé Gasselin (FR): getting goose bumps with each strike on her viola da gamba.
On top of that I yesterday also received a new vocal duet by Quang Ngo Hong. It’s inspired by Vietnamese traditional music with a certain jodel technique, fully written in Hmong, a Vietnamese minority language. Quang and me will sing it together and he’ll teach it to me in person: word by word, note by note, sound by sound.
I have commissioned an even larger number of composers to write new vocal pieces, so I am expecting more of these ‘big bang‘ weeks. Premieres of all these vocal pieces will be scheduled from April on and beyond.
Thrilled to announce that I was awarded the Lucas Musicians & Composers Fellowship at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. So I’m going back to my beloved West Coast in the near future. I feel tremendously honored to have been selected amongst a huge selection of composers and performers from around the world.
Just back home from touring the USA , but already moving on to a new exhibition project in Dar Es Salaam, which will feature new photography and video work by Nicholas Calvin, Tanzanian visual artist. I will reinterpret Nicholas Calvin’s visuals and create several new sound installations from it. To premiere my very first sound installations in Tanzania means a lot to me: all the inspiration I got from several travels in East Africa over more than a decade, now will finally find its way back to East Africa
click on the picture above to see more of Nicholas Calvin’s collection
• EXPO INFO:
Nicholas Calvin (TZ) & Aurélie Lierman (BE/RW)
new video and sound installations + photo exhibition
daily 15.09.2015 – 30.09.2015
Alliance Française Dar Es Salaam
Dar Es Salaam (TZ)
curator Anoek De Smet
Invited by Thomas Baumgartner from L’Atelier du son for a chat about my work as a radio artist. Focussing on Anosmia, a reflection on the Rwandan Genocide, and Sampling the Man of Memory, a sound installation created for the current expo Patterns for (Re)cognition at Kunsthalle Basel (CH)
23h00 – 00h00 CET
France Culture – Paris (FR)