• 30 Years

01_Anosmia (c) all rights reserved Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman

This April it’s been exactly 30 years since the Rwandan Genocide: a civil war often shortlisted as one of the most brutal in history. The presentation of my tape piece Anosmia at Worm, on April 5th, is my contribution to this year’s worldwide commemoration in the Afro Diaspora.

“I still remember how, on April 7th 1994, an ordinary Thursday morning in Bruges, Belgium, I was walking down the stairs, just on my way out to school, when one of my parents approached me… Too much in total shock themselves to spare me any details. As a 14 year old I instantly wished I had nothing to do with Rwanda at all. Now, so many years later, obviously things have changed. I came to a point where I could no longer avoid that subject in my art. And that’s how I came to make Anosmia: a ca. 45 minute long radiophonic composition in which I reflect on the subject from a poetic and artistic point of view.”

Anosmia is an abstract reflection zooming in on the absurd fact that a tiny part of the body, the nose, played a key role in the Rwandan Genocide.

  • Click here for more info about Anosmia
  • Read here Aurélie’s interview about the making of Anosmia on Navelgazers (London)

When talking or thinking about Rwanda one can not ignore the events of April 1994. That history should never be forgotten, because it is never completely behind us…

Yet Rwanda is so much more: that is why I invite everyone to reflect on the past, ánd look ahead at what exceptional and positive things are happening now in Rwanda and East Africa, and elsewhere in the African diaspora.

The presentation at Worm marks the Rotterdam premiere of Anosmia, and my ultimate favorite bookshop vanGennep will for that occasion curate a suitable book table, a.o. showcasing a rich representation of the careful balance and impressive reconstruction in Rwanda.


• Umva! (Listen!)

Kanyoni Ladislas as a family man (medium resolution)

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.

1 Umva! foto's kleine resolutie (c) 08.02.2023 Anne van Zantwijk

photo Anne van Zantwijk


3 DS Magazine pagina artikel cropped 06.03.2023As 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.


4 photo KMMA - Inv. Photo EM - MRAC 5824 (Nyanza J.N.M.) IMG_20230306_102316991_HDR copy cropped 06.03.2023

photo KMMA

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?’

5 Umva! foto's kleine resolutie (c) 08.02.2023 Anne van Zantwijk 2

photo Anne van Zantwijk

If you want to know more about the making of Umva!
DS Magazine, March 2023
Radio 1 (VRT) Culture Club, Feb 2022 (Dutch spoken)

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!