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FATIMA MIRANDA
RETROSPECTIVE 1992-2010
Release date: 15.03.11
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Fátima Miranda was born in Salamanca and lives in Madrid. After completing her M.A. in Art History, she specialized in contemporary art, publishing two books in this field. Since 1979 she is a founding member of the improvisation group Taller de Música Mundana and Flatus Vocis Trío, which is exclusively dedicated to phonetic poetry. She has recorded The paper opera with the former and Grosso Modo with the latter.

Between 1982 and 1989, she has directed the Music Library of the Complutense University of Madrid. In 1985 she received the National Award of Culture and Communication bestowed by the Ministry of Culture for her book La Fonoteca (The Sound Library). Since 1983, she has been doing research on the voice and vocal music in traditional musics and this has propelled her to use the voice not only for singing and speaking but also as a wind and percussion instrument built into the body. All of the above constitutes the basis for her own integrated musical language. In 1987-1988 she studied with the japanese singer Yumi Nara and she learnt mongol harmonic singing with Tran Quang Haï.

In 1987 she commenced studies of North Indian Classical Music in Dhrupad style with various members of the eminent Dagar family. From 1983 to 1993 she studied bel canto with various professors in order to combine vocal techniques traditionnally considered incompatibles.

In 1996, she was awarded by the prestigious DAAD grant, being invited by the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst.
During the nineties she has created three concerts-performances for solo voice: Las Voces de la Voz (1991), Concierto en Canto (1995), ArteSonado (2000), each of them edited on CD. In 2005 she has created Cantos Robados, edited on DVD. Fátima Miranda has collaborated among others with Llorenç Barber, Robert Ashley, Wolf Vostell, Jean-Claude Eloy, Julio Estrada, Bartolomé Ferrando, Pedro Elías, Stefano Scodanibbio, Bertl Mutter, Rachid Koraichi, John Rose, Hans Peter Kuhn, Stéphane Abboud, Werner Durand, Mirella Weingarten and Sacha Waltz.

She has performed as a soloist in numerous international festivals within contemporary, vocal and experimental music circuits as well as those of theatre and performances, presenting her work in different contexts throughout all the world in Europe, the Balkan Countries, Egypt and in America, in New York, Canada, Mexico City, Brasil, Argentina & Paraguay.

The latest news was the recently premiere of the performance "perVERSIONES" - in the beginning of its international t our at the Theatre Guarda in Portugal on the 29th of January 2011, and then in Valencia in the TEM. Teatre El Musical (20/02/2011). Before that and at the same time, we arranged with her to publish this little retrospective tribute of her works from 1992 to 2000, as an important precedent in Spain, of experimental music using the voice as the main instrument.

 

You can also download in PDF, excerpts from essays and full texts related to Fatima Miranda wrote by many critics and art historians:
READ excerpts
READ full texts

 

Concierto en Canto (1994)

 

This is a concert-performance some consider it a multimedia show, made up of six pieces with a very elegant and precise scenography and lights design. Concierto en Canto includes a video piece, El Principio del Fin. It shows four large-size faces of Fátima herself (singing synchronized among themselves, as well as synchronized with Fátima singing live simultaneously) projected onto translucent gauzes.

There is another piece, Alankara Skin, of remarcable visual character. A beautiful photograph of a nude (7 m. long) by the prestigious artist Koldo Chamorro, is retroprojected onto a cyclorame that takes up the whole stage mouth. Due to this and other elements, Concierto en Canto demands a black box and a stage with a minimum of 8 meters opening, 10 meters depth, and specific stage machinery.

Concierto en Canto may seem to be more sophisticated due to its audiovisual elements, the varied and traslucent vivid lights of the cyclorame and the development of a silk costume, that transforms itself from one piece to the next. The result is very beautiful, for both eyes and ears.

The rare elements that occupye the stage (a ramp of 7 meters length, that ascends alongside the projected body mentioned above, a podium of 1,80 meter height, a blacksmith, a cyclorame and gauzes the size of the stage mouth) acquires sense thanks to a refined light design that blends very well with the subtle and poetic work of the author-interpreter Fátima Miranda.

 

FÁTIMA MIRANDA
INTERVIEW AT RTVE.ES / TRANSLATION TO ENGLISH [First attempt 15.03.11]
WATCH ORIGINAL VIDEO / Spanish version .

 

“Fatima Miranda, born in Salamanca, established in Madrid. Her work begins with the voice as an instrument to penetrate the sound memory of mankind. Her research work around the voice and vocal music of traditional cultures has led her to use the voice not only as a sound source of singing and speech, but also as a wind instrument and percussion.”

Fatima: My first profile was not to become a singer or a creative, apparently. I studied history of art, and I started having singing lessons by Jesus Aladrén first, and by the great contemporary Spanish singer Esperanza Abad. For me, how to say it? I remember the first course that I did with her... I was with a lot of fear. I didn't want to register for the classes because I was ashamed, because theoretically I could not sing. I didn’t know why, but it seemed that the thing I was doing, it wasn't singing.

So finally I decided to make the course, and for me it was really one of the most deepest contacts in my life. Then with María Dolores Ripollés. Then with Evelyne Koch in Paris.
I was setting and constructing my voice, combining some techniques that I invented with the bel canto technique. Then, there comes another time that is substantial in my training which is when I decide, after having created the phonetic poetry group "flatus vocis trio" and another group where we played Llorenç Barber and Dino del Monte, with a cimbal, a romanian , and me singing. I began to discover that my voice started to work as a soloist element and not anymore only as an accompaniment of those percussion instruments - as we said in the Workshop of "Música Mundana (Mundane Music)" -, unconventional wind instruments such as conch shells, horns, whistles, water, etc, etc, but as a soloist...

I felt very excited and very animated to continue. But how? In wich mode, here in Spain ? How and with whom?

I don't know wich light came to me, and I asked to the foundation Juan Marc for financial help, and I went to Paris to work with japanese new chant. They gave me the assistance. I started to work with colors, with the tones, with Yumi Nara. But my stay in Paris wasn't only supposed a contact with the traditional techniques of japanese new chanting, but was much more there. Something that interested me since a long time, was diphonic singing...

Then after, I have the contact and find a Vietnamese who had specialized in this subject and taught me this kind of singing. The diphonic song is typical of the acute "register" in Mongolia, and deep & grave "register" in Tibet , and represents a single voice broadcast out two voices. For example: ( Watch the video )

It was important to get this technique to develop more the voice. And then, what had been the last straw was... I heard about the Dagar brothers - some gentlemen whom I didn't know -, but someone told me about them... of India, music of northern India, from Dhrupad tradition. I called the theater, settled up an appointment with them. I got some classes that helped me not to much, but yes, somehow I started to notice that there was a connection point for my musical training, which really was what I was missing. That led me to contact Ivan Trasleaga, someone who had studied in India for years. And finally I decided to go to India to work with some of the components of the Dagar family. There are currently six components that convey an oral tradition from father to son of the 17th century. This music is quite refined and very difficult and with extraordinary complexity.

I can say that studying music in India has been my true conservatory. That can't be disassociated from all the training I was receiving in rehearsals of the musical experience in the Workshop of "MÚsica Mundana" , being close to Llorenç Barber etc, "Everything" is connected. The voice betrays us. From the voice of an individual you can almost do a portrait of the characteristics, or a lot, you can complete the personality of an individual, build a portrait of an individual. I claim the onomatopoeia, I claim the pretty ["lo bonito"], I claim for the weeping at my shows. That is the targeted use - conducted - of these types of vocal resources.

But why? Because it seems we have to recover, to restore the language function, the root of the sound. We must recover the presyntactic function of language.

And what is this? Because if we look the relation with many of the traditions, the celebrations, rituals, the forms of communication from mountain to mountain, etc. There are several series of vocal emissions which are coded: the irrinchis Basque, the Galician Aturuxos, the albórbolas bereberes, the japanese interjections in Noh Theatre, the empty syllables of Chinese opera,"las murgas" of shamans and griots when them do their healings. Murgas that otherwise are unintelligible. Or the Inuit singing, the songs of the Eskimos. This sound that they make word of mouth, by sounding each other of the Eskimos, wich don´t have any sense and are kind of breaths and cries.

Why? Because, besides being a form of communication, the voice has a great function as disinhibiting, as a huge emotional function, as liberating. There is no instrument in the body unique and exclusive, because in the singing or the voice, the voice broadcasting is as an engine of a car, without a small piece, no matter how insignificant it is... no way... is the ear, nose, are the resonators, the ribs, the diaphragm, the vocal cords, abdomen, etc, the muscles... if something doesn't go, it doesn't starts.

But what happens? Happens that the voice, when you try to see what mechanism is occurring, is a very complex mechanism. Is a push and pull here and there, and when you are trying to explain, what do you feel? The fact is that you don't know how to describe it. Is so subjective what you feel, that in order to recognize you, physically... is like the intelligence of the body. So, for the intelligence of your body, to recognize which is the sensation that occurs, you must have self-knowledge, quite extraordinary self-knowledge, quite fine for all these mechanisms, for understand why the voice, and now when, working on the song, or the creation as I do, it takes you to a deep knowledge of yourself, quite large and as you control it more and while you refine and clean it, you end up improved in many ways.

In my performances, I try to be very austere because I don't want to distract the public. I want there concentration. In fact, I'm always surround by a light that picks me up, or conceptually a light that may have to do with what I'm trying to convey in this work.

The gesture? The gesture is another question. You don't know where to start because you don't know how. And again, why? It turns out that I was working in India and saw my teacher with that beautifull movements of hands while was singing, and I felt... when she said to me one day, and now, to improvise on a given scale. I felt paralytic and absolutely ridiculous. Also to see that my peers - with more time in the courses -, that they were very agile with hands. But imitate them it was useless, because you felt then ridiculous... totally, and after months working there, suddenly I realized one day how I drew the sound with my hands. I followed the glissandos, and the melodic journey with my hands, and turns out to be something. I don't think anymore, is so organic, so is intimately linked to the voice.

I have always loved dancing since I was little. The job with tap one's feet ("zapateado"), as already pointed out a bit here, but it turns out that in the end, everything is attached, and for example. I have a piece not yet released in Spain. I presented the premiere last year in New York. Titled "tala tala que tala tala qué tal" and is a measure that is inspired in a rhythmic cycle in India, and I'm making it with footwork and voice in total syncronization. It is a coreagraphy from the beginning to end where the gesture of the hands and the rhythm of the feet, is like default.
Then we introduce my humorous characteristhic element for example (changing the rhythm and sonorities with spanish words & humor).

The gesture is here part of the theater grace of your character's mood or you're just like you are and that you can't remedy.

The benefits of singing or the disadvantages in relation with ensemble works is not comparable with the joy working as soloist. The type of advantages when you have to enjoy your work and make music with a qualified group is a different type of experience when you work as a soloist. Is very different and owns a number of practical advantages. Time work and time for organising all, get into the scene, to share responsibilities and the decisions when you're alone, you must know, normally... well, I travel accompanied by a sound technician, that works on my sound... depend on you the type of light, the type of dress, type of movement there, the creation and interpretation... in this case is creation in live in the scenery.

For what I owe my audience, it is what is true. Something happens, there's something that makes you feel great. Therefore when you go on stage, first, it's like when you go to make an appointment with somebody you want to seduce, or with somebody you're going to be seduced. Is a kind of ritual. Is a kind of both first, then a kind of challenge, then understanding, a trade-off decision, and then you start to receive and give. And what you give and what you get? I believe that is a species as loop-back, a kind of loving relationship. Is like to love and be loved, and then as you love and receive you need more...

Maybe it sounds a bit strange, but is that, It's that nice. There is another interesting question in relation to the audience. The type of relationship, the reactions, the type ofraised relations in public when on the scene in my performances - at least, multifarious type of public -, some crying, knowing that others are out angry, quite a bit, but of course there is, not always, but one at least... others will come to the dressing room, and people say... a guy who says he experienced something almost transcendental. Others dying of laughter, in the most humoristic fragments of my work. And I say, well, I think... working somehow the voice - of a little wild way - in which I work, with the minimum and maximum, as the voice that has been said of me: through the angelic to the animal... something, now I don't remember, they "put me of everything" in the critics, and I think what happens a little on the scene, acts as a mirror that is, one way to treat many human beings aspects through the voice. I think the audience is reflected, and some people can't stand it. There is people who identify with it, and people are somehow a kind of wakes unaware of their feelings that far, or in any unsuspected case, is the creation that is the composition, the combination of chance, of discipline, studies, and research...

I would speak about training. We all have an unconscious memory of the music and the sounds of the past. A kind of memory of sensations and sounds that conscious or not, but somehow filtered. The creator, I believe that what is filtered through their sensitivity, throughout this mixture of experiences, and everything you live and feel... from what I write, on the architecture and urbanism of the post-war, classes of admired professors... of the concerts I go, in my travels to China, to NY, etc, etc.

How it affects you when the muse, as it is that the muse doesn't know where it has its origin. But what I think happens is that at a time determined there is a click, a kind of digestion... and "pum"!
You get an idea that later when you have the mature work is when you realize, then who knows... I think this is in relation with that and from beyond. And this would have to do with a very nice sentence I read not so long, and it is incredible: "The music creates a past of which we unknown their existence", and is like this for me.

Georges Braque said, related to creation in live in the scenery:
The vase gives form to the emptiness and the music to silence, or silence to the music... and the difference is, there is a relationship in the sense that the void is the space, that it is not as empty space, is itself, and silence as it is, what it is similar in function model... deliberate silences, and that you will distribute the music as you want depending on what you've done and on what you are gonna do. And there are silences so expressive like music itself. Then we could talk from how important is silence for example for my voice practices. I live in a very quiet environment to have a listening much more refined. And well, I think that those who retire to "supposed silence", even though it doesn't exist, is because something."

 

Thanks to the Spanish Radiotelevision rtve.es for this excelent interview.

In attention to english speakers, if somebody wants to improve the translation would be kindly appreciated.

 

 

 

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[ar021] FATIMA MIRANDA
RETROSPECTIVE 1992-2010

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RELEASE CREDITS:

FATIMA MIRANDA : voice & compositions.
Promotional compilation curated by Julian Bonequi.

Front Picture by Pau Ros. Back Picture by Juango Delgado. Design by Aniana Heras.

We want to give special thanks to Fátima for her support & collaboration.

Contact: www.fatimamiranda.com