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Songs for the other half of the sky. With 'Erkos' (1990-91) and 'Galaxies' (1986-1996). Performed by Junko Ueda (satsuma biwa and voice) and Jean-Claude Eloy (sound projection).
Erkos is a word from the Indo-European language and means song, praise. It is close to the Sanskrit word Arkas (hymn, chant, radiance) and to the Tokharien term Yarke (reverence, homage). The texts consist of extracts from the Devî-Upanishad and Devî-Mâhâtmya writings, in Sanskrit. In those texts, an homage is paid to the Goddess who, in Indian philosophy, is considered as the mother of all energies. For this work, I have been inspired by Junko Ueda, a particularly gifted young musician whom I met in Japan in 1987, mastering at the same time the traditional technics : those from Japan (Shômyô and Satsuma-Biwa), those of the other countries of Asia (Gamelan), as well as the western technics (piano, composition). It was possible, with a performer of such a vast background, to translate these ancient and original techniques into a free contemporary creation without distorting their original nature. Erkos was commissioned by the Cologne Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), at the invitation of Karlheinz Stockhausen, in collaboration with the Institut Français de Cologne and was produced in its entirety in 1990-91 at the WDR Electronic Studio.The electroacoustic materials are essentially concrete in nature and have been drawn from three sources Junko Ueda's voice, Satsuma Biwa (plucked string instrument with plectrum), Unban (metallic plate with complex resonance). Consequently, the recording studio is not used here as a generator but as a 'multiplier-transformer' to the soloist, who is the real origin of all sounds. Symbolically, she is the source, the Goddess-mother as written about in the Sanskrit texts I have used here.
'Galaxies' is an electroacoustic work composed of two large groups of elements, contrasting with each other in function, construction, etc. but still unified as they are born from the same sources of timbre and treatment : the Japanese Shô (traditionnal mouth organ) from which all of the work's sound material is taken, to which are added an ensemble of five Bonshô's (temple bells from Japan and Korea).