Joji Yuasa (Japan, 1929) : My Blue Sky (1976) – 15’45”
Six 1/4 inch tapes with music produced at the NHK Electronic Music Studio in Tokyo between 1955 and 1976 were donated to the Institute of Sonology by the Japanese Broadcasting Center NHK for promotional purposes in the seventies. This version of the Yuasa’s piece My Blue Sky from 1976 is part of this rare collection.
Joji Yuasa was born in Korijama (Japan) in 1929. In 1951, together with the composer Tōru Takemitsu and other artists and musicians, he founded Jikken Kobo (Experimental Workshop), an organization for the exploration of new directions in the arts, including multimedia. He received a number of fellowships and won numerous national and international awards, among others the Prix Italia in 1966 and 1967 for radiophonic works and the 1996 Suntory Music Award. Yuasa was commissioned major compositions for the Expo’70, the World Fare held in Osaka in 1970. Orchestral works of his were performed world wide, among others by the conductors Seiji Ozawa and Michael Gielen. From 1981 to 1994 he was a music researcher and professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he is currently a professor emeritus. He has also served as a guest professor at the Tokyo College of Music since 1981, and a professor for the postgraduate course of the College of Arts at Nihon University since 1993.
Anosmia (2013) is a tape piece built around the poem ‘Politics Of The Nose’ by David Mwambari (RW). ‘Politics Of The Nose’ is a poetic tableau vivant about the events of the Rwandan genocide, which began 20 years ago, on April 7th, and lasted until mid July of 1994. Between 500000 and one million Rwandans were killed within only 100 days.
The two major populations in Rwanda, the Hutu and Tutsi people share the same religion, culture and language. But back in the early 90’s Hutu extremists assembled together a pseudo racial theory and used that as a basis for a large scale anti-Tutsi propaganda. Via public radio Hutu extremists were broadcasting hate messages and ordered to exterminate the Tutsi people. Millions of Hutu moderates got manipulated and in April 1994 the whole propaganda machinery escalated in a bloody civil war. Four months long a whole nation was haunted by and hunting down ‘the enemy’, while actually often the enemy had to be found within oneself or one’s relatives. Distinguishing a ‘real Tutsi’ from a ‘real Hutu’ is anyhow difficult due to intermarriage. So during this period of war and terror tough decisions had to be made, often in no time: e.g. What if you were married to a Tutsi and had children with ‘enemy blood’? Back in 1994 the brutal killings within one family or household were countless! Anosmia wants to reflect on the almost absurd fact that a tiny part of the body, the nose, played a key role in the genocide: the length of a nose was decisive to classify the enemy. Even if your passport said that you were ‘Hutu’, if you had a long and thin nose you were considered a Tutsi, so you’d have to hide or run for your life.
Nowadays in Rwanda the subject of ethnicity has become a taboo: it is by law forbidden to use the words Tutsi and Hutu in public.
Aurélie Lierman was born in Rwanda and grew up in Belgium from the age of two. She is an independent radio producer, vocalist and composer. In Anosmia Aurélie Lierman combines her original Rwandan field recordings with sound poetry, a trombone and a western grand piano, which is ‘prepared’ and transformed into an African percussion ensemble. Anosmia is part of the ‘Fearless Radio’ project and was commissioned by Saout Radio for the “Curated By” series of Kunstradio (ORF) (world premiere in February 2014). For more info see www.aurelielierman.be
Aurélie Lierman will perform Anosmia on April 10th 2014 during the April edition of the Éphémère concert series at Studio Loos in Den Haag.