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the Genetic Choir blog

regular news about vocal instant composition ensemble Genetic Choir

When it’s dark outside, find a melody or two…

It’s becoming more dark outside and the months are getting colder…
In order to get us through the gloomier winter months, Genetic Choir is opening its doors in January for a playful weekend of melody-making!

21 & 22 JANUARY 2023

MELODY MAKERS WORKSHOP

Melodies are the storytellers of music. Just start singing a few notes and instantly there is a feeling/atmosphere, the beginning and promise of a much longer story. Melodies are also playful creatures, meaning that in bigger numbers they tend to swirl around each other, being looped and copied and transposed, creating ever-new relations and mixed identities, transforming to totally different music or ending in beautiful silences.

time: Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 – 16:30
participant fee: 135,- euro / reserve your place here
place: studio De Eester, C. van Eesterenlaan 302, 1019 JR Amsterdam

In this Genetic Choir weekend workshop, we look at how we use melodies in improvisation singing. Voice work and rhythm will feature along the way, but the focus is on weaving melodies and story. How do you go about it, as an improvisation singer? How do you make it personal and how does ‘meaning’ evolve? But also: how do you work together with other singers when inventing soothing and whirling melodies?

The Genetic Choir approach ensures that you don’t need any particular background to be able to join this workshop. Everybody works from his preferred musical style and own level of experience. The magic happens in the middle.

More info on upcoming Genetic Choir workshops? Check out the agenda.

Let’s talk about Improvisation! – this Sunday @De Ruimte in Amsterdam

Many things have been written and said about improvisation, and still it remains an elusive subject for each new generation of musicians. It’s easy to give up on it all together, because finding words for something that is so multi-faceted and open as improvisation seems often impossible (a popular motto being: “If you get, you get it. And if you don’t get it, there’s no use to talk about it!”).

Still, for all the things that have to happen in order to bring Improvisation to the stage (organising, programming, finding and developing concepts together, selling your act or album, teaching improvisation in whichever context, …) language is needed – somehow.

So at the closing of BIM50the celebration of 50 years of jazz and improvised music in the Netherlands – Dodó Kis and Thomas Johannsen are bringing together a broad range of people from different corners of the impro scene to spend some time to share and exchange ideas in a Round Table Talk. Musicians, programmers, journalists, educators from all over the country will bring their fascination or question to the table, within two rounds of exploration:

What are the essential aspects of improvisation and therefore, what connects us as improvisers, across all genres and approaches?

What is needed for a lively scene that nurtures the craft of improvised music?

Sunday, November 6th, 2022 – De Ruimte, Distelweg 83, Amsterdam

14:00 to 16:30 — Doors open at 13:45

Colleagues from whichever background, but also curious audiences, everyone with a big heart for improvisation, very welcome to join us this Sunday afternoon!

Admission is free, drinks and snacks available. 😀

To share the event on facebook and support the inititative with an ‘Interested’ or ‘Coming’:
https://www.facebook.com/events/836624100867296

podcast “Improvisation!” by VPRO/Radio4 features Thomas talking about Genetic Choir

In the wake of “50 years of jazz and improvisation in the Netherlands” (BIM50), Vrije Geluiden is producing a whole podcast series about the art of improvisation music for the Dutch Radio 4.

In the two-part investigation of ‘Vocal Improvisation’ (podcast #5 and podcast #6 of the whole series, vocalist-improvisers Greetje Bijlma, Kristina Fuchs, Rianne Wilbers and Thomas Johannsen talk about improvising with the human voice.

In the middle of it all, Thomas explains a thing or two about the Genetic Choir way of improvising!

Listen to it here:

Improvisatie! Vocaal (1) – about emotion, sound and text

Improvisatie! Vocaal (2) – about micro-tonal singing, trust and the presence of an audience

And for those who want to see vocal improvisation in action, come to the

Hidden Songs BIM50 concert

tonight in TivoliVredenburg!

21:00 hours, 14-10-2022, Club 9, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

Genetic Choir singers participate in Freedom to Move on November Music 2022

Genetic Choir singers Ilyas Nadjafi en Yank Bicakci are part of Freedom to Move, a project of Sounds Now on international music festival November Music 2022!

They will give a concert-presentation tomorrow night in the Verkadefabriek in Den Bosch, together with ringleader Sofia Jernberg and the other selected singers, Jodi Gilbert, Rianne Wilbers and Paloma Lázaro Arteaga (each of them great improvisers in their own right!!).

October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs. Free entry!

The human voice literally crosses borders in this project:

At the invitation of Sounds Now, a network of European music festivals and cultural centers, singer and composer Sofia Jernberg is working for three days with five singers from diverse backgrounds. They were selected on the basis of an Open Call in which their motivation to participate was central. The participants are asked to leave their comfort zone and go on an expedition beyond language, voice, and musical barriers. The voice is given all the freedom to develop. So: Freedom To Move. The presentation of this intens journey is in October 12, 20.30 hrs in Verkadefabriek, ’s-Hertogenbosch. Bar is open from 20 hrs.

Five festivals participate in Freedom to Move and each selects its own singers with Sofia Jernberg as the connecting link. November Music kicks off this exciting project.

Sofia Jernberg
The Swedish-Ethiopian singer and composer Sofia Jernberg flashes rapidly past all limits of the vocal metier. With her flexible, expressive voice, this voice acrobat is equally at home in improvisational music, as well as performing contemporary scores and her own experimental excursions.
As a workshop leader, Jernberg can boast a wealth of experience. She studied not only jazz music but also composition. Jernberg has worked with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and improvisers such as Mats Gustafsson, Nate Wooley, Petter Eldh and Christian Lillinger. But she also plays a leading role in compositions by Arnold Schönberg (Pierrot Lunaire), Chaya Czernowin and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

Part of the Sounds Now project, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. In collaboration with HCMF (ENG), Wilde Westen (B) Onasis Foundation (GR) and Ultima (NOR).
https://www.novembermusic.net/programma/freedom-to-move

BIM50 receives brilliant review in national newspaper NRC —> next concert tomorrow in Haarlem…

Last Mondays edition of Dutch newspaper NRC featured Thomas and the BIM50 project “Hidden Songs” in a cultural review that described Saturday’s concert at the Bimhuis as a ‘dedicated, intimate listening concert’. You can experience ‘Hidden Songs’ tomorrow evening in Haarlem’s jazz-hub De Pletterij. (tickets, click here) – and next week in Utrecht!

“Vocalist and composer Thomas Johannsen plays in his ‘Hidden Songs’ together with two astonishing singers from world music”

Read the full article further below or here on the NRC website.

Next to Genetic Choir singer/artistic leader Thomas Johannsen you will experience pianist Nora Mulder, double-bass player Raoul van der Weide, Cuban singer Estrella Acosta and Turkish singer Cigdem Okuyucu in unprecedented musical interplay of free improv and world music!

photos: Karen van Gilst

Genetic Choir sounds, world and jazz in Bimhuis, Tivoli, Pletterij coming up!

The feast of 50 years of Improvisation (BIM50) is now experiencing its climax with double-bill concerts with the five intergenerational bands on the big jazz podia of the Netherlands!

Thomas is leading one of them, soloing on Genetic Choir sounds and collaborating with amazing musicians Nora Mulder, Estrella Acosta, Raoul v/d Weide and Cigdem Okuyucu in his ‘Hidden Songs’ project.

1 October 2022 – Bimhuis Amsterdam (all five bands with short sets)

7 October 2022 – Pletterij Haarlem (double-bill, longer concert)

14 October 2022 – Tivoli Utrecht (double-bill, longer concert)

21 October 2022 – Muziekgebouw Eindhoven (double-bill, longer concert)

See all the other bands and events on www.bimpro.nl

vocalist en instant componist Thomas Johannsen valt in de smaak met zijn elementaire aanpak van improvisatie die hij met het Genetic Choir Ensemble ontwikkelt en uitvoert. Onlangs werd dat beloond met een werkbijdrage vanuit het Fonds Podiumkunsten. Voor BIM50 bedacht hij de ongewone combinatie van veteranen en jonge honden uit de wereldmuziek én de vrije impro samen in dezelfde band. Met de geest van de BIM-oprichters in het bloed en drie vocalisten op het podium, staat zijn kwintet garant voor avontuurlijke muziek waarin talloze stijlen verbintenis vinden.

Come and experience this! 😀

Tickets: click on the above hyperlinks per concert.

Try out Aikido – season is starting!

Huh, aikido? I thought this was the Genetic Choir blog?

You are right! But not everyone will be surprised about this announcement here. Aikido principles pass by in many disguises while training your voice and improvisation with the Genetic Choir. If you ever balanced a stick or have cut other people in half during a workshop with Thomas, you know what this is about. 🙂😎

So if you sometimes thought: I want to experience more of this martial art that combines sensitivity with decisiveness, mutual connection with standing your ground, here’s your chance!

The aikido season is starting with lessons on Monday and Thursday evening at the dojo of Kishinkai Amsterdam at the Tolhuistuin (just across the water at Amsterdam Central Station).

It’s the dojo where Thomas is training every week and guest-teaching every now and again.

Check it out on http://www.kishinkai-amsterdam.nl/contact
– The website is in Dutch, but English – also during the lessons – no problem!

Or simply send an email to Chuntug and Robert – the masters of the dojo – via info@kishinkai-amsterdam.nl

Trial lesson for free and an inexpensive first months to check it out – all possible.

And if you don’t live anywhere near, check out the nearest dojo in your city or town to improve your improvisation practice. Aikido is practiced in many different ways, and for that matter, any martial art should improve your sensitivity and split-second ability to make precise choices as a bird in a swarm of sounds!

fotos: Dennis Goedbloed

Watch Genetic Choir in live stream festival – between NOW and the coming hour!

The 24 hour IF festivalstreaming online as we speak – has no schedule for their audiences. You can only tune in and be surprised. But we were informed that Genetic Choir’s contribution will be streamed somewhere in the next 90 minutes…!

So if you have nothing to do, grab a beer or juice and get settled now, and watch the live stream HERE.

Just watched some great Irish musicians turning Irish folk into contemporary instant compositions…

Listen to Genetic Choir & 150 other artists on 24h IF festival!

We are looking forward to this week’s
IF Festival 2022
a 24-hour celebration of improvised arts happening worldwide this Friday night (from 2am Amsterdam time) all through to Saturday night. The festival will feature a lineup of 150+ amazing artists of all artistic disciplines from all around the world, performing original works.

Genetic Choir participates with a work created together with Cecilia Bengtsson, derived from our collaboration with her earlier this year: “Distribution“.

Watch the TRAILER of the festival here

Where do I watch / How do I tune in?

The festival will be streamed on the IF 2022 website (improvfest.ca) under the “watch” tab. You can access the event through this link. We welcome you to treat yourself to a full festival experience as much as you can at home: invite your loved ones over and host a viewing party; bake a special dessert; lay in the hammock; make a blanket fort; ride the stationary bike—it’s up to you!

When does IF 2022 start and end? 

Given that IF 2022 is an international festival, it will begin and end different times depending on where you live. To find your local start time, please use the handy tool on our website.

What if I miss the festival? 

Much like an in-person festival, you can only experience IF 2022 on the days during which it is taking place: August 26th and 27th. This means that performances will only be available for the 24-hour duration of the festival.

Is there a schedule for IF 2022? 

In the spirit of discovery, this festival has no posted schedule. Depending on when you tune in, you may catch a performer you already know and love, but you might instead discover an intriguing performance by an act you’ve never experienced. Countering the experience of art on-demand, we want to invite chance, surprise, and ephemerality with IF 2022.

Collaboration on animal sounds and gardening

This Sunday, 10 July, Sol Archer will be showing a new film work, soundtracked in collaboration with Genetic Choir member Jeannette Huizinga.

They lead volunteer gardeners from the Tropische Kas in Beetsterzwaag, Friesland, to re-perform with their voices transcriptions of animal sounds from the 19th century.

Come and experience it at the 

Kunsthuis SYB, Beetsterzwaag

10 July, 2022 at 13:00-17:00 hrs

Click here for details.

Thinking through the construction of Nature as an image making framework, rooted in colonial scientific discourse, and gardening as a practice of world-making and environmental construction, Sol and Jeannette worked from 19th century documents of animal sounds in Brazil transcribed by Monagasque Brazilian Hercule Florence during the Langsdorff expedition of the 1830s. With volunteers of the Tropische Kas, a 19th century botanical greenhouse in rural Friesland, they re-performed these musical transcriptions of environmental sound through voice, to soundtrack a short film work on the construction and maintenance of the glasshouse ecosystem as image practice.

@sol_archer