Friday, July 04, 2008

Nuit Blonk with Betts and Barwin


(Let's just say the i's are the American Falls and the l's are Canadian.)

Last month, Gregory Betts and I performed at his Grey Borders Reading Series in St Catharines along with Adeena Karasick and Jaap Blonk.

We did three pieces. The first and last were focused on sound poetry.

The first was based on the Canadian equivalent of the Miranda rights ("You have the right to remain silent...") and then a 'translation' of 'O Canada' though with all the vowels changed.

Our second piece was a reading from the "Chora" section of our collaborative work, The Obvious Flap.

The final piece involved audience collaboration and was entitled "Niagara" which, as you will hear, falls.


Jaap Blonk was phenomenal. He demonstrated his complete mastery of performance -- using the space & lighting, as well as a remarkable sense of timing, dynamics, timbre, pacing, drama, and his astounding virtuoso technique. He use of his body and the mic was also tremendous. I got the sense of hearing a real master of the form. He performed some original works as well as Schwitters' "Ur Sonata" and a few pieces by Hugo Ball. It made me laugh, though, as he good-naturedly, wanted to make sure that even his CDs for sale found a place with appropriate lighting.

Adeena Karasick was charismatic and funny and performed brilliantly. One piece that stood out was a piece she performed printed on a menu mixing current geo-politics with food. She also screened a poetry video which I found to be a very effective blend of sound poetry, spoken word-like material, art video and popular music video.

1 comment:

functional nomad said...

Thanks for posting these, Gary. Jaap left a trail of digital residue in St. Cats, including a rich array of CDs I've been enjoying. His other work pushes far into experimental electronica.

And for the sake of the record, the 'Niagara" piece was originally written by Ernst Jandl, the Austrian concrete and sound poet.