After last week’s introduction to Justin Wiggan and his DEADSONGS project, we’d like to tell you a little bit more about Girilal Baars, who will be joining us at SONICpicnic to perform two pieces for voice and real time electronic processing. In case you missed our earlier posts, the event takes place from 4pm on Saturday 28th November at VIVID Projects and will be our last of 2015. Advance tickets are still available here, or if you like you can pay on the door.

Girilal Baars
is a composer, vocalist and improvisor based in Uppsala (Sweden) who
recently completed a PhD in Composition at the University of Huddersfield (UK) under the supervision of Monty Adkins. Alongside the composition and performance of electroacoustic music Girilal is occupied with research into and performance of vocal music from folk and ethnic traditions, and his work over the last few years has explored the meeting point of these two areas of interest. He will perform two pieces for solo voice and electronics – The Bonnie Banks o Fordie and 20th Century God. You can read Girilal’s programme notes for these pieces below.

“The Bonnie Banks o Fordie” is a live piece for solo voice and electronics, based on the eponymous Scottish ballad (Child 14). The ballad tells of a robber who confronts three sisters, threatening to kill them unless they marry him. Dispatching the first two sisters after their refusals, the third sister questions him and they uncover that he is actually their long-lost brother. Guilt overwhelms the robber and he kills himself. The piece uses only voice, real-time sampling and processing of the voice (i.e. no pre-recorded material) using a laptop. An important concern in the compositional process was creating if an interface that allows the singer to maintain full focus on the vocal performance and yet keep real-time control of the electronic processes (i.e. no pre-programmed time-line or pre-determined sequencing of presets). This is a conscious decision to maintain a connection with the original oral traditions, where a song existed not as a static rendition, but was a dynamic process involving formulas and patterns.
“20th Century God” is a composition for solo voice and electronics based on the eponymous poem  published in 1915 by the Russian futurist Velimir Hlebnikov. The piece is exclusively based on the sounds of the real-time performer’s voice. Hlebnikov, though a Futurist, was not convinced that replacing a pastoral deity with an electrified one improved Man’s situation in the order of things. The doomsday aesthetics, as well as the incantation-like rendering of the text are inspired by the poem itself and it’s imageries of the accelerating urbanization and industrialization of turn-of-the-last-century Russia.

Aside from regular concerts in Sweden, between 2013 and 2015 Girilal’s work has been selected for performances as far apart as Toronto, Belfast, Perth, New York, Malaysia, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Mexico, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Macedonia, Estonia and Italy.