SONGS TO THE GREEN LAND
Projection and visual design, sound design for concert. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Songs to the Green Land is a new work based on personal Greenlandic stories for choir and jazz orchestra composed by Helge Norbakken (NO) and Jakob Buchanan (DK). A musical portrayal of the longing, the despair and the dreams of Greenlandic people. Basil Hogios was invited to create atmospheric visuals using photographic material and interview footage gathered by the composers on their trips to Greenland. He also combined the images with animated text by Iain S Thomas, in sync with sung lyrics, spoken poems, and field recordings.
Song to the Green Land, Information and Credits
The work is inspired by a series of personal conversations with Greenlanders in Denmark and Greenland about themes such as childhood, nature, family, and friends. The conversations recorded by the two composers were explored further into aesthetic detail in order to bring to life the uniqueness of the Greenlandic language. Together with recordings of rhymes, chants, and magic songs that the Greenlandic writer and visual artist Jens Rosing recorded in East Greenland in the 60's, as well as sound recordings from the Danish Folklore Archives, the rhythm of the language has become rhythmic structures in the music and statements from the conversations have become the text of the work. It is a magnificent, poetic, and very exciting work that combines Norbakken's and Buchanan's Nordic lyrical tone with elements of Greenlandic drumming and choral music as well as more open musical movements. The concert offers a fantastic line-up, where the Aarhus Jazz Orchestra and the two composers are accompanied by the Greenlandic choirs, Aavaat and Anningaaq, and two guest soloists Jonas Westergaard (bass) and Simon Toldam (keyboards).
Aarhus Jazz Orchestra featuring
Choirs: Aavaat and Anningaaq
Jakob Buchanan (flugelhorn)
Simon Toldam (piano)
Jonas Westergaard (bass)
Helge Norbakken (percussion)
Conductor: Carsten Seyer-Hansen
Visuals: Basil Hogios
An major multi-room installation work with Kate Murphy, Sydney Australia. Based on an original audio recording found by Basil of his Grandmother, recording a mournful song about the loss of her children to migration, after war and hardship.
Yiayia's Song information
As part of an installation festival, Curated by Bec Dean, at Carriageworks, Sydney.
"Kate Murphy and I were discussing possibilites of collaborating on an installation project. I told her about an old tape I found at my parent's home, which was about to be thrown out. We discovered that my mother was recording audio on our 1976 family pilgramage to my father's village. It turned out that my grandmother in Greece 'secretly' borrowed the tape recorder and recorded a mournful song about losing children to migration. The Greek word 'Xenitiá' means 'foreign lands', and 'Yiayia' means grandmother. She knew the tape would come back to Australia, and we may never see her again. She was right. Instantly, Kate new the project had to be based on that.
From there, we interviewed my family members about their experience with migration, but at the end of each interview we presented the song to them.. prior to that they had no knowledge the recording existed. The emotions that surfaced were powerful and visible, captured on video. The installation ran on two phases:
1) snippets of the interviews. Viewers were free to wander to each screen to hear dialogue, while an ambient version of the track playing throughout the space.
2) footage of people listening to the song in its entirety, in it's raw form. The intention was to hear the voice reverberating through the eerie spaces of Carriageworks"
From interview with Basil Hogios
The song was inspired by a chapter from The Examined Life’ by Stephen Grosz, ‘A Safe House’, from which the song was named. The Examined Life is a 2013 collection of essays by the practising psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz, which is an attempt to "distil over 50,000 hours of conversation into pure psychological insight, without the jargon." This particular chapter was about a man who had constructed an extremely detailed image in his mind of a house that he would go to when he felt fear and anxiety. He had a childhood tainted with abuse, which has effected his adult life.
Safe House project information and credits
''Safe House' was created by Maia Horniak and Basil Hogios as an experimental process where the footage was captured before the song was made, and then re-imagined in the edit to the final track. It was directed and shot intuitively by Maia, based on the design and concept by Basil, a visual expression of the principal ideas of the Sylektis project.
Sylektis is a collaborative music project, with a focus on innovative process, intuition and chance.
It’s origins were an experiment in remote collaboration sparked by the lockdowns of the Covid era, but evolved to become a diverse, international collective of musicians and media makers. Its artistic focus is extremely broad and deliberately eclectic, paving the way to far-reaching compositions and mesmerising songs with a cinematic flair. The song "Safe House" was inspired originally by a chapter in a book and a painting, then as an instrumental piece was passed onto sound designer Michael Theiler who defied expectations with haunting lyrics and vocals.
More information on the song can be found on the Sylektis website.
Listen to 'Collection One' now: linktr.ee/sylektis
Directors: Maia Horniak and Basil Hogios
Visual Concept: Basil Hogios
Producer: Oliver McGillick linktr.ee/baohaus
Designer: Nino Zardalishvili photography
Set dresser: Artur Safranek
Performer: Jan Syrovatka
Vocals, lyrics, sound design: Michael Theiler (Australia)
Composer, Piano, Synth, Samples, Mix : Basil Hogios (Australia)
Tanbur: Ido Romano (Israel) idoromano.com/
Glockenspiel, vibraphone : Camille De Carvalho (France)