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dramaturgy & scenic arrangement //  

Migrating Voices

(2022) performative concert of OTUCHA-Collective


Premiere Date 04.09.2022

Ufa Fabrik Tempelhof

Viktoriastraße 10-18

12105 Berlin

The project Migrating Voices - Songs from Field and Forest is an acoustic voice performance of traditional songs from Eastern and Central Europe as well as own compositions for four voices, which is specially created for the premises of the UfaFabrik in Tempelhof and performed with the technique of so-called "open singing".

The performance portrays the power of Eastern European songs and seeks new, contemporary contexts for an art form that is always alive, always changing. Migrating Voices - Songs from Field and Forest examines the place these songs, which have changed over the centuries and originated in specific environments and ecology, can have in the contemporary sound space of the city.

The repertoire from which this performance draws is based on traditional songs from Eastern and Central Europe, especially from Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belarus. For Migrating Voices - Songs from Field and Forest, those songs should be selected in particular that express a special connection to the environment: songs about distance, about travel but also about the spaces that were traversed: nature, about forests, fields and non-human environments, songs about how humans and nature changed together over the course of the seasons and thus went through a transformation. For us, these are moving songs, songs that not only speak of a change in the environment and the seasons, but also of the fact that these songs themselves are constantly changing, being born, growing, and also passing away.

For us, the songs are carriers of a unique energy, they have their own anatomy and they occupy their own space. They are like sonic organisms that have traveled the world along with the people and the communities that sing them. They are songs that emigrated from their countries of origin, came from another side of the world. The songs have wandered for generations. They were shaped by changes in borders, political systems and individual human lives. They changed the melody or lyrics because someone forgot the verse or something important happened in their life and added them to the song that they learned from their mother. Even in the modern world not much has changed in this relationship between music and song; Even today, people sample, improvise, and well-known and traditional music are enriched with contemporary elements, changed and rearranged.


We want to express this feeling of change, of migration. We don't just want to present traditional songs, we want to find ways to give these songs a place in the contemporary world. The basis of the concert is therefore a composition that, in addition to traditional songs, also includes special experimental vocal compositions that were created for the location. Just as traditional music was created while working in the fields, we too would like to create songs and sounds especially for the UfaFabrik space. We want to point out the diverse sound of the place, its 'acoustic ecology', the tension between the natural and cultural sounds that can be heard there. In this way, the vocal compositions become events that are framed by the soundscape of the natural terrain and at the same time point to the acoustic quality of the place between space, body and movement, migration and rooting, nature and culture.

This fact should also be expressed through the special bodily performance of these songs: The performance are arranged and choreographed in the near-natural outdoor area of ​​the UfaFabrik in order to refer to the architectural peculiarity and the resonance between the vocal art and the environment. The vocal execution of the songs should also have a special focus: the songs should be performed using the technique of so-called 'open singing'. It grows right out of open spaces where the voice has been in strong contact and resonance with the surrounding soundscape. The space and the environment formed the voice and the voice formed the space. The 'open singing' has a special presence that distinguishes it from classical singing and thus makes it so special for outdoor spaces - for singing at a distance.

In a time of pandemic restrictions, the project also wants to show the importance of vocal communication in our social, cultural and ecological coexistence. Migrating Voices - Songs from Field and Forest is not only a special musical experience of the repertoire of Eastern European vocal art and the technique of open singing, which is rarely experienced in Berlin, but also of the tonal ecology of the UfaFabrik.

Concept Paulina Miu Kühling, OTUCHA-Collective & Jan-Tage Kühling // Voice Direction Paulina Miu & Jan-Tage Kühling // Scenic arrangement & dramaturgy Jan-Tage Kühling // Performance OTUCHA-COLLECTIVE Paulina Miu Kühling, Ewa Brokos, Agnieszka Bułacik, Julia Legeżyńska, Ola Zielińska // photo& film Jan Gehmlich

With friendly support of UFA Fabrik Tempelhof; Funded by: Bezirksamt Tempelhof-Schöneberg

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