In 2017-2018, Yoanna participated in an international exchange of professional composers and performers called New Music Incubator. The project was facilitated by the Swedish composer Martin Q Larsson and supported by European Composers and Songwriters Alliance, Creative Europe, ZAiKS, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Music Academy Watermael-Boiforts and the municipality of Watermael-Boiforts.
On 19 February 2018, the final concert of the NMI was presented at Maison Haute of Watermael-Boiforts in Brussels, in the framework of the European Composers and Songwriters Alliance (ECSA) winter session.
Yoanna performed two works that she co-created with her fellow musicians from Sweden, Finland, Hungary and Poland: Lars Carlsson, Neff Irizarry, Balint Komenczi and Krzysztof Ratajski.
Here are her memories of the process how these pieces were created:
When I learnt that I’ll perform at the concert together with the wonderful musicians and my friends from three countries: Hungary, Finland and Poland, quite soon I had a thought in my head. Why not to make a piece of music about independence? All of these countries plus Georgia celebrate 100 year anniversary of independence this year (apart from Finland that celebrated it three months ago). Then there was an hesitation in my head since I always try not to mix music and politics. But our discussions on skype and facebook, which revealed how different perspectives we have on the independence (re)gained in 1918 (1917), we agreed that it would actually be quite a challenge to play music inspired by our feelings about independence and freedom… which led us to the exploration of freedom in music too.
Instead of any poem, we took the texts of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points speech. I wrote a melody to the parts of this text, which became the lyrics of our piece, that in the end we called just ‘100’.
“Let the square be the circle”
This was the first time in my life when I could freely EXPERIMENT AND LISTEN how my voice sounds when processed by a computer (or more truly, by an excellent sound artist and composer, Lars Carlsson).
Using two very short motives and playing/singing them in different scales and with different colours, we managed to create a bit of psychedelic atmosphere – though that should be confirmed by the audience!
For me, it was a wonderful experience: to free myself from all kinds of emotions by making sounds.
Walking in the circle and singing felt like an ancient purifying ritual… that in Abkhazia has been called Atlarchopa.
Photos by Francois de Ribaucourts