“A stunning shower of sonic force … a magnificent meditation about the possible fate of tradition and technological advances”
“… a total art for the body and the spirit, between memory and creation …”
(Radio France Culture)
The Argentine Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies is a collective of performers and composers who discover and revive the artistic and spiritual tradition of performing on South and Central American instruments. In addition to fostering performance practice on mostly forgotten musical instruments, the musicians build upon the tradition, linking traditional instruments with electronics, composing new works and sharing their insights at concerts, presentations and workshops for children and adults, which also spread to the academic level. They have received special recognition for their work from the International Music Council.
The artists will present their work on two consecutive evenings this year at the Radio Nights in Old Ljubljana, organized by Imago Sloveniae and Radio Slovenia Ars programme – on Thursday 23 August with the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, and the next day, 24 August, at an independent concert. Their guest performances in Ljubljana represent an important milestone in the activities of the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies, as it is the first time that the ensemble has presented repertoire for traditional instruments and symphony orchestra outside Argentina. For this occasion, the ensemble will bring with them an extensive collection of indigenous instruments, masks and other traditional ritual objects, together weighing around 700 kilos! These instruments and masks are the result of their many years of researching the cultures of the Amazon, the Andes, the Patagonia, the Maya, the Inca and the Aztecs.
The orchestra’s core activity involves connecting the sound producers and concert and spiritual practices of the distant past with the musical aesthetics and technologies of the contemporary world. Their comprehensive artistic perspective is complemented by scientific research work, academic studies and a special pedagogical model aimed at educating young people. All of this is the result of the systematic effort of the artistic circle that has gathered around the Argentine composer Alejandro Iglesias Rossi and has been formally operating under the auspices of the University of Tres de Febrero on the outskirts of Buenos Aires for several decades.
A few years ago, the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies received the prestigious “IMC Music Rights Award (2013)” from the International Music Council for “an inspiring programme designed to revive forgotten musical instruments of ancient cultures”. It should be emphasised that this revival is not of a strictly scientific nature. On the contrary, contact with artistic and spiritual worlds that, due to the unpredictable course of history, have vanished into the darkness of oblivion is often possible only through intuitive discoveries, which, of course, are based on the suggestions of ancient pre-Columbian records.
The musicians of the orchestra creatively transfer all of these impulses to the context of the contemporary musical work. They are driven by a desire for a holistic perspective – in their hands, electronic technology is immersed in the power of the spirit, while spirituality becomes surprisingly concrete, parametric and expressive. The result is the realisation that intelligent and deep penetration into ancient tradition can today be just as interesting artistically as the twentieth century avant-garde’s severing of the links with tradition.
The Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies is one of the most powerful aesthetic determiners in contemporary Argentine music today, while at the same time being a leading artistic sextant in the world scene. With its actions, it arouses, awakens and orients (urgent) reflection on the current meaning of artistic activity – reflection that is often lacking in the European (as well as the world) contemporary ear.
The two concerts of the Orchestra of Indigenous Instruments and New Technologies in Ljubljana will be broadcast live on the Radio Slovenia 3 – Ars Programme, offered as Facebook live videostreams and offered to all members of the European Broadcasting Union.
Through my visible self, this Award is being received by each one of the members of the Orchestra who work dawn to sunset with absolute commitment and sacrifice. But together with us, it is also received by a multitude of invisible beings from far back in time, who lived in our lands. Lands that have been destroyed, devastated by Colonization from the Amazonas to the territories of the Onas, Mapuches and Guaranis. From the ancient Inka Kingdom of Tawantinsuyu to the lands of the Sioux, Navajos and Eskimos of the North of our Continent. A huge Holocaust of entire Cultures, along with the savage extinction of their Animals of Power and of Nature, with which they had maintained a sacred relationship. In our times, when the genuine creativity of the people is being threatened by disintegration, Cultures need to recover their own roots within a World that has been hurried towards a Globalization that dissolves its most original features through hegemonic models. Each person, each Nation, as well as each Culture, today more than ever, need to travel their own path. Our primordial mission as musicians is the unbending commitment to preserve the human values expressed in the multiform diversity of the Traditional Cultures of the 5 continents and to keep alive the spiritual knowledge of our Mother Earth, the Earth of us all. | the acceptance speech / IMC Music Rights Award 2013 by Susana Ferreres