For the third year running, the programme Archipelago encourages an understanding of the complexity of the contemporary world through listening, exploring what is understood by experimental music and the relation it bears to popular culture by way of different narratives and geographies.
The present edition explores the concept of tradition: a term predominantly associated with conservatism and regression in the face of change, but with a meaning that implies the transfer of knowledge from one person to another and from one generation to the next. Thus, it can be recognised more as a way to advance and reconcile and not solely as a skewed attempt to preserve a kind of mythicised originality.
Thus, Archipelago contemplates tradition as a set of shared knowledge, affection and practices specific to contexts, times and groups, and through this prism the programme offers an approach to different artists working with genres which on the surface appear unrelated – (gnawa, noise, singeli, electroacoustic and dance music genres that subvert any attempt at classification) or which, despite their supposed newness, are remotely associated with some form of musical tradition. In essence, the programme backs a celebration of listening as a kind of double gaze at the past – distant or recent — and, more importantly, towards an unpredictable future.
Wednesday, 18 September / From 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Practical workshop on Udlot Udlot, by José Maceda
Municipal School of Music and Dance, Distrito Centro María Dolores Pradera (Calle de la Farmacia, 13)
Udlot Udlot was composed by José Maceda in 1975 “for hundreds or thousands of performers” in Manila (Philippines). For its performance 200 instruments have been reconstructed, under the instructions of the composer, including 50 kalu-tang (sticks), avakkao/balingbing (buzzers), 50 tongatong (stamping tubes) and 50 tungali (flutes). The piece demonstrates Maceda’s interest in traditional music and instruments from Southeast Asia.
Thursday, 19 September / From 7:45pm to 8:30pm
Miguel Nava and Rafa Martín
Iglesia de San Millán y San Cayetano (Calle de Embajadores, 15)
Miguel Nava is a music and scholar responsible for recovering the mountain pipe, an instrument made from cane, wood and bone, typical in the Madrid mountains. Rafael Martín, meanwhile, is a musicologist and medieval historian, and a performer and scholar of the hurdy-gurdy, a medieval bowed instrument operated with a handle and 21 keys and often used as a basso continuo. Both teach classes at Entresierras, a traditional School of Music and Dance in Madrid’s Sierra Norte.
Friday, 20 September
Museo Reina Sofía
Sabatini Building, Auditorium
Rashad Becker 6:30pm
A Berlin-based composer and musician who conceives his pieces as multi-layered narratives, populated by a set of sonic entities, some obtrusive, some timid, and others ready to surrender. There is often shades of tragicomedy in his work, a kind of cartoon version of what could be a requiem of a dream (or simply a ritualistic fertility dance from another dimension). His recent works include the two-volume series Traditional Music Of Notional Species released on the PAN label and a multi-part work called Based On A True Story, which draws inspiration from historical events in a kind of “sonic staging”. Along similar lines, Becker collaborates with the contemporary orchestra Alarm Will Sound, from New York, and the Derlin Kaleidoskop string ensemble, from Berlin.
Ipek Gorgun 7:15pm
A Turkish sound artist and composer who works in the field of electroacoustic music. Her output is characterised by dense, intricate narratives that swing between calm and tranquil vignettes and dense landscapes, where sound appears to bring down the structures articulating it. This is substantiated in her collaborations with artists like Egyptrixx and Fennesz, and her own albums Aphelion (2016) and Ecce Homo (2018), the latter of which sets forth an exploration into the human capacity to produce both beauty and destruction.
Sabatini Building, Vaults Gallery
Nina García 8pm
French improviser Nina García presents her solo project Mariachi. Her concerts in electric guitar are a classic example of unbridled energy, with García’s approach to such an iconic instrument like the guitar an exploration of its potential, yet without attempting to exhaust its sound palette. Like the sculpting of objects, the sonic matter, her expression as a performer and the instruments all become the acts of the artist in a constantly evolving indissoluble whole.
Saba Alizadeh 8:30pm
A sound and visual artist and a master on the kamancheh, an Iranian spike fiddle, Saba Alizadeh is one of the pre-eminent names in Iran’s musical landscape. Alizadeh is the son of internationally renowned musician Hossein Alizadeh and the founder of Noise Works, a platform for disseminating sound experimentation in his native Tehran. For this programme the artist will perform a concert in line with his excellent Scattered Memories (2018), an album that seeks to synthesise Iranian music with contemporary electronic music.
A project created in 2018 by Enrique Garoz de Diego and Garazi Gorostiaga, two prominent musicians in Spain’s underground scene. Although Gorostiaga recently released her debut album Irauten (2017), Enrique has been releasing scores of productions over the past decade under different pseudonyms, including Tube Tentacles. Moreover, he has collaborated with pioneers in the noise scene, for instance The Haters and Toshiji Mikawa (from Incapacitants). Gaba, therefore, offers dark atmospheres and interludes of coarser noise, drawing inspiration from science fiction imagery and esoterism.
Sabatini Building, Garden
Síria is a new project by Portuguese artist Diana Combo, in which her voice is added to her usual practice as EOSIN, a previous project, where she combined field recordings and vinyl records. In addition to her work as an artist, Combo has curated music and sound art projects at Lisbon’s Teatro do Bairro Alto, and since 2013 she has been researching the archive of songs on work in rural Portugal compiled by ethnomusicologist Michel Giacometti. Some of these songs are included in her pieces through processes of re-appropriation, sampling and reinterpretation.
R. Vincenzo 8:30pm
A self-dubbed “sample samurai”, Ricardo Vincenzo is an artist from São Paulo whose practice involves editing and mixing, in real time, fragments of tracks from a broad array of regions and folklore. The result is a kind of collage, a syncretic ‘mash-up’ where the organic melds with the electronic, and where constituent elements are resignified and transformed. Vincenzo is a member of two other renowned São Paulo initiatives, the group Roda da Sample and the collective Voodoohop.
Lechuga Zafiro 9:30pm
Pablo de Vargas, a musician from Montevideo, explores experimental music through a vindication of popular elements, with his music the outcome of an early fascination with such widely diverse genres as cumbia, kuduro, tribal guarachero and particularly candombe percussion, an Afro-Uruguayan tradition he also explores as a member of the group F5. Under the name Lechuga Zafiro his tracks have also been championed by figures such as Matías Aguayo, Errorsmith, Kode 9 and Burial. In Archipelago his contribution promises a session of Latin-rooted, mutating and futuristic rhythms.
Saturday, 21 September
Museo Reina Sofía
Retiro Park, Palacio de Cristal
Udlot Udlot by José Maceda 1pm
Udlot Udlot, presented in the Palacio de Cristal — built in 1887 to house the General Exhibition on the Philippine Islands — sets out to consider colonial exploitation on these islands. Composer and musicologist José Maceda (1917–2004) studied music from east and west Africa, Brazil and Southeast Asia. In Paris he met European composers like Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis and studied ethnomusicology in the United States. In the 1990s he founded the UP Center for Ethnomusicology and wrote a number of books, including Gongs & Bamboos, an approach to Philippine musical instruments.
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 400 Hall
Miguel Ángel del Ser is a record collector who lives in Madrid. Between December 2017 and October 2018 he produced a series of DJ sessions under the name Psicolabio for Svala Radio. These sessions, characterised by the domestic exoticism of the wunderkammer (cabinets of curiosities), were recognisable for their tone, broad-ranging styles and thematic arrangement.
A group of Madrid-based tambourine players. Their repertoire, compiled by Xurxo Fernandes, is made up of Galician songs and Sephardic songs from Turkey and Greece, some of which represent the final links of oral lore from the villages and towns where they were recorded. These songs bind and accompany dance in impromptu gatherings.
Żywizna (Raphael Rogiński + Genowefa Lenarcik) 5:30pm
Led by his interest in ethnomusicology, guitarist Raphael Rogiński moves to and from different coordinates, from jazz to blues to Jewish music. The focus of his group Żywizna, alongside vocalist Genowefa Lenarcik, is musical tradition from the Polish region of Kurpie — Żywizna means “nature” in the dialect from this area, Genowefa’s birthplace and the place where her father, Stanisław Brzozowy, was a true institution of local folk music. In this project, the musical legacy of Kurpie collides with Rogiński’s electric guitar, taking these songs to new places.
Lea Bertucci 6:15pm
An American composer, performer and sound designer who works in the field of electroacoustic music, inside the minimalist tradition of Julius Eastman, Éliane Radigue and La Monte Young, but without overlooking music recorded in Burundi, Finland, Bulgaria and Ethiopia. Her concerts for alto sax engage specifically with their surroundings via extended techniques and psychoacoustic feedback. For instance, her 2019 record Resonant Field was conceived to experiment with the resonances of the inside of an abandoned grain silo; that is, a huge concrete cylinder which is part of the Silo City industrial complex in Buffalo, New York.
Kolida Babo 7pm
Koliada is the Slavic name for the celebration of the new solar year, known in other parts of Europe as the winter solstice or Christmas. Greek artists Socratis Votskos and Harris P adopted the name Kolida Babo for their collaboration when they began to record their first record around this time of year. Both play the duduk, a woodwind instrument originating from Armenia and popularised by Djivan Gasparyan, one of the group’s primary influences, together with spiritual free jazz, kosmische electronic music and traditional music from the Greek regions of Epirus and Thrace.
Asmâa Hamzaoui y Bnat Timbouktou 7:45pm
Artist Asmâa Hamzaoui, daughter of maâlem or the master Rachid Hamzaoui, plays the guembri, a kind of three-string bass, accompanied by Bnat Timbouktou (Daughters of Timbuktu), krakebs and castanets. The set-up constitutes one of the few all-female Moroccan Gnawa groups. Like diwan or bilali (Algeria), stambali (Tunisia), and sambali (Fezzan, Libya), gnawa music originates from the brotherhoods of the slaves who practiced possession rites and the members of which maintain they descend from Bilal, the first Abyssinian (Ethiopian) converted to Islam.
Bamba Pana & Makaveli 8:30pm
A collaboration made up of Bamba Pana, a producer, and rapper Makaveli, which is one of the finest exponents of singeli, a music movement that caused a stir among youths from the Dar es Salaam neighbourhoods (Tanzania), with the Ugandan label Nyege Nyege Tapes catapulting them on to the world stage. Drawing influences from autochthonous genres such as taarab, mchiriku and bongo flava, Tanzanian hip-hop, this duo’s music is played at dizzying speed, faster than Gabber — exceeding 180 bpm – leaving those who venture to dance exhausted.
Organized by: Museo Reina SofíaCuratorship:Rubén Coll and José Luis EspejoEducation programme Udlot Udlot:Fran MM Cabeza de Vaca, Cristina Gutiérrez and Jesús Jara
Wiyh the collaboration of:
Madrid City Council (subsidies for festivals, exhibitions, events, congresses and other cultural events 2018–2019)With the support of:
Goethe-Institut Madrid, the Philippine Embassy in Spain, the Spanish Embassy in the Philippines, and the UP Center for EthnomusicologyWith the technical support of:
the Centre of Performance Technology (CTE), the National Institute of Performance Arts and Music (INAEM) and the Municipal School of Music and Dance, Distrito Centro María Dolores PraderaWith the sponsorship of:Venues:
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Sabatini Building (Santa Isabel, 52)
Capacity: 80 people. Space without customised physical accessibility
Capacity: 500 people
Capacity: 144 people
Auditorium 400 Hall
Capacity: 270 people
Palacio de Cristal
Capacity: 200 people
Municipal School of Music and Dance, Distrito Centro María Dolores Pradera
(Calle de la Farmacia, 13)
Iglesia de San Millán y San Cayetano
(Calle de Embajadores, 15)
Capacity: 400 people