Listening Pilgrimage VII: Anthrophony

Friday, March 17, 2023
6:30 PM

Music Box Village
4557 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA 70119


Concert Description:

Music Box Village is pleased to kick off their Spring Film Screening series with a presentation of Björk’s Biophilia Liverecorded at London’s Alexandra Palace in 2013. More than a concert film, it is a “dazzling audio-visual spectacle” (Hollywood Reporter) in which we see the Icelandic icon and iconoclast reveling in the boundless invention of the natural world, and proliferating her own fantastic structures atop it. Björk initially envisioned the Biophilia project as a musical house where people could explore inside the music and collaborate with it, not unlike the Music Box Village! Several innovative instruments were created specifically for the tour including a musical Tesla coil, a midi-controlled gamelan-celesta hybrid, a gravity harp and perhaps the concert’s most unwieldy instrument, the Sharpsichord.

The documentary companion When Bjork Met Attenborough gives audiences a closer look at these instruments and further explores themes of environmental sound and the natural world.

Birdfoot Festival is pleased to be partnering with Airlift to present one of seven listening pilgrimages that explore how we can understand our entwined relationship with the natural world through our ears. Winding through the entire festival, this series of outdoor pop-up concerts echoes themes from Biophilia  encouraging us to celebrate the simple beauty and the mythic dimensions of nature, bear witness to environmental degradation, and meditate on our place in the world.

Listening Pilgrimage VII: Anthrophony will begin at 6:30PM prior to Biophilia Live and feature works by Juri Seo, and local composer James May. More information on the festival in full by clicking the logo below.

James May: anthrophony for percussion ensemble

Anthrophony (n.) – human noises.

“This piece was inspired by the foundational work of Bernie Krause in acoustic ecology. Acoustic ecology is the study of sound in nature…What is fundamentally at stake in acoustic ecology is an acknowledgement of the important role sound plays in the natural world and, more concerningly, how foreign manipulation of an environment (sonic or otherwise), soundscape, and ecosystem health intertwine. 

anthrophony thus asks performers to bring themselves into this sonically interactive space by improvising the piece themselves, going so far as choosing what instruments they use. While not attempting to directly mimic nature, the performers generate a meditative, complex soundscape that reflects the way that sound exists and interacts in our world.” —James May

Juri Seo: Lost Songs for string quartet and clarinet

Juri Seo’s Lost Songs for string quartet and clarinet, is based on a recording of the call of the last living Kauai ʻōʻō bird (Moho braccatus). The recording captures the last call of the species, presumably that of a lone male looking in vain for a mate.

The composer writes, We live in cycles, with birth and death being the primary conditions of our existence. The simple act of breathing encapsulates the cyclic nature of life. Song does too, though perhaps in a more abstract way. In song, a call awaits a response; in song, silence is broken and inevitably restored” — Juri Seo