KRAAK FEST 2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker
Continuing the KRAAK Fest 23 highlights are none other than Silvia Tarozzi & Deborah Walker, two Italian musicians whose undeniable talents are mutually reinforced by collaboration and friendship. They took some time from their world-trotting schedule to talk about their latest album, which based on the traditional folksong of Italian female rice workers and upon which their set at KRAAK Fest will stem from 🌾
How did you two meet and what spurred on these collaborations?
We met in 2003 in Reggio Emilia, Italy, at an improvisation workshop with cellist Vincent Courtois. Right after we started to play together both in groups and as a duo, exploring 20th and 21st century repertoire, as well as improvisation and even projects with pop/indie bands. Around 2004-2005 we moved to Paris where we shared more musical adventures, especially while joining the Dedalus ensemble. Our work with Pascale Criton, Éliane Radigue and Philip Corner resulted in a special repertoire for our duo, where our personal creative process could find place in the collaboration with these composers.
- For the festival, you will be performing Canti de guerra…What’s the story behind this project? What has the process been like, from conception to live presentation?
Some years ago we introduced reinterpretations of Italian folk songs into our contemporary music projects, especially the ones sung by choirs of female rice field workers, called Mondine or Mondariso. Our exploration of the sound and style of this repertoire became a game of reinvention and transformation, with our voices and instruments as polyphonic elements to amplify and enhance vocal or structural aspects. Beside the song arrangements, this work brought us to create new compositions related to this tradition, but also rooted in our experience in contemporary musical experimentation. We were born in the Italian region called Emilia. In this area, rural culture has deep roots and it was part of our experience as children. Both the emancipation of working-class women and the partisan Resistance in World War II have an important place in local history. Touched by the evocative power of these female voices and the strength of their life experience, we sketched an emotional territory where our relationship with the geographical and historical coordinates of Emilia resonates with other sounds, other places.
Do you feel like working with these traditional songs has influenced your musical process?
The voices of the Mondine are very powerful, their texts full of meaning. This force in their music guided us in our own “translations” of these songs. It is something that the public can feel during the concerts. This music used to be the music of the people and we hope it can still be felt like that! It was music of everyday life and this element has definitely opened new possibilities to our own creativity, as well as in the way we share this music with an audience.
What other projects do you each have going on at the moment?
Silvia has just presented “Coralli” a new electroacoustic solo in New York and Chicago. After releasing her first song-based album Mi specchio e rifletto in 2020, she will be back in the studio this summer to record a new album.
Deborah will premiere a new piece by Éliane Radigue in Zurich in April, together with the singer Marianne Schuppe, as well as a co-composed piece. She is also working with pianist Chiara Saccone on “Methods for playing”, a project around the work of the Fluxus Italian composer Giuseppe Chiari.