A Guide To Outernational Days 3

A Guide To Outernational Days 3

Written By:

Dragoș Rusu

Published:

September 9, 2018

In 2018, Outernational Days continues to celebrate diversity and to explore the nuanced territories of music. In the contemporary setting of geo-political migrations and changes, culture and especially music is influenced by the transformations and constant mutations. From Middle Eastern electronic hybrids (Iran, Egypt, Lebanon) to Mongolian and Indonesian trance music and sacred music from Zimbabwe, the festival investigates music not only through live concerts and DJ sets, but also through workshop, lectures and film screenings. The program includes bands, ensembles and artists from all over the world: Egypt, Iran, Zimbabwe, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, Germany, Austria, Poland, Australia, Switzerland and Romania.

Outernational Days 3 is presented by Control Club (10 years) and The Attic. Everything will take place between September 19-23 in several venues from Bucharest: Control Club, the National Museum of Contemporary Arts, Anglican Church and Hermitage Urban Spiritual Hub. Festival passes can be bought from here and tickets for the event on September 20 at the Anglican Church (100 tickets only) can be found here.

Check out this day-by-day guide to Outernational Days 3.

2. Day 1: Wednesday, September 19

The festival will open its doors with the exhibition “Under The Stars”– InContext Slănic Moldova 2018. During the course of 5 days, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC Bucharest) will host the contemporary art exhibition “Under The Stars”, curated by InContext Slănic Moldova international artistic residence. The residency lasted for a month, during which the artists transformed the Slănic resort into a laboratory of ideas, talks and creation on human traces in the world, the deepening ecological crisis that aggravates while we follow the neoliberal economic model. The final “Under The Stars” exhibition included fifteen works presented at the Slănic Moldova Casino and central park, culminating with the 4 days festival The Attic InContext. A part of the works made during the residency will be exhibited at MNAC Bucharest throughout September 19-23. More info here.

The music program for the first evening of the festival include Romanian duo Stimmung, the local punk outfit Las Poftas and a manele ensemble presented by Șaraiman: Vasile & Stelian from Buzău feat. Ehsan from Iran.

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3. Day 2: Thursday, September 20

The second day of the festival starts at 5 PM at Tranzit.ro/Bucharest with ODD THEORY #9 _ The Commons Around Us. A workshop for a commons based society, conveyed by Georgia Nicolau (Procomum Institute, Brazil). Maximum participants: 20 people. Please email info@oddweb.org to secure your place before September 16.

Later on (8PM), we move to the Anglican Church located near the Icoanei park, for a series of three concerts: Kӣr (the alias of Serbian musician, resident live artist and program manager of Belgrade’s revered halls of techno, Drug§tore - Bane Jovancevic) followed by the Mbira queen of Zimbabwe, Stella Chiweshe (in a solo performance) and the Moscow based trio shamans wizzards from Phurpa. Since the venue has a 100 persons limited capacity, get your ticket from here (as the festival pass doesn’t grant access to this event).

Stella Chiweshe is the first female artist who gained prestige in a music tradition that's been dominated by men: in Mbira music - known as the backbone of Zimbabwean music. The Mbira consists of 22 to 28 metal keys mounted on a hardwood soundboard and is usually placed inside a gourd resonator (deze). The keys are played with the two thumbs plucking down and the right forefinger plucking up. At 71, Stella is Zimbabwe's internationally most prolific performer, being a prominent star in the 1.0 days of "world music" in the 1980es and early 90es. Since then, things have been getting a bit quiet around the "queen", which is currently changing for good, as Chiweshe is still a breathtakingly powerful and highly spiritual performer.

Phurpa is a Russian musical collective and performance group, recording and playing authentic ritual music of Bon, the oldest Buddhist tradition from Tibet, using ritual instruments and special tantric singing technique. The band was formed in 2003, and the project is named after Phurpa Drugse Chempa (phur pa 'brug gsas chem pa), one of the five tutelary deities of the Father Tantra in Bon tradition (this unique deity has a lower part of his body shaped in a form of phurpa, or kīla, three-edged peg/knife, widely used in tantric Buddhist rituals). The band members are constantly studying ancient Tibetan liturgical practices and ceremonies of Bon tradition, both theoretically and practically. The trademark style of the band is based on a special type of tantric overtone singing/chanting, called gyukye (rgyud skad), from Tibetan words 'rgyud' (tantra) and 'skad' (sound of the voice). This singing is based on the principle of practitioner's transmogrification during chanting meditation. This technique is achieved through an extensive training, including both meditation and physical, breathing and vocal exercises. Special training includes standing on your head while rehearsing (in the inverted position, lungs and vocal cords works more efficiently) and also drinking black tea with chili pepper and cream – hot pepper is irritating your vocal cords, so they are swelling up a little, while cream (or any other kind of grease or oil) acts as a lubricant. Phurpa uses ritual Tibetan instruments to perform their music, which includes dungkar (horn made out of huge seashell), dungchen (three-metre-long horn/trumpet), silnuyen (flat cymbals), nga (double-sided drum), damaru (drum, made out of human skulls), kangling (human thighbone trumpet), shang (bon tambourine), rolmo (other type of cymbals), etc.

4. Day 3: Friday, September 21

For Friday night we move to Control Club, the epicenter of this year’s edition of the festival. In both rooms of the club, a storm of concerts and DJ sets will seriously shake both dance floors, including: the Romanian band Balkan Taksim, the outernational Spiritczualic Enhancement Orchestra (an ensemble of different musicians from different parts of the world), Mangulica FM from Serbia, the duo of Matteo Penessi and Luigi Monteani from the Italian record label ArteTetra.

Lebanese musician Raed Yassin will also present a special turntable set in the small room of the club, followed by DJ FETT from Germany, the Romanian SUPER Trio Mercur (in a live appearance) and our own’s The Attic Soundsystem consisting of Dragoș Munteanu and Shameless Promoter.

5. Day 4: Saturday, September 22

Saturday is definitely the longest and most vivid day (and night) of the festival. The day stars at 2 PM at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) with a screening of the movie “Heads and Tails / Cap și pajură” (short, 20’, 2018, 4 PROOF FILM), by Nicolae Constantin Tanase, with Alex Calin, Iulia Ciochina, Florin Salam.

ArteTetra artists Matteo Pennesi and Luigi Monteani will present two lecture: Exoticism In Music and Indonesian Trance Rituals. So as to be considered exotic, at least to Europeans, music needs to evoke a feeling of something from far-away, a charm of the unknown. From colonial times exoticism, in the days when the West manifested a growing interest for the East, to nowadats exoticism, the phenomenon left strong traces and influenced the course of music.

Outernational Days 3 brings the subject of trance (by exploring it through various live concerts, DJ sets and lectures) and the way it reflects on music to the forefront. Freshly returned from Indonesia, where he researched the concept of trance in local rituals and ceremonies for a year, Italian musician and anthropologist Luigi Monteanni debates over the subject in the frame of a lecture.

Kornelia Binicewicz will also present a lecture on Turkish Women Singers from the 70s and 80s. Entrance on the base of the museum entry ticket.

The evening continues with a special project comissioned for the festival: Outernational Ensemble Conducted by Romanian composer, conductor and musicologist Iancu Dumitrescu, with Bogdana Dima (RO), Derya Yildirim (TR/DE), Diana Miron (RO), Hans Koch (CH), Katharina Ernst (AU), Laurențiu Coțac (RO), Yael Lavie (ISR); Cote (RO) – Visual. Iancu Dumitrescu has long been a leading personality in contemporary and experimental music. His work is based on the experience of sound as enigmatic, amorphous, and massive. He studied phenomenology and conducted along Sergiu Celibidache, at the Trier University, Germany, in 1978. Director, founder and conductor of the Hyperion Ensemble and, more recently, of the HYPERION INTERNATIONAL, along with which he has toured France (Radio France), UK (Royal Festival Hall, LSO St Luke's, Conway Hall), the Netherlands, Austria (Wien Modern, Musikvereign), Germany (Berlin), Portugal (Gulbenkian Foundation), Italy, USA (“Spark Festival” 2008, Minneapolis), Tel Aviv (Hateiva Seder Series), Greece (Onassis Foundation, Athens). Iancu Dumitrescu is one of the most prominent representatives of the spectral music current, worldwide. He is also reckoned as the most world renowned representative of the hyper-spectralism current, as well as of computer assisted music. The concert will take place in a yoga center, Hermitage Urban Spiritual Hub.

The night goes on at Control Club after 11 PM, with a series of massive concerts including Bicikl (RS), Lotto (POL/AUS), PRAED in an extended band formula, with Swiss reeds players Hans Koch, Marc Stucki and Christian Kobi. Many DJ sets are expected to blast in both rooms, including the Romanian duo Khidja, Kornelia Binicewicz (POL/TR), local PARADAIZ Tape Mașina project, Marius Georgescu (RO) and The Attic Soundsystem (Dokia, JB).

6. Day 5: Sunday, September 23

For the last day of the festival, we turn back to the National Museum of Contemporary Art for a movie screening: “Shindy Music / Muzică de petrecere” (75’, 2017), by Andrei Nicolae Teodorescu.

A lecture & workshop on the musical instrument Kanun / Qanun will follow, hosted by Yael Lavie (ISR). The evening at MNAC will conclude with an artist talk presented by Red Bull Music, with Iancu Dumitrescu and hosted by Octav Avramescu (Sâmbăta Sonoră/Unearthing the music).

The night and the whole festival will conclude at Control Club with a series of three concerts: Nadah El Shazly from Cairo, Egypt; Ata Ebtekar aka Sote’s new a/v project Sacred Horror In Design and Turkish clarinet virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi's closing concert. An after-party is programmed in the small room with The Attic Soundsystem (Stutz, D. Rusu) and surprise guests.

Starting out singing Misfits covers in a local punk band, then moving onto producing her own electronic tracks and making a name for herself in Cairo’s underground scene, Nadah El Shazly’s backstory is not that unusual. Her debut album, released on Nawa Records in November 2017, on the other hand, is an entirely unexpected story. Two years in the making, Ahwar (Arabic for marshlands) is an otherworldly record, not unlike an abstract mythological story-tale. Composed, written and produced by El Shazly herself in collaboration with The Dwarfs of East Agouza’s Maurice Louca and Sam Shalabi on co-composition and arrangement duties, the album was crafted across two continents, between Canada and Egypt, and features the crème of Montreal’s contemporary-classical and improvised music scene, most of whom are members of Shalabi’s own Land of Kush ensemble. Imagine the worlds of Nico, Björk and Annette Peacock with the Arabic language as their mother tongue, re-approached through acoustic avant-jazz harmony and re-constructed with a dash of Kamilya Jubran’s modern styling of Arabic maqam and you may be somewhere close.

For Sacred Horror in Design, commissioned by CTM Festival, Iranian artist Ata Ebtekar aka Sote collaborates with celebrated audiovisual composer Tarik Barri (Monolake, Thom Yorke, Nicolas Jaar) and performers Arash Bolouri (santoor) and Behrouz Pashaei (setar) on a project merging electronics with traditional acoustic instruments for a "Persian techno apocalypse." The project takes on the paradoxical task of preserving the beauty of tradition while bending and morphing existing patterns into unique shapes that may eventually become another form of folklore in the future. Nano particles build micro structures, which in turn construct macro networks in a mega system for a magical, textural multi-timbral environment. Tarik Barri’s video work is based on very detailed high definition renderings and textures, that are 100% generated live and allows him to respond to the dynamics of the sounds as an independent voice. The aesthetic of the video is loosely based on the heritage of Persian geometric patterns in architecture, graphic art and decoration, mutated and contrasted by granular and acidic visual noise. This way Barri’s visuals mirror the dialogue and quarrel between tradition and distressed contemporary sentience that is also at the core of the music.

Istanbul’s traditionally informed clarinet virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi is on an intense trip into modern Turkish wedding and party music. The foundations go deep into Turkey and the surrounding regions’ history, which each generation innovates and develops. These days, no wedding or circumcision party is complete without the sound of the micro-tonal keyboard. A new addition, these Turkish keyboardists can play between notes, and supply banging club rhythms in a wide variety of time signatures. At home one may see Sepetçi playing for change on Istiklal Caddesi, the famous Turkish walking street at the center of the city. Or one may see him on one of the TV stations, playing Anatolian songs in his inimitable style.

Festival passes can be bought from here and tickets for the event on September 20 at the Anglican Church (100 tickets only) can be found here. Check out the festival website here and RSVP here.

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and editor in chief of The Attic, as well as artistic director of Outernational Days festival in Bucharest, a DJ, and allround music adventurer.

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