The musician and DIY music ethnographer Laurent Jeanneau presents his project Kink Gong at Outernational Days, on Sunday, July 3rd.
Since 1999, over many trips to Southeast Asia, Jeanneau has documented the local music traditions of ethnic minorities whose cultures are threatened by modernisation. Jeanneau collects and compiles these unedited recordings into an ever-growing sound and video archive.
Excerpts of this archival work are published on the label Sublime Frequencies and his own label. In addition, Jeanneau uses these recordings, which focus mostly on vocal and percussion music, as the starting point for his own emotionally-charged electronic experiments and sound compositions then broadened by other field recordings. In these compositions, the traditions and avant-gardes of a diverse range of places merge into new, contemporary statements.
'In 2003 I moved to Cambodia, and more specifically to the northern province of Ratanakiri, next to Vietnam and Laos. Knowing very little about the GONGS culture at that time, I was simultaneously discovering the books from french explorers from early 20th century and the ignorance of modern days western NGO expats, both claiming the minorities hit the gongs, but no one dared to call it music! Gradually I had to find out that it would not be easy to record a ceremony where gongs are involved, it needed a reason, they don t just play gongs for a visitor. My introduction was based on few informations, expressing the khmer (the main ethnic group in Cambodia) cliches that the minorities in the jungle were all more or less associated with the khmer rouges in the past, what else did I hear from them ? After having done my first recordings in 2003, 2004 of gong ceremonies, I later found out about 2 historical recordings of gongs from 2 french characters, the first from anthropologist Georges Condominas in the 50s with the Mnong Gar in Vietnam at the boarder with Cambodia, and the second from jesuit missionary Jacques Dournes with the Jarais on the central plateau of Vietnam in the 60s. The first released a LP in 1958 on Ocora and the second got some of his recordings released in 1997 on a CNRS chant du monde CD and I lately got access to his entire collection of recordings.' Laurent Jeanneau.