A soundscape composed as part of a dance drama piece, commissioned by Isha, an organization aiding migrant women that have come to Australia with any troubles they have in their new country.
The intention of the performance was to tell the stories of the women involved in the project. Together they developed a script, fusing anecdotes and experiences with movement to produce a surreal narrative, or more of an exposition of their time in Australia.
These collated resulted in 5 scenes.
They came to me requesting I record the dialogue of these scenes, as the performance venue is a very large one and the women are not professional performers, having quiet voices. And from there it was decided that I should also compose the music.
Scene 1 was a movement devised for the opening of the performance, the theme described to me as ‘arrival’. It is intended to depict the migration of the women, whether it be on boats or by airplane, sometimes they brought their children, leaving their home behind. Before I composed the piece I was informed of how it would appear on stage, the opening in takes of breath and heart beat sounds were upon request, and indicate how the women move towards the stage, in time with the pulse of the sounds. The field recordings of airplanes and water were also included to add to the ambience and theme of migration to this place. I also infused a recording of my brother’s laughter, to signify the children, and finally the Romanian song sung by one of the women in the project. Over all I intended to create an almost melancholy movement, as migration can be a terrifying and heart breaking experience when you leave behind you everything you’ve ever known.
Scene 2 was inspired by a quote from one of the women in which she claimed that “I knew I was Australian, when I started dreaming in English”. The women brought to the piece each of the 10 different languages they each could speak. Among them were Macedonian, French, Burmese, Russian, Nepalese and Romanian. There were several lines of dialogue in English, describing what their dreams included, and each woman would repeat that line in their own language. I mixed them together in a dream like echo of what the Australian woman recites.
Scene 3 is intended to be a skit-like piece, high lighting the funny moments of culture shocks. I merely mixed the dialogue, and added beneath it a recording of Waltzing Matilda being sung, a quirky indication of Australian colloquialism.
Scene 4 is significantly bare, as it is a bold exposition of a few of the stories these women brought to the performance. I merely mixed these stories, adding to them some sound effects to improve the aesthetics of the tale and sound scape.
Scene 5 is the final scene and features the reasons as to why the women came to Isha in the first place, what they were seeking, their ails and curiosity. It is a hopeful piece, intended to bring happiness, to the audience. It is reminiscent of all other scenes, a conclusion. It features again the various languages, the use of chordal synths.