TranceCultural Orchestra

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Musical resonance in the COVID-19 era...

short link to this page: https://bit.ly/trancetrans

TranceCultural Orchestra (TCO) is a globally expanded Edmonton Transcultural Orchestra (ETO), working asynchronously and improvisationally under covid-19 lockdown towards emergent, adaptive, acephalous resonance - what we are calling TranceCultural/Transcultural Music (TCM). Tracks are layered and mixed over the internet, in a slowly evolving process of global feedback, from Africa to Europe to North America (so far!). keywords: asynchronous, acephalous, emergence, adaptation, improvisation

Overview

TranceCultural Orchestra, Transcultural/trancecultural music (TCM): new approaches to sociomusical connection during pandemic

The physical distancing required by the covid-19 pandemic has created devastating isolation, emotional islands unbridgeable even by the most advanced synchronous multimedia technologies. Building on the CCE’s Edmonton Transcultural Orchestra (ETO), which sought to bridge putative “cultural” boundaries via live F2F interactions, our new, experimental TranceCultural Orchestra (TCO) strives to ameliorate this situation, bridging islands through a new kind of acephalous asynchronous open-ended musical interaction and connectivity.

Founded in fall 2017, the ETO, an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology, stemmed from the humanistic ideals and participatory methods of Music for Global Human Development (m4ghd.org), aiming to bridge constructed “cultural” divides that separate people from each other through socialized sound in live, collective musical performance, rooted in Fernando Ortiz’s concept of transculturalism. Leaderless, and operating by consensus, its sociomusical structure emerged through live, flexible musical performances based on musical scaffoldings proposed by any one of its diverse members.

When the Covid-19 crisis struck we were silenced by physical separations precluding live musicking. Meeting weekly online, we formulated a musical response, the TranceCultural Orchestra (TCO), supporting members’ emotional health and wellbeing through a new asynchronous form of emergent collective musical expression. Members upload “root” tracks, core threads around which others freely spin and upload complementary strands. They also download these tracks in order to weave unique mixes: sonic fabrics that are uploaded once again. Each mix’s musical weave uniquely reflects and sustains the group’s emotional connectivity, supported by weekly online discussions.

Once approved by all contributors, a mix is publicly released on bandcamp

Unlike the usual processes of online music production, the TCO process is highly unpredictable, flexible and improvisatory, centering on adaptive feedback loops capable of producing what Frishkopf has termed “social resonance”, spinning social threads that renew the social fabric even through lockdown (Ethnomusicology, 63:2, p. 306). But unlike rapid F2F synchronous resonance, developed within narrow performative diameters of live music interaction, TCO resonance develops slowly and asynchronously, enabling time for individual reflection and group dialog, and readily expanding to global proportions.

We have generalized and abstracted our particular TCO experiences as a more widely applicable concept: “trans-trance cultural music” (TCM). The TCM process not only removes geographical constraints, but also enables affective musical interaction among those who might never interact in a F2F setting, due not only to geographical distance or pandemic isolation, but due to disparities in their manner of musical engagement as well. Our group connects people presently residing in locales across Canada, the US, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Personnel

  • Allison Sokil
  • Amo
  • Ari Mastoras
  • Arshdeep Khaira
  • Behrang Nikaeen
  • Donna Dawson
  • Jane Zaïane
  • Jenny Boutros
  • Jill Fulton
  • Julia Byl
  • Kanykei Mukhtarova
  • Matt Love
  • Mehdi Rezania
  • Michael Frishkopf
  • More J
  • Morteza Abedinifard
  • Nasim Ahmadian
  • Olga Zaitseva-Herz
  • Rana El Kadi
  • Regula Qureshi
  • Shruti Nair
  • Tuğrul Özer
  • Vahid Macvandi