Du Yun: The soul of the healer, a storyteller

Music Weekly
March 5, 2019
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文 | 童昕

2015年,Khaled Jarrar在巴勒斯坦当地报纸上看到一则求助广告:一个老妈妈在上世纪40年代阿以战争中由以色列迁居叙利亚,而在叙利亚内战中再次沦为难民。Khaled立即收拾行囊与这家人一起生活,并将这段为期一个月的难民之旅用镜头记录下来。

2016年Khaled与作曲家杜韵在纽约重逢,叙旧之余,杜韵被这个故事深深感动,立即决定与Khaled合作、选取影相素材拓展成一部以难民为题的音乐作品。这部作品名为《Where We Lost Our Shadows》(我们遗失身影的地方),由伦敦南岸艺术中心、肯尼迪中心、卡内基音乐厅、美国作曲家管弦乐团与Cal表演艺术中心共同委约,于2019年4月11日卡内基音乐厅主办的同名主题音乐会中由美国作曲家管弦乐团担任纽约首演,并收录于卡内基音乐厅及美国国家地理杂志的《迁徙》系列中。


关于创作,杜韵说,“在我的音乐中,人永远是我第一个考虑的。我与Khaled决定创作这部作品以后,先是想到了巴基斯坦艺术家Ali Sethi所唱的印度传统拉格、Helga Davis的高音和Shayna Dunkelman的鼓声。还有加桑·扎克坦的作品。他的诗有时候好像泰戈尔一样,对家国的向往悠远绵长。我今年去巴勒斯坦拜访他的时候,更是亲身感受到身处战乱的人对家的渴望。”

作品由黑暗中开始,打击乐独奏举起一只金色的铝箔圆盘遮住面容,追光下反射出太阳一般的光亮,铝箔在乐手手中窸窣作响,瞬间将观众带入不安的情绪。影相中白色布景上有三颗石榴籽缓缓坠落,打击乐手用全力,敲出三响沉重的鼓声,鼓声由沉重转为高亢,带出了电子坦布拉长音与Ali Sethi的悠扬转折的拉格歌声,充满希冀。拉格作为印度古老的音乐传统,以口口相传的模式记录着印度的历史,歌颂人与自然的情感。视频中孩子们带着天真的笑容回答拍摄者的问题,“我们要去德国,我们睡在大街上。”影像转入夜晚,人们边徒步行走边唱着歌驱赶疲劳,转而管乐疾走,暗示了前方未知的旅途。视频中,一家人到达了火车站,比起孩子的天真烂漫,十几岁的姐姐思虑甚远,“我们是要去移民的,并不是去做游客的,这完全不一样。”Ali的拉格转而变得惊恐而不安,打击乐将Ali的歌声推向高点。作品选取的几个拉格段落均与水相关,有水,有雷雨,有润物细雨,而这段中所演唱的便为雷雨段落。伴着乐队,Helga缓缓地用高音唱起了加桑·扎克坦的诗《枕头》:









杜韵不愿作形式上的“混搭”,不愿做音乐中的“游客”。她的访谈中,好多关于创作选择的因果关系里总是包含一些不能用言语来搭建的部分。但当你听到她的作品时,便可以感受到这些正是她女性特有的直觉与灵感,不可言说之处,一切都恰如其分,逻辑关系严丝合缝。由巴基斯坦歌手演唱印度拉格来讲诉叙利亚难民的故事,正是杜韵的音乐隐喻:Ali Sethi的拉格老师言,音乐存续千年,现代国家建立百年;观众随着不同音乐元素在历史中穿梭,有古老的拉格、现代的器乐、电子的坦布拉,以音乐在时空中的旅途隐喻了人类历史中永恒的迁徙;其中共通的便是一代又一代人对美好生活的追求,与坚韧不拔的精神。


In 2015, Khaled Jarrar saw a help-seeking advertisement in a local Palestinian newspaper: an old mother moved to Syria from Israel during the Arab-Israeli war in the 1940s, and once again became a refugee in the Syrian civil war. Khaled immediately packed his bags and lived with the family and recorded the one-month refugee trip with a lens.

In 2016, Khaled and the composer Du Yun reunited in New York. After the old days, Du Yun was deeply touched by this story. He immediately decided to cooperate with Khaled and select the film material to expand into a musical piece with refugees. The work, called “Where We Lost Our Shadows,” is a joint commission between the London South Shore Art Center, the Kennedy Center, the Carnegie Hall, the American Composer Orchestra, and the Cal Performing Arts Center. On April 11, 2019, the American Society of Composers Orchestra was premiered in New York at the theme concert of the same name hosted by Carnegie Hall and included in the Carnegie Hall and National Geographic magazine’s Migration series.

Before the premiere, Du Yun said, “As a creator of performing arts, I have a viewer who has 30 minutes of attention and is not subject to outside interference. This is the power of performing arts and the luxury that is exclusive to artists. I am here. It is my social responsibility to choose what to show to the audience within 30 minutes. I have been paying attention to the living conditions of human beings, regardless of the human trafficking problem in “Bone of the Angels” or this work, there are more than 6,000 in the world. 10,000 people are displaced, maybe tomorrow is our turn. What I want to eliminate in this work is the boundary between this ‘self and others’.”

Regarding creation, Du Yun said, “In my music, people are always my first consideration. After I decided to create this work with Khaled, I first thought of the traditional Indian Lager, Helga sung by Pakistani artist Ali Sethi. Davis’s treble and Shayna Dunkelman’s drums. There is also the work of Gassan Zaktan. His poems sometimes seem like Tagore, longing for his home country. When I visited him this year in Palestine, I was personally Feel the desire of people in war to be at home.”

The work begins in the darkness. The percussion solo lifts a golden aluminum foil disc to cover the face, and the light reflects the sun’s general light. The aluminum foil creaks in the hands of the musicians, bringing the audience into an uneasy mood in an instant. . In the white background, three pomegranate seeds slowly fell, and the percussionist used all his strength to knock out three heavy drums. The drum sound changed from heavy to high, bringing out the electronic Tambra and Ali Sethi. The melodious turning of the Lager song is full of hope. As an ancient Indian music tradition, Lager records the history of India in a word-of-mouth manner, praising the emotions of man and nature. In the video, the children answered the photographer’s question with a naive smile. “We are going to Germany, we are sleeping on the street.” The image turned into the night, people sang songs while walking, and drove the fatigue. Implied an unknown journey ahead. In the video, the family arrived at the train station. Compared with the child’s innocence, the teenage sister was far from thinking. “We are going to immigrate, not to be tourists. It’s totally different.” Ali’s pull The grid turned into horror and uneasiness, and percussion pushed Ali’s voice to a high point. The several Lager passages selected for the work are all related to water. There are water, thunderstorms and drizzle, and the ones in this section are thunderstorms. With the band, Helga slowly sang the poem “Pillow” by Gassan Zaktan in high notes:

Is there still time,

Let me say to her, Mom,

Good evening, I am back,

I came back with a bullet in my heart.

My pillow is there, I want to take a break…


If the war comes knocking, please tell him that I am resting.

The video returned to the original pomegranate screen, and the electronic Tambra re-emerged. The songs of Ali and Helga also returned to calm, as if they had entered a dream and sang in the distance. Pomegranate seeds slowly fall into the white setting, and the song gradually fills the entire screen. The members of the orchestra stood up one by one, covering the face with golden aluminum foil, and the aluminum foil was in the middle of it, as if the musicians once again returned to the news film with refugees wearing aluminum foil for heating, no identity, no name. The pomegranate, which symbolizes the death of the unknown people on the way to migration, gradually dyed the concert hall red. With the birth of the hopeful Lager and the song into nutrients, the audience’s feelings were brought to a distant place. The old gentleman sitting next to me has been crying.

Du Yun does not want to be a “mix and match” in form, and is unwilling to be a “tourist” in music. In her interviews, many causal relationships about creative choices always contain parts that cannot be constructed with words . But when you hear her work, you can feel that these are the unique intuitions and inspirations of her women. Unspeakable, everything is just right, and the logical relationship is seamless. The story of a Pakistani singer singing Indian Lager to Syrian refugees is Du Yun’s musical metaphor: Ali Sethi ’s Lager teacher said that music lasts for a thousand years and modern countries have been established for centuries; viewers travel through history with different musical elements. There are ancient Lager, modern instrumental music, and electronic Tambra. The journey of music in time and space is a metaphor for the eternal migration in human history. The commonality is the pursuit of a better life from generation to generation, and toughness. Unrelenting spirit.

In one sentence, she describes Du Yun, the soul of the healer, a storyteller.

The New Yorker—Du Yun: “A Cockroach’s Tarantella”