Vanishing Tekopia (unspecified voice with chamber ensemble)
by David Chesworth (2011)
The title Vanishing Tekopia refers obliquely to a tiny island with a small population and distinctive culture that is slowly vanishing beneath the Pacific Ocean as global warming increases sea levels. But it also refers to many minority cultural 'islands' throughout the world which are under threat of vanishing, as pressures from larger environmental, political and economic forces take their toll. These include the Hmong in Laos, the Ogoni in the Niger Delta and the Naga in northern India.
In Vanishing Tekopia two singers have mastered a phonetic language which has been specially devised. The ensemble's hope is that Vanishing Tekopia will be seen as both a requiem to and a consequence of the process of cultural absorption and assimilation.
Instrumentation: Shakuhachi, bass trombone, vibraphone, marimba, drum kit, doumbek, mandolin, tiple, guitar, electric bass, piano, violin, cello, taisho koto, bulbul tarang, kaen, autoharp, electronics, vocals.
Duration: 60 min.
Contents note: Drift daughters of canama -- Dee dang dang -- Dragonfly -- Farla meego -- Apoh jenah -- Kukoya air -- Luna camor lordi -- Tekopia -- Bandana stramm.
Commission note: Audio CD partly commissioned with funds provided by Julian Burnside.
The composer cites the following influences on this work: post rock, post classical, minimal.
Performances of this work
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Chesworth Ensemble a Sonic Delight.
Posted by David Pepperell  on 21 February, 2012
I saw a magnificent concert today - the David Chesworth Ensemble presenting music David composed for his new CD "Vanishing Tekopia". Played by David himself on keyboards with a ten member group it was an extraordinary mix of modern and ancient music utilizing synthesizers and percussionists with ethnic instruments from Japan and other points East. The singing, which did remind of the adorable (?) cats Si & Am in "Lady In The Tramp", was sung in an imaginary language that David has invented but so sweet was its sound that no translation was necessary. High points were Adrian Sherriffs beautiful wailing on the shakuhachi, Robert Goodge's endless creativity on a multitude of guitars, Melissa Webbs delicate koto and khaen figues and Helen Mountfort's soulful cello. The music referenced modern icons like Moondog, Harry Partch and The Penguin Cafe Orchestra (soon to tour here) but was in essence all David Chesworth - echoes of Essendon Airport even reverberated here and there. Why this music is being played in a small venue like the Spiegeltent and not a full two hour extravaganza at the Recital Centre is beyond me. Wonderful music, wonderful playing, wonderful concert. If you get a chance to hear this music dont miss it even if you have a triple bypass scheduled that day!