Mark Fell: A Carnatic Paradigm / The Algebra Of Listening
About the project
The project began in 2016 when Mark Fell was introduced to a group of Carnatic musicians at Counterflows Festival Glasgow by the festival producer Alasdair Campbell. At this time Mark was invited to consider creating a new piece that explored the complex systems present in Carnatic music; how those systems relate to creative practices and musical vocabularies; and the correspondences with his own musical methodologies and critical writings on technology.
In November 2016 Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and Alasdair Campbell spent 10 days in Chennai researching Carnatic music. This involved meeting musicians, attending temple performances, observing lessons and exploring the basic fabric that Carnatic music is built on. The focus of the research visit was not to learn to play Carnatic music or to take part in cross cultural improvisations, but to carefully examine the structures and methods found in this music and to enter into a mutually supportive dialogue with those active in this tradition. During this visit the project met the young Carnatic singer and sound artist Nakul Krishnamurthy who was invited to join the project.
A Carnatic Paradigm debuted at the Centre For Contemporary Arts in Glasgow as part of Counterflow 2017 featuring a new multi-channel sound and light installation with reading room, a series of new performances featuring a new electronic composition by Nakul Krishnamurthy and Rian Treanor, a microtonal piece by Sandro Mussida for cello and veena, and a Carnatic ensemble featuring Nandini Muthuswamy (violin), Shobhana Swaminathan (veena), Mysore Vadiraj (mridanga). The project also included new technical tools developed for computer for exploring the structure of Tala (rhythm) in Carnatic music.
In December 2017 the project was invited back India under the title “The Algebra of Listening” again featuring a series of performances, sound installations and workshops in Kolkata, Chennai and Fort Kochi. With key traditional musicians and sound artists from each region, the project explores the interplay between Carnatic music and emergent sound arts and how these function in both British and Indian contemporary culture. The emphasis of the series of projects in India was to identify emergent practices as well as marginalised forms of music and folk art.
Possible formats and content
• A series of long form performances using a variety of electronic and acoustic instruments, ranging from Carnatic performance, to works that explore the fringes of this vocabulary.
• A sound and light installation that forms a context for some of the works
• A reading room serving tea with literature relating to Carnatic music and philosophy.
• A workshop in sound and transcendental meditation focussing on the voice led by Nandini Muthuswamy.
• A workshop in sound and yoga using tibetan singing bowls led by Farah Mulla.
• Introduction to Tala and Raga structures in Carnatic music with computer based tools