THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Sound and vision blog

10 posts from January 2018

08 January 2018

Recording of the week: Trisha Brown in conversation with Richard Alston

This week's selection comes from Dr Eva del Rey, Curator of Drama and Literature Recordings and Digital Performance.

American dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown talks to British choreographer Richard Alston at the ICA, London, 15 November 1991 (duration: 59 min 43 sec).

At the time of the discussion there were three works by Trisha Brown programmed at the Sadler’s Wells theatre in London:  Opal Loop (1980), Lateral Pass (1985) and For M.G.: The Movie (1991). Most of the discussion is centred on these three works.

In 1989, Opal Loop was added to Rambert’s repertory under the artistic direction of Richard Alston. This was the first time Trisha Brown had ever agreed to stage it for a company other than her own.  Alston was the artistic director of Rambert from 1986 till 1992.

Brown also talks about her explorations of gravity and perspective for her 'walking on the walls' pieces; how she works with dancers; character and gender in dance; and Set and Reset (1983), a dance work made in collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg and Laurie Anderson.

Trisha Brown – Walking on the Wall.  Photo by Sascha Pohflepp  CC BY_L

Trisha Brown – Walking on the Wall. Photo by Sascha Pohflepp / CC BY. The Barbican Gallery, London, 5 May 2011. First performed in 1971 at the Whitney Museum, New York.

This recording comes from a collection of 889 talks and discussions held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London between 1982-1993. 

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01 January 2018

Recording of the week: Ethiopian Michael Jackson?

This week's selection comes from Dr Janet Topp Fargion, Lead Curator of World and Traditional Music.

This song was recorded in 1991 by ethnomusicologist Lesley Larkum at the Green Hotel, Mek'ele (Mekelle) in the northern Tigray region of Ethiopia. It represents one of those wonderful moments of ethnographic fieldwork when you come across something, not necessarily related to the focus of your work, but nevertheless captivating. It's times like those you are thankful for a sound recording device! Lesley was conducting research on Tigrinyan music during revolution. She had heard these two children singing in a bar a couple of nights beforehand and had asked them to return so she could record them. Sadly there's no photograph of them but as I listen, in my mind's eye I see a couple of youngsters with the voices, rhythm and exuberance of a young Michael Jackson.

Children singing at the Green Hotel (C600/15)

Green hotel 2nd

The Lesley Larkum collection of Ethiopian field recordings can be consulted at the British Library.

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