In February of 2013, the Western Front presented the VOICE OVER mind Festival, a series of concerts, workshops, and talks that explored and celebrated the sphere of unconventional vocal music practices and techniques.
An artist talk led by improvisers and performers Gabriel Dharmoo and Arrington de Dionyso, based respectively in Montréal and Portland, opened the festival with a fascinating discussion on composition for contemporary voice. On the following day, the Electro-Voice concert took place, featuring the Vancouver premiere of Toronto-based Martin Arnold’s “Jane”, vocal improviser Soressa Gardner, and Dharmoo and Dionyso.
Dharmoo’s musical practice encompasses composition, improvisation, and the research of South Indian Carnatic music, which he undertook with four renowed masters in Chennai, India between 2008 and 2011. He studied composition and analysis at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Serge Provost, and has worked with both emerging and established ensembles (ECM+, SMCQ, Motion Ensemble), as well as with the German ensemble, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart. His works have been performed across Canada, the U.S.A., France, Germany, and South Africa, and he is the recipient of the 2011 Fernand-Lindsay Prix d’Europe composition prize and the Canada Council for the Arts’ 2011 Robert Fleming Prize. As a vocal improviser, Gabriel has performed across Canada and within Berlin, Germany. Inspired by the contrasting vocal expressions in different cultures in time and space, he conceives his voice both as a primitive and sophisticated instrument.
The following video excerpts were extracted from Dharmoo’s solo voice improvisation, which took place live at the Western Front on February 8, 2013.