VOICE OVER mind Festival


Unusual Singers & Extreme Vocalists ~

The Western Front presents a weekend of unconventional vocal music including ‘extreme yodelling’. Swiss vocal artist Christian Zehnder headlines the 2013 VOICE OVER mind Festival.

All events take place at the Western Front at 303 E 8th Avenue.
Thursday, February 7th through Sunday, February 10th



Artist Talk: Gabriel Dharmoo and Arrington de Dionyso
When: Thurs, Feb 7th 7:30 pm
Cost: FREE

Listen to Arrington de Dionyso with Record Lathe

Gabriel Dharmoo leads a discussion about composition for contemporary voice.  His versatility as a vocalist, cellist, and composer is kindled by a variety of interests including Western classical and contemporary music along with South Indian Carnatic vocal music.

Arrington de Dionyso utilizes a rich vocabulary of extended vocal techniques, sometimes integrating a modified bass clarinet and invented instruments to fill rooms with holophonic resonance.  He will demonstrate making loops and cutting grooves the old-fashioned way with an antique record lathe.  Come and record your voice.


Concert: Electro-Voice with Helen Pridmore, Gabriel Dharmoo, Soressa Gardner and Arrington de Dionyso
When: Fri, Feb 8th 8 pm
Cost: Advance Tickets* – $10 Members & Students / $15 General

Electro-Voice exposes the bare voice to DIY gizmos, found objects and electronic scores featuring the Vancouver premiere of “Jane” by Toronto’s Martin Arnold, performed by Helen Pridmore of New Brunswick’s Motion Ensemble,  Montreal improviser Gabriel Dharmoo in collaboration with Vancouver laptop / voice improviser Soressa Gardner, and Portland, Oregon’s Arrington de Dionyso, who explores resonance and multi-phonics and a variety of instruments.


Concert: Christian Zehnder
When: Sat, Feb 9th 8 pm
Cost: Advance Tickets* – $15 Members & Students / $20 General
Door Tickets – $20 Members & Students / $25 General

Listen here

Switzerland’s Christian Zehnder combines yodeling and Mongolian throat singing techniques to create a unique hybrid form of art song.  Be it with his own projects (Stimmhorn, kraah, melting…) or with various international groups like Huun Huur Tu, Mercan Dede, the Casal Quartet, Don Li, the prestigious Latvian Radio Choir from Riga, or as a soloist in the Amazon contemporary opera at the Munich Biennale, there is always a touch of Swiss mountain air in his singing.  Archaic, urban and spherical sounds combine with a critically distant view of the faraway Alpine Ridge.

Supported by Pro Helvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung.



Workshop: Modern Alpine Vocal Music with Christian Zehnder
When: Sun, Feb 10th 1 to 3 pm
Cost: FREE for Members / $15 General

This is a rare opportunity to explore Christian Zehnder’s unique blend of overtone-singing and yodeling.

Everyone is welcome, however space is limited so advance registration is required by emailing newmusic@front.bc.ca.


Workshop: Soul Voice with Karina Schelde
When: March 2nd & 3rd, 9:30 am-6 pm
Cost: $390 (Early Bird $330 till Jan. 24 th  2013)

As a follow up to the VOICE OVER mind Festival, Western Front offers another workshop in March 2013.

Karina Schelde is an internationally recognized master teacher in sound exploration and voice therapy. This introductory workshop is an invitation to dive deeper into the voice you may have forgotten. For more information on Karina Schelde and Soul Voice check  http://www.soulvoice.net/coursesandschedule_north_america.html

Pre-registration is essential. Contact:  db.boyko@gmail.com


Other Vocal Opportunities: VOICE OVER mind Choir

This choir, conducted by the Western Front’s own DB Boyko, came together for the first VOICE OVER mind Festival in May 2010 and is hell bent to discover the most unconventional vocal expression!  The VOICE OVER mind choir is preparing for some new collaborations… if you’re interested please contact db.boyko@gmail.com.



Christian Zehnder

Headliner for this year’s VOICE OVER mind Festival, Christian Zehnder (http://www.zehndermusic.ch), was born in Zurich in 1961 and now resides in Basel. He is one of the most sought after overtone singers of the international musical scene.

Christian began his musical career by studying guitar. He then turned to singing, and studied under baritone singer, Rapael Laback among  others. Graduating with a diploma as a voice instructor, he then went on to study overtone singing with Tokne Nonaka and Alfred Wolfsohn’s body-voice techniques with Daniel Prieto.

Christian has spent many years researching the non-verbal communication of the human voice and the yodel as a form of communication. With his idiosyncratic approach to overtone singing, Zehnder belongs to a new generation of vocalists who are providing new impulses for a form of singing long dominated by the western New Age movement.

In 1996, Christian founded the project stimmhorn with wind player Balthasar Streiff, which went on to gain international recognition and several awards. He currently works as an actor-musician in theatre projects, as a singer in various musical groups and on solo projects in the field of theatre and performance (including “Genom Genesis” in Berlin and “Talk with my turntables” in Basle/Berlin/Lausanne). He has composed many pieces for film, television and radio and taught overtone singing, voice techniques and choral singing in Switzerland and abroad.

“…Take Christian Zehnder, who’s developed his own freestyle vocals, incorporating elements of jazz and contemporary music. Unclassifiable stuff, but his vocal range makes him one of the world’s most amazing performers…”
Time Out England, August 2009

The voice is a mysterious instrument. You think you know it – after all, it’s something you use every day. It seems to have already been fully explored, its dimensions defined, and then along comes some one like the singer…Christian Zehnder…and questions begin to arise.

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Arrington de Dionyso

As a child, Arrington de Dionyso (http://krecs.com/artists/arrington-de-dionysos-malaikat-dan-singa/) spent a lot of his time in churches – his parents were ministers – and he’d pass the time fooling around on the piano and the organ. His formal musical training began with piano lessons, but his repertoire now includes many instruments ranging from the baritone clarinet to a jaw harp to his wildly unusual vocals.

In high school, Arrington busked on downtown Spokane’s street corners and formed a band. By his second year of college in Olympia, Washington, he’d founded his second band, Old Time Relijun. He recorded and toured extensively with the group until 2007. He then created Malaikat Dan Singa, a throbbing, pulsating “trance punk” ensemble that combines dancehall rhythms with gamelan scales, singing mystically-inspired incantations entirely in Indonesian.

In 2011, Arrington undertook an extensive tour of Java, Bali, and Lombok Island, performing with many Indonesian musicians eager to explore new possibilities in combining traditional ritual trance musics with experimental and electrified approaches.

Arrington utilizes a rich vocabulary of extended vocal techniques and sometimes integrates a modified bass clarinet and invented instruments to fill rooms with holophonic resonance.

Northern Spy, an artist-run music label, describes Arrington de Dionyso this way: “[He] uses performance as a vehicle for driving through the nameless territories held between surrealist automatism, shamanic seance, and the folk imagery of rock and roll. Arrington performs on the bass clarinet, jaw harps, and his voice with a distinctly multiphonic ability inspired by Tuvan throatsinging and the ecclesiastics of Albert Ayler and Don Van Vliet. Pushing the envelope between musicality and pure energy, between shamanic ecstacy and lunacy, he enwraps rooms with resonant sound.”


In his Artist Talk at VOICE OVER mind, Arrington will demonstrate how he makes loops and cuts grooves the old-fashioned way, using an antique record lathe, and he’ll assist you in recording your own voice. Arrington will also perform in the Electro Voice concert on Friday night.

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Gabriel Dharmoo

Gabriel Dharmoo (www.gabrieldharmoo.org) is an incredibly versatile musician. A classically trained cellist who’s played since the age of 7, he went on to study composition at Laval University with Éric Morin. He furthered his studies at the Montreal Conservatory of Music with Serge Provost, and graduated with great distinction in instrumental composition (2006) and music analysis (2007).  Gabriel is a five-time winner of the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, and his compositions have been performed by many ensembles.

This vocalist, cellist and composer is inspired by his wide interests that included western classical and contemporary music along with South Indian Carnatic vocal music, a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent.  In 2008, and again in 2011, Gabriel travelled to Chennai, India to conduct research with four renowned masters of the Carnatic tradition. Elements of this musical language are evident in his recent works. For example, Ninaivanjali (2012) is a complex blend of  melodic threads, rhythmic and traditional drone elements mixed with Western and Avante-garde effects.

About the performance of Gabriel’s Sur les rives de, by Ensemble Paramirabo, conductor Andrew Crust commented: “Evocative of eons past, Dharmoo’s music was incredibly original. Powered by an almost incessant rhythmic backdrop, vague mumblings from a seemingly ancient world were punctuated by the use of stones as percussion instruments, at first only by the pianist, but finally by all the players in the ensemble, implying a world devoid of humanity and civilization.”
May 9, 2012   Andrew Crust – Bachtrack.com Blog

Gabriel frequently collaborates with filmmakers, visual artists and choreographers, and has provided music for short films screened in festivals across North America, Europe and South America. He is very active on the musical scene in Montreal, where he lives and works.

Gabriel kicks off the VOICE OVER mind Festival with his Artist Talk about composition for contemporary voice. He will also perform in the Friday evening concert, ElectroVoice.

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Soressa Gardner

Soressa Gardner (http://www.soressa.com/) is an electronic music and soundscape composer, improviser and vocalist. Her work is influenced by her studies with composer Peter Hannan and vocal coach Richard Armstrong. Community involvement, a sense of play, and crossing disciplines are motivating factors in her artistic explorations.

She is a performing member of VEE (Vancouver Electronics Ensemble), and maintains collaborative relationships with author Dennis E. Bolen, violinist Janine Island and laptop artist/performer Ross Birdwise. She is also an active member of two community based improvising choirs: DB Boyko’s Voice Over Mind, and Kate Hammett-Vaughan and Carol Sawyer’s Voxy Music.

Soressa’s live performances include Vancouver New Music’s HE[A]R Concert Series 2012, Vancouver New Music Festival 2012 and 2010, Square Waves Electronic Music Festival, and events at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre and The Western Front. Recent commissions include Co-op Radio’s Media Arts Committee annual Audio Art CD and the video poem Little Black Strap, featuring Canada’s first poet laureate George Bowering.

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Helen Pridmore

Born in England, Helen Pridmore (https://soundcloud.com/helen-pridmore/sets/janet) studied voice and piano in Canada and the USA, earning a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music.

As a singer and sound artist with a passion for new music, Helen Pridmore employs improvisation, spoken word and extended vocal techniques in her work. She has performed at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Sound Symposium, the Scotia Festival, and in venues across Canada and the USA.  In the 2011-12 season she was a guest soloist with Aventa Ensemble in Victoria, the 5-Penny New Music Festival in Sudbury, and the Oscillations Festival of Electroacoustic Music in Halifax.

In 2012-13, Helen will stage further performances with Aventa Ensemble, as well as a solo recital tour with appearances in Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle WA, Calgary and Edmonton.  The tour will promote her new solo CD “Janet”, released in May 2012 on the Canadian Music Centre’s Centrediscs label.

With the duo Sbot N Wo, Helen creates vocal/electronic improvisations in sound.  Sbot N Wo has been broadcast on Radio-Canada and has performed across Canada and in Germany, the UK and Japan.

Helen is also member of Motion Ensemble, New Brunswick’s new music group, whose concerts include scored music, improvisations, and interactive electronic and visual media. Motion has toured widely in Canada and made its US debut in New York City.

Helen teaches voice and related topics, and directs the Opera Workshop, at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.

At VOICE OVER mind, Helen will present “Janet”, the work she commissioned from composer Martin Arnold.

This is an album of works created for and performed by the British-born, Nova Scotia resident, singer and teacher Helen Pridmore. Its great strength is a closer than usual collaboration between an extraordinary performer and her chosen composers… Martin Arnold’s Janet is built of short phrases that are electronically “gated” so that, as Pridmore sings, we hear all the piece’s elementstwo vocal tracks plus banjo and electric guitar along with ambient environmental soundsat the same time. But when she pauses, all sounds pause with her. The melodiesvaguely modal-sounding to reflect the Scottish ballad which inspired this pieceeventually turn on themselves to provide passages of effortless-sounding dissonance, while a long and clear downward melodic drift ensures formal cohesion. The banjo’s timbre brings a certain hominess to the music which was recorded, in fact, in several rooms of Pridmore’s home.
Nic Gotham, reviewing “Janet”, October 2012

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Karina Schelde

Originally from Denmark, but now based in New Zealand, Karina Schelde (www.soulvoice.net/) is an internationally-recognized master teacher in sound exploration and voice therapy. She has synthesized 25 years of professional experience in alternative healing into her unique ‘Soul Voice™ method’.

Karina’s clear authentic expression and guidance supports and empowers individuals from all walks of life into full realization of their potential and their life vision. Karina teaches her work in Australasia, Europe and North America. She has produced CDs and videos and has appeared on radio and television. Her Soul Voice book is now translated into many languages.

“My experience at the Soul Voice workshop was one I will never forget. Through my own voice i was able to access such a deep place inside myself. I experienced profound insights, transformations and healings that were so powerful and necessary for my life.”
Naia, 2012 workshop participant, California

In this introductory workshop, Karina invites you to dive deeper into the voice you may have forgotten.

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DB Boyko and the VOICE OVER mind Choir

As curator and director for the New Music Program at the Western Front, DB Boyko has devoted much energy to producing the work of other artists and bringing festivals such as VOICE OVER mind to life.

A specialist in experimental voice, DB has performed with many Vancouver musicians including recent guest engagements with the legendary NOW Orchestra. She is the co-founder of several improvising ensembles including Hextremities (1980’s), the all women View Ensemble(1990’s) and more currently the Crossing Borders Ensemble.

Her influences and studies in Javanese gamelan court music, dance, puppet theatre, and butoh have led her to participate in a wide spectrum of multidisciplined works with Mortal Coil, Snake in the Grass Theatre,Special Delivery Moving Theatre, Serge Bennethan, and Karen Jaimisondance companies. A specialist in traditional vocal repertoire for gamelan orchestra DB has sung and composed new works for Vancouver Gamelan Madu Sari.

Her larger compositional works have included song cycle, Amphibious Tales(1992) which toured Canada and US including the Montréal voice festival “La voix se fait entendre.” Her score for the Arts Club Theatre production of Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing was nominated for a Jesse award (1995) which instigated a collaboration with first nations playwright Marie Clements for Urban Tattoo (1998). From 2000-02 she provided musical direction and composed for the millennial production of the SongBird Oratorio — an ecological tribute to Vancouver bird songs.

The VOICE OVER mind Choir came together for the first VOICE OVER mind Festival in May 2010 and is dedicated to the practice of improvisation and spontaneous choral composition. The group has performed for the video production of “Songs for a Better Future” by Romanian visual artist Matei Bejenaru. As well, the choir participated in Western Front’s collaboration with lower mainland schools, Vancouver Public Library and the Vancouver Symphony, performing in “Dzunukwa Beneath the Canopy and Through the Underworld: Stories, Songs and Celebrations”.

The VOICE OVER mind choir is preparing for some new collaborations… if you’re interested please contact db.boyko@gmail.com.



*$1 processing fee applies for online ticket orders


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