Tarhu Connections (Pacifica)

by Ros Bandt

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The tarhu is my divining tool. I never know if it will celebrate, lament, shudder, roar, sing, pluck, rattle, or in fact come out of its case at all. Over the last 10 years I could not have predicted the journeys we have had together and the connections it has formed. It is my Bull of Minos. It has a special affinity with Hania, Crete, having lived there many times. It has travelled many continents and sounded 5 UNESCO heritage sites and biosphere reserves. It has been flooded in the depths of water cisterns and oceans, climbed to the highest mountains in Crete, lamented whales on Japanese radio, vibrated and laughed in the wind, sent messages via solar power to other musicians in 55 acres of Australian bush and accompanied 9 concert harpists forming a cobweb in the concert hall. It has played to silent movies, and videos, and in trucks, deserts and carparks. It’s bow has been tied up to glass trees which shake on every stroke. For me the tarhu questions the nature of the now, the immediacy of being alive and the connections we make. How and what are we communicating through sound, for whom and why and where? The tarhu has been a vehicle to expand intercultural dialogue through non-verbal communication as it accompanies the unknown sounds of the Persian texts of Rumi, original Maltese poetry and ancient Greek. It retunes for the Sheng Chinese mouthorgan, the Vietnamese plucked Dan Tranh, Turkish modes or the baroque viola da gamba. Mostly it is in (a) d a d g in just intonation with its 8 sympathetic strings tuned to suit. It knows no bounds. With the tarhu , ideas, fictions and dreams become reality in performance, in the studio, on environmental locations, in long sound installations, online. It traverses old and new, high and low, near and far, east and west, real and virtual, ancient and modern, wet and dry, possible and impossible, acoustic and synthetic. It collapses the present, past and future in its moment of sounding. It is rapturous, flying above the stratosphere, a powerful eagle carving the cosmos.


released October 2, 2016


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