Umva Silbersee c Anne van Zantwijk 40
Time Sunday 03. December 2023
18:00 – 19:00
Venue Rote Fabrik Zürich
Seestrasse 395
8038 Zürich
Genre Performance
  1. Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman
  2. Silbersee

Event in English

Suitable for anyone who likes to sit, listen and travel with their ears for 60 minutes.

Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible


Silbersee & Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman - Performance

Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman: «Umva!» (2023) for six performers

Follow-up discussion after the performance.


Kanyoni Ladislas reached the age of 113. As a healer, cowherd, and hunter living at the foot of the Karisimbi volcano in the north of Rwanda, he experienced more than a century of the country’s eventful history. In «Umva!» his granddaughter Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman takes the audience on a journey to this place. Using a collage of storytelling, music, dance, and original recordings, the journalist and composer conjures a day in the life of Ladislas’s village before the inner eye and shares loving anecdotes of an impressive human being who has shaped generations far beyond his immediate situation.

Cooperation: Rote Fabrik Zürich


Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman: «Umva!» (2023) for six performers

Eli Mathieu Bustos, Raphaela Danksagmüller, Maya Felixbrodt, Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman, Yung-Tuan Ku, Kaito Winse – performance

Niels Kingma – light
Stefan Bos - sound & technical coordination
Sarah Mulder - producer
Romain Bischoff – musical dramaturg

Aurélie Nyirabikali Lierman, composer, sound artist and radio journalist, likes to use «sound» as the most inclusive way of looking at music: by not only thinking about how e.g. a violin or a piano produces sound, but rather to experience every event in the world as a potential musical experience or happening. That may be e.g. the soundscape of her childhood in Bruges (Belgium). But as well the soundscape of the Rwandan Virunga Mountains: her native region, and the landscape where her grandfather Kanyoni Ladislas lived for 113 years. He is the main protagonist of the story of «Umva!» (Kinyarwanda for «Listen!»), a performance which will be part of this year's SONIC MATTER Festival.
Besides being amongst the oldest people who ever lived on this planet and literally embodying a century and a decade of the changeful history of his home country, Ladislas was also one of the last living traditional hunters and doctors in Rwanda. People sometimes traveled up to 100 km to get cured by him. In his younger years he would go for epic walks into the densely forested subalpine slopes of the Virunga mountains in order to collect ingredients for his medicine and to hunt, often crossing the border to the Democratic Republic of Congo – a border which in his mind didn’t really exist.
Family visits of the past two decades have led to multiple conversations between Lierman and her grandfather, going back memory lane to explore the singular human experience that comes with a jaw-dropping age as his. They have also resulted in an ongoing investigation into the soundscape of contemporary urban and rural East Africa in general, and of the Virunga region in particular. As a consequence many of Lierman’s creations are inspired by those journeys she has made since her early twenties. She loves incorporating her background as a radio journalist in her compositional practice: she combines acoustic music and electronics and collects a lot of field recordings. Thus her work ranges from abstract electronics with a lot of noise and bleeps to very fine poetic lines. She is particularly interested in how she can get all of these elements together and unfold them in a musical and immersive way.
Furthermore, Lierman is constantly reflecting on her own perspective on the African continent in general, as well Rwanda in particular. This includes also an ongoing questioning and defining of her position in the context of both African and European concert music. Hence also the umbrella name for most of her sonic explorations: «Afrique Concrète», considering some of her key-works an offspring of Musique Concrète. She has always been very curious and excited about how contrasting musical cultures can come together and develop as one. And she is particularly anxious to find a fresh take on how contemporary classical music from an African perspective might sound, by combining both Western classical music and African traditional music for instance. All Lierman’s current and future projects are about this particular artistic quest, that is probably her ongoing life project: figuring out how that new hybrid and bicontinental experimental form can be made possible.

Photo Credit Anne van Zantwijk
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