Archive for the ‘Audio Diary’ Category

Walking in Calcutta, West-Bengal, India

Friday, November 6th, 2009


We arrived in Calcutta, yet again a city which is not comparable to any other place we have seen so far, and it’s actually quite different in many ways. It feels much more like being in Asia, being so far in the east, even almost at the border to Bangladesh. We will sadly only spend 2 days here, but we all fell in love with this city.

Also, this part is under a communist rule for almost 30 years (the oldest democratically elected government worldwide, so we are told), and maybe that’s why some things seem to be less extreme here than anticipated- but again, we are here for such a short time that we actually did not have a chance to even leave the center of the city, which is the 2nd largest in India (also something i did not know before).

We will be performing here tonight at a club called Roxy, inside the Park Hotel, where we are also staying, and will leave right after the shows to Bangalore (argh! the flight leaves at 6:15 in the morning), which is again a 2,5 hour flight down south.

Here is a little walk through the center of the city that we took right upon our arrival here.



South New Delhi, at a random shopping mall

Friday, November 6th, 2009


Again we were cruising through slums, dust, through a city that consists of endless gated communities, walls, huge streets, and is totally inaccessible without a car or one of the ever-present rickshaws (with or without a motor). We went all the way out to the south to meet some artists that we performed with last Saturday that are cooperating with a bar/ cafe there to establish a commercial art space, and- without being prepared- ended up in shopping mall that looked like it could have been in Dubai- glitzy, shiny, with the obvious Luis Vuitton flagship store right next to the Dior flagship store, you can imagine how it looked like.

Here is an audio impression of our (hopefully imaginable) confusion.

New Delhi

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

After a quite demanding weekend with performances in Mumbai and New Delhi, we are now taking a break in a small hotel in New Delhi.

The shows in Mumbai and New Delhi could not have been more different- Mumbai took place in an upscale venue in a warehouse area, the Blue Frog, and we had a bit of a difficult time since it seems to be common that clubs here also cater as restaurants. So, we played our shows, while people were seated at tables and were having dinner- it was a little odd. The Glitterbug & Ronni Shendar live show also took place under special conditions, since we were not allowed to use the back screen for the projection because of the logos of the sponsors of the event… ouch.

Performing here is a totally different experience anyways. Especially in Mumbai, since the city is absolutely mixed, having poverty and wealth just centimeters away from each other. If you walk in the city at night, one literally has to climb over sleeping people in the streets everywhere. It feels like there is no separation between the extreme ends in this society, at least not as far as the public space goes. You can have fancy apartment buildings and 5 star hotels directly neighboring slums, and since there are millions of people living in the streets, you find beggars and homeless people everywhere. And at the same time, segregation between rich and poor is absolute and merciless (and confronts us all with our own privileges, coming from the wealthy west and trying to somehow deal with our strange position here).

The show in New Delhi was a totally different (and absolutely wonderful) experience, since the local Goethe Institute invited us to perform in their Garden. We had a few hundred very diverse people in front of us, and even though it took a while to warm them up- after a bit, the whole thing actually turned into a wild and amazing party, that sadly was over at 11p.m., due to the fact that it was open air and also because New Delhi (and India in general) has very harsh rules considering closing times etc. But we all were so glad to have had this experience and we’re all so thankful to have met all the amazing people at the Goethe Institute New Delhi!


The day after, we met a Berlin based artist who was invited for a project in the Goethe New Delhi also downstairs in our hotel for breakfast, and he invited us to join him for a picnic which was the closing event of the annual Queerfest here in New Delhi (thanks Ins!!!). Much can be written about issues of gay rights here, but it should be noted that basically homosexuality has been illegal until this summer, so this was certainly a very special event for the scene here.


The park where the picnic took place also caters as one of the main cruising areas in New Delhi, and this is how the place sounds like during day time.

Over the course of the afternoon, something like 50 people arrived, and the queer scene seems to be quite mixed and diverse. Here is a little snippet of the picnic ambience

After the picnic, we went back to the hotel. The only form of public transportation here is rickshaws and taxis, while one can’t just stop a cab in the street. So, if you are not in a place where you can just order one by phone, you are more or less stuck with the little motorized rickshaws, and here is the sound of one of the rides. It might sound a little muffled; that is due to the fact that i had to record from inside my back to avoid wind noise in the microphones.


Sadly, I did not feel well this morning, i caught myself some strange fever that hit me out of the blue. So i did not join the bunch for the daily trip… so this is how my day sounded like. Basically, when indoors, the sound of the air-conditioning is everywhere… and one can’t leave the windows open due to the mosquitos that seem to be even more harmful during daytime because here in the north of India, they carry Dengue Fever. For sure somthing that i would be very happy to miss out on…

We will have two more days here, and after that we will be off to Calcutta and Bangalore for the weekend.

Mumbai, India

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Yes, we reached India. After a really crazy last weekend, packed with all together five flights and endless car and cab transfers in 60 hours and two shows in very opposite places in Europe, we jumped on a plane to Mumbai early Monday morning and arrived in Mumbai late at night.  We grabbed a cab and left to the hotel someplace in a city I have never been to (I have never been to India in the first place).

The first thing that hit us was the unimaginable poverty in every corner. As we later learned, one passes endless slums before reaching the more central areas of the city (which, for the most parts, has at least as many people living in the streets). It is unknown how many people actually live in Mumbai, since there are is an estimate of a few million people far far below the poverty line, unregistered, living in some corners in the streets, sleeping on nothing or a piece of cardboard.

I knew that the situation for the vast majority of the population here is bad. But it’s always a huge difference to witness and experience something like this with your own eyes.

To see all of this, this dilapidated infrastructure of a city which falls apart in every corner, yet still has so much beauty, is hard to bare. I am aware of the endless privilege I have as somebody that can live out his dream, gets to travel and perform in all these places, can make music and art and even release/ show it (while people even take interest in it), but all of this is put in a very different context when seeing millions of people living in conditions like this (and I am aware, there are much worse places on this planet). This trip will leave quite a dent in my reception of reality, that much I can already say after less than 48 hours in this place.

But enough talking. Besides many many other things, this city also has an unmatched sound and a noise level that is hard to take for somebody that is used to, well, calmer environments, and also as somebody that is quite sensitive to his auditive environment.

The first day, we just walked around in the city and the surrounding of our hotel, which is close to the Victoria Central Station. The building is beautiful, and the amount of people passing through it incredible. There are endless fans dangling off the ceiling, which create a permanent hum, which is static and not static at the same time. Also, they create so much wind that they actually create interferences with the microphones (which sounds like recording in stormy weather).


But listen here for yourself!

The streets are crazy loud and busy. This is a little bit what they sound like. If you want to emulate the experience, play it really really loud…

The next day we were passing through the Mumbai Art Academy, which is actually right across the street from our hotel.


The old and very rotten buildings are located inside a very beaten up park which is mostly inhabited by crows and lots of other birds. It certainly has a very uniques sound to it…

Here is the sound clipping from the gardens

Amidst all of this, we found a little building with the name “Canteen” on it, and it even looked like it was still used as one. There was one painting on the wall that i really loved:


And this is how the canteen sounded like

On Friday, we will play here in Mumbai in a club called “Blue Frog”, and on Saturday we are off to New Delhi, where we will give a concert in the gardens of the New Delhi Goethe Institute, where we will also give a lecture and workshop on Monday.

Tromsø, Norway- last day

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Before our show at the amazing Insomnia Festival, we went out for a long hike to the edge of the island that the city of Tromso is build on.

We ended up at an amazing “beach” with a stunning view in the middle of nowhere- this place just feels like one finally reached the edge of the world:


Here is the snippet of serenity this place had in stock for us…

On our way back we had to stop at a random intersection- all the cars have spikes on their wheels which make a beautiful sound, at least in my opinion.

This is how the tires look like:


And this is me recording in the intersection:


I will miss all the amazing people we met in Tromsø and also the amazing, so beautiful, indescribably peaceful landscape. If you ever go on a performance tour- I highly recommend to start it in the Arctic. It’s such a calming experience that it actually lasts for quite some time…

The beloved sound of ferries

Friday, October 23rd, 2009


On day 3 of our amazing trip to the Arctic, we took a very early ferry to some of the small villages around Tromsø, basically up one of the main Fjords, and back to the city. We left around 7am, it was still dark outside, and watched an amazingly blue sunrise- it felt like a curtain was slowly lifted before our eyes to allow a sight that can only be described as breathtaking. I have never seen such dramatic landscapes in my life before.

I tried to record on deck, but since it was really windy on deck and it was a speed boat, it was almost impossible to capture anything else other than the wind in the microphones.

So instead, i walked from one end of the almost empty ship to the other, capturing the amazing sound of the gigantic engines, recording also in corners to also capture some of the impressive standing waves (well, standing frequencies i mean).

And here is the amazing soundscape of the ferry

For a whole set of pictures, go to Ronni Shendar‘s photo blog.


Tromsø, Northern Norway, 2nd Day, up on a mountain

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


2nd day in the arctic, this time we went up on some mountains: windy, cold, snowy, amazing, beautiful. And this is how it sounds… btw, the two black dots far away are Menelaos Tomasides and Charlotte Bendiksen.

The rest of the day we spend rehearsing in a lovely little studio for our show at the wonderful Insomnia Festival next Friday.

And this is how i looked amidst all this  amazing-ness (thanks for the pic, Ronni!!):


First day: close to Tromsø, Northern Norway

Monday, October 19th, 2009

As you might know, we will be touring for six consecutive weeks, and i will document this long and exciting journey and performance tour with an irregular audio diary, accompanied with pixelized pictures from my cell phone camera.

Here is the first part- we took a 1 hour road trip to a huge island slightly south of Tromsø, northern Norway. These two recordings are taken somewhere on the island Kvaløya Sálir (Google Maps), one on the shore, the other on top of a mountain. Words can’t describe how unbelievably beautiful this place is. Thanks to our amazing tour guide, Berit Bendiksen!!! For more pictures, go to Ronni Shendar’s amazing photo blog, she’s got all the fancy lenses and cameras on her…



This place sounds like this.



And this is how the place sounds like – the little pops are raindrops on the cover of the recorder.


And this is how i look like in front of the scenery, amidst +1°C weather (thanks Ronni for the amazing picture!!):