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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Hildegard Westerkamp

The vendors'voices in Gently Penetrating - Beneath the Sounding Surfaces of Another Place were recorded in specific areas of New Delhi during my first visit in 1992: in the residential area of Januk Puri, at the early morning produce market in Tilak Nagar, at the market near the Jama Masjid, and at the market stalls just off Janpath near Connaught Place. I noticed that many of the other sounds in these places besides the vendors' voices were those of metal (such as buckets falling over, cans rolling, the handling of metal pots, squeaking gates, sometimes unidentified objects rattling or clinking as they pass), bicycle bells and scooter horns. As they seemed to be rather characteristic sonic "accompaniments" to the environments through which the vendors passed or where they had their stalls, these sounds became major players in the composition.

Coming from a European and North American context, I was delighted by the daily presence of the vendors' voices. As the live human vending voice has disappeared almost entirely in Northern Europe and North America and has largely been replaced by media advertising, it is somewhat of a miracle for the visitor from those areas to hear such voices again.
In a city like New Delhi, and other places in India, one experiences shimmering beauty and grungy dirt and pollution side by side all the time.These opposites are audible in most of my recordings as well and specifically in the sound materials selected for this piece. I wanted to express acoustically / musically both the shimmering and the grunge as it seems to represent so deeply and openly the contradictions within this culture and the intensity of life that results from it.