Mac users: Option-click to download
PC Users: Right-click
 
     
 
Audio excerpts (mp3): Ngoma Lungdundu (Voice That Thunders)
For laptop and interactive video
in 4-channel surround (optionally in stereo)
Total duration: 41 minutes
Excerpt Movement 1 (3.5 MB)
Excerpt Movement 2 (4.1 MB)
Excerpt Movement 3 (1.3 MB)
Excerpt Movement 4 (1.2 MB)

 
 
   
   
Notes: Ngoma Lungundu (Voice That Thunders)
2008

The Ngoma Lungundu is a mythical/mystical drum carried and guarded by the Lemba people of Africa. Recent controversial research by anthropologist Dr. Tudor Parfitt (University of London School of Oriental and African Studies), draws connection between the Ngoma Lungundu and the Arc of the Covenant, inspired by the recent discovery that the Lemba are, in fact, physical descendants of the lost tribe of Israelites known as the Cohen. The Cohen were the guardians of the Arc and, based on this and the specific mythical similarities of the Ngoma Lungundu and the Biblical Arc of the Covenant, Dr. Parfitt asserts that the Ngoma Lungundu and the Arc may be one and the same. Dr. Parfitt has found the most recent incarnation of the Ngoma Lungundu, dated at about 650 years of age, at the Harare Museum of Human Science in Zimbabwe. Be it Arc of the Covenant or not, the Ngoma Lungundu seems to refer to a particular style of drum that has been created and recreated repeatedly by the Lemba tribesman as an icon of religious faith and military might in very much the same way that the Arc of the Covenant is referred to in ancient texts and Old Testament of the Bible. The Lemba, incidentally (and enigmatically), practice Judaism.

Ngoma Lungundu (Voice That Thunders) is inspired by the idea of a drum that speaks with with the absolute voice of Nature, a call-to-being, as it were. In developing Ngoma, I thought to incorporate the organic movement of the body as its visual narrative. Sequences of live action film, hand-drawn animation and vector graphics are being combined, layered, shaped, and manipulated in real-time response to the sound/music of Ngoma and form the choreographic element of what is, essentially, a dance piece with no dancers.

(Downloadable text here)


 
   

Click to download Sample Quicktime Movie
(2 minute excerpt from 3rd Movement in rehearsal: 72mb)

Sample Movie


 
    Selected Image Sequences: Ngoma Lungdundu











 
 

 
 
   
 

Audio excerpts: Songs of The Thirsty Sword Part I (For Lucky Mosko)
For piano, interactive laptop and video
in 4-channel surround sound (optionally in stereo)
Total Duration: ca. 30 minutes
Excerpt (3.1 MB)

 
 

Notes: Songs of the Thirsty Sword Part I (For Lucky Mosko)
2008

In 2001 my mentor and close friend, composer Stephen "Lucky" Mosko gave me a book entitled: The Thirsty Sword: Sirat Antar and the Arabic Popular Epic. It is a literary analysis of the great poems of Antar, figure of Syrian folklore, a half-black slave who wins his individual freedom and eventually the hand of his beloved Abla through feats of stone-hearted bravery and incorrigible strength. Early in the stories, which number about 300 in episodes, Antar acquires a mystical sword called Djami, purportedly forged of a thunder-bolt. With Djami in hand, Antar slays not only enemies, but entire armies, the stuff on which his legends are built.

Texts about Djami are not mild: "...the sword Djami, at whose edge flow the waves of death..." and "... Djami played among them, causing the heads of warriors to fly through the air like balls, and scattering their limbs like the leaves of trees," typify the imagery describing the mythical object.

In 2005 I began composing with the idea that novice, or even non-musicians could be included in an ensemble of virtuosi performers. I have worked in the past with variable elements in my scores, creating music that, although specific in its elements, has enough elasticity to offer an entirely unique piece of music each time it is performed. What I intend with this method is to provide both performers and audience with a musical experience that is fresh and new each performance, but that is also not improvised. By foregoing certain precepts of music writing and creating a trigger-able electronic interface, Songs of the Thirsty Sword Part I is composed not only for non-pianist, but could be as effectively performed by any non-musician. While Part II is a far more complex, modular score for solo piano, I have used that as the basis for the accompanying electronics in Part I. In addition, interactive video acts in musical counterpoint to the taughtly sustained sonic composition.

Songs of the Thirsty Sword Part I indicates a kind of liberation from musical hierarchies and has opened the door for a collection of solo+electronics works entitled The Velvet Watt.

(Downloadable text here)



 
   
Selected Image Sequences: Songs of the Thirsty Sword


 
     
    Information about Nicholas Chase may be found at:
www.nicholaschase.net