Tinta Roja, Tinta Negra / Red Ink, Black Ink (2017)

for three female singers, a microtonally tuned jarana (as a resonator), and electronics

para tres cantantes femeninas, una jarana afinada microtonalmente (como resonador) y electrónica


Program note:

Y bien canta, 
bien habla,
bien conversa,
bien responde,
bien ruega;
la palabra no es
algo que se compre.

Huehuetlahtolli (de “Palabras de
exhortación con que una madre así 
habla, así instruye a su hija”)

Ancient voices—silenced and lost to perpetuity, they attempt to speak to their mestizo offspring which is at once theirs and other's, being and not-being, center and margin, both and neither.

When I read the words "Tinta Roja, Tinta Negra," I immediately relate them to the rhetorical figure that the ancient Aztecs are thought to had used to refer to their codexes, and therefore, to wisdom. "Red Ink, Black Ink," the same words but in another language, resonate in my head as rhetorical figures for loss and profit within a capitalist economic context.

Even if these voices succeeded in formulating a word, we would never know exactly what they meant, what those words meant to them, from which dismissed epistemologies they come from, what their real message was. The only thing we can do is resonate with them, beautifully or horribly, and listen.

--

Voces ancestrales, silenciadas y perdidas para siempre, intentan comunicarse con su descendencia mestiza. Descendencia suya y "otra", centro y margen, ambas y ninguna.

Cuando leo las palabras "Tinta Roja, Tinta Negra", se me viene a la mente la figura retórica que se cree que los antiguos Mexicas usaban para referirse a sus códices—y por ende, a la sabiduría. De otra manera, las palabras "Red Ink, Black Ink"—las mismas palabras, únicamente en otra lengua—resuenan en mi cabeza como símbolos de ganancia y pérdida dentro de un contexto económica capitalista.

Incluso si estas voces lograran formular una palabra, nunca podríamos saber exactamente qué es a lo que hacen referencia, lo que significan para ellas esas palabras, de qué epistemologías perdidas provienen, cuál es el mensaje que intentan comunicar. A mi parecer, lo único que podemos hacer es resonar con ellas, de manera agradable o desagradable, y escuchar.

 

 

 

Performed by and dedicated to Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
(recording of the world premiere at Constellation, Chicago, February 2017)

Special thanks to:
-Pablo Abelardo Mariña who coded the Max MSP patch used for matching the electronics with the timer. 
-Gabrielle Barkidjija who helped me recording some of the sounds with which I composed the electronic part