4. Performing Music
At the show we thought that you're moving towards the sacred music field.
Maybe it's some kind of aesthetic moments... Some kind of melodies that are being created that way, and their construction may remind of some kind of Medieval analogues or... It goes like inspiration, maybe, it pops up somehow from time to time...
Since the album “Selo”, and especially on your solo works, we can follow the tendency of turning to folk melodics.
Yeah, this element is present there. At least, I use some motifs in lyrics. And the way I build my compositions–there are also elements of folk stylistics, some intervals or harmonies... You can find many analogues—for example, someone sees the Pyrenees, someone—some motives of Caucasus, or, by the way, Turkish Janissary melos. I've been just coming across people saying: «Oh, you took... We had records with Janissary songs and something of those remind us of the piece of your song! Like you've been taking something from there and used it as a quote!»
How consciously do you do this?
Well, consciously, because I listen to a lot of music from that region and of that time. I just have a hobby of listening to music [laughing]
What kind of music do you listen to?
For example, I can recall Turkish classical music, some pieces by Dimitrie Cantemir
. I just love this music, I listen to it, and maybe it influences me somehow.
Maybe there is some kind of symbolic or historical background?
I've just been interested in this period, and how they both interacted—the European baroque and Turkish classical music.
We often meet people online who want to know what your lyrics are about.
For some songs I prepare absolutely, from A to Z, finished lyrics. Such that I can sing. And there are many songs where I'm not able to come up with so many lyrics, and I take some phonemes from different languages. Something that is good for me to sing. For example, there are lyrics in Serbian, and it's really good to sing. It’s easy, it organically lays on a melody, and I take it as an example. But I have many lyrics that are beyond the music, they just made up somehow, and I can’t fit them. So I just have to fit to some phonetic designs. But this is not some sort of abracadabra. I try to compile something from those languages that organically fits these melodies.
Some of your topics and images can be traced regularly. For example, the images of snakes, guards, or the themes of traveling, maybe, some other worlds, the time–all of them are kind of aesthetically related, drawn up in some kind of a world. Do you get inspiration from folklore motifs, maybe Slavic, or can it be rather called a private myth-making?
What makes me curious is a mystery of the world. Something that can inspire. Something that we can see only out of the corner of our eye. Or not even see but only feel, and we can’t even tell what it was. Some kind of dark mysterious side. Something that follows us. Something that can scare us. The topic of death, which is already so close, which is perceived as a kind of liberation. Something that a human being can expect as if with joy. The topic of mysticism in general. As I come with pleasure to the transition… Something like that…
In your only interview you told about traveling throughout Europe, and there was a motif of a free attitude of performing music–you played in hotel lobbies in Transylvania, on the streets. Is that some kind of a folk tradition of street music that you were inspired by? Minstrel practices?
Well, yes, at that time there was a trend in playing that way. And I already was not afraid to pick up the keys and not simply go to the theater and say “Well, I prepared something for you, let’s make something together”, but I could just play there in a lobby. But, again, it was over kinda fast, because the trend has gone. It goes in waves… At that time you had to stick something to the music, some theatrical performance. The music wasn’t self-sufficient, but now the time’s different. Now you can just play some improvisations and it will look more classy than in the '90s. And you shouldn’t think that it’s some kind of marginality. But it’s a question of two or three years. It will also be gone and there will be something else.
Do you remember the play “Transylvania Smile?”
It was in Germany, in Cologne. Some performance group called Pentamonia
. It was a group of five female dancers, and I was there playing live, and they were doing their performance part on the stage of Urania theater. It was the year of… '99? No, '96. And this beautiful title–we decided to keep it. Because “Transylvania Smile”, some dark reminiscences of some vulgar vampires or something like that. At that time it was in the context of dark folk.
In that interview you mentioned your curiosity in performative arts. Did you have other similar experiences working with cinema or theater? Your latest program sounds pretty cinematic.
To someone it reminded the soundtracks. I heard something about that. You mean these pieces that you heard during the show? Well, maybe. By the way, those were the pieces prepared by Romańczuk
. It was his concept. Maybe it worked.
Well, I took part in performances… I have colleagues, artists from Poland. Skibiński
[Wiesław Skibiński–a Polish graphic artist–ed.]… We also did a performance with a group TE 7EM
. There were also colleagues from Germany… It was before the TE 7EM’s actions, in 2006-2008. By the way, in November I’ll be taking part as a graphic artist. The same group, the same people…
*photo credits: Svitlana Nianio with her band mates and Włodek Nakonecznyj (in the middle), the publisher of Koka Records, in Warsaw, Poland at NOW Festival, October 1, 2017. By Aleksandra Rózga & Svitlana Nianio live in Poland as a part of CBS, early 90s. From What so funny about records’ compilation.