Louise K Wilson
 
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Duet for One: Intangible Culture | 2014

I am interested in how language is acquired, acts of translation and the mistakes made audible when learning new songs by ear. The vehicle for this is Silent Night, Holy Night (written in Austria in 1818) – a Christmas carol that is on UNESCO’s national list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ (formalising the idea that cultural heritage is transmitted from generation to generation in adaptable forms such as music, language and ritual).

The song has acquired an enduring mythology – a hundred years ago it was reputedly sung by German and English troops in the brief and unofficial cessation of hostilities in World War One (the ‘Christmas Truce’). Polly, my daughter of five, learned the song at school and we sometimes sing it together at night in order to get her to sleep.  In the recording she is singing into a ‘Groovy Tunes’ plastic toy microphone containing a spring reverb-type mechanism. As such, this continues my
interest in the simulation and archiving of different resonant acoustic spaces. This field recording was made in the attic of our home.


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