On the last week-end of May, Konstmusiksystrar held the first Ljud och Genus festivalen [Sound and Gender festival] at Atalante, Gothenburg. Konstmusiksystrar have taken for mandate to support emerging female and trans sound and art music artists. The whole week-end was thus dedicated to bringing forth and promoting works and performances by artists from some of the most vulnerable of social classes. Yet, when one hears ‘emerging artist’, one very often imagines young people, springing with new ideas and ready to bring fresh energy to the artistic world. But what of the not—so—young? This is one of the questions that Konst:it poses.
With its group of five elderly women, the choir directed by Isadora del Carmen is a statement on its own. It very directly addresses the following issues: to whom does art in fact belong? Who is entitled to the role of artist, who is credible as a performer? In successfully recruiting and musically training five elderly women with little to no musical background and who barely knew each other, Isadora has effectively challenged the common notion of accessibility to the stage, and has claimed the position of ‘artist’ for her choir members.
Should musical credibility solely stem from an academic or otherwise peer-approved upbringing? In solidly performing nearly 14 minutes of music on Atalante’s stage, Konst:it fiercly responds to that question with a resounding ‘No!’ As a member of the audience, I found it striking to see how focused, serious and dedicated these women happened to be. The group had remarkable complicity and coherence. It was obvious that they had reached a level of trust with each other which allowed them to display confidence and belief in their performance. They saw value in their work and wanted to share it with as much integrity as possible.
Konst:it is an ensemble which was founded by Isadora del Carmen in January of 2017 as an experimental project which was later incorporated into her study degree at the music academy of Gothenburg. She has worked relentlessly on developing a pedagogic method which would allow her musicians to expand and tap into their own creativity and give them ever-growing artistic independence and self-expression. After only three months of wholehearted work as an ensemble, this debut performance on the 28th of May is a solid case for the value of rendering serious music available to anyone who well wants to be a part of it. I’m curious, how loudly can such a statement be made? Konst:it’s further explorations are expected to resume this autumn.
Below is the video of this very first performance, recorded by Atalante.