Raoni Muzho Saleh

Moaning choir’s open rehearsal: The Never Ending Moaning of a Polyphonic Choir

In the picture, a group of people sits on a black floor. They are all wearing white clothes. Except for the person in the middle, everyone's heads are bowed, as if they were in mourning. The person in the middle is holding their head, their body slightly arched backward. Their eyes are closed, and they appear to be in pain or sorrow.

The never ending moaning of a polyphonic choir is a working title which marks the rehearsal of Raoni Muzho Saleh’s workshop for Baltic Circle 2023. The workshop Moaning Choir deals with the question “what happens to our feeling and sensing bodies when we are held in a collective and affective space of moaning?”

During a week the participants have engaged with moaning as a polyphonic practice which shapes emotional expressions through sonority as data. Drawing inspiration from the musical technique of call & response” in for example folk songs, gospel and working songs, Raoni uses this technique to rehearse alongside the fellow wailers with a listening through the skin and a calling from the gut.

The precondition of the neverending moaning of this polyphonic choir is that we already are a moaning breathing brethren and that when we gather in an endless wailing, our sounding cuts through any futurity of justice that seems unapproachable. As Anthony Heilbut puts it in The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times:

“Words cant begin to tell you, but maybe moaning will.”

Raoni/Muzho Saleh (AFG/NL) is an artist based in Amsterdam. His work is influenced by fugitivity, a revolutionary movement that shapes his artistic vision. By dancing through the gender spectrum, Raoni has developed an unique movement practice that emphasises “becoming other”, an ongoing state of incompleteness. Through the use of materials such as textile, dough, voice and text, Raoni invites a serious kind of play into the performance space where both audience and performers can practise a continuous negotiation of an otherworldly becoming.

In collaboration with Mad House Helsinki.

The open rehearsal is part of the international Radio that Matters project, which focuses on performing arts, radiophony, and acoustic inclusivity. The Creative Europe pilot project is a collaboration between Baltic Circle, Short Theatre Festival (IT), Festival Parallelen (FR), Errand Sound (DE), Radio Papessa (IT), and PAV (IT), and it builds partnerships between local radios, artists, and organizations promoting cultural diversity.

Fri 24.11. 21.00

Mad House Helsinki
Tekstin Talo, Lintulahdenkatu 3, Helsinki

Duration: 50 min
Language: English

For participant:

The open rehearsal has free admission.


Mad House is accessible for people using mobility aids. Read more about accessibility here.