Raoni Muzho Saleh

Workshop: Moaning Choir

Kuvassa joukko ihmisiä istuu mustalla lattialla. Kaikilla on valkoiset vaatteet päällä. Keskimmäistä lukuunoattamatta ihmisten päät ovat painuksissa, kuin he surisivat. Keskimmäinen pitelee päätään, keho hieman taipuneena taaksepäin. Hänen silmät ovat kiinni ja hän näyttää tuskaiselta tai surulliselta.

The moan is ugly and makes one uncomfortable.
The moan is beautiful and brings one to tears.
The moan is heavy and makes one’s heart ache from a pain relatable.
The moan can be simple in her presence, like a baby sighing gently.
The moan can be horrifying and hysterical.
The moan nags.
The moan allows for emotional and spiritual release.
The moan is like a nomadic traveller coming from afar, carried by the howling wind and rocking broken hearts.
The moan is beyond the human, her expression of pain and pleasure moves us into non-human sympathy, into non-human relationality and into listening beyond the human.

Our voices are data constantly emerging out of murky bodies. Our (inter)personal stories are not transparent and easily graspable; rather, the opacity of our (inter)personal stories can move us beyond a fixed notion of our subjectivity and identities. It is the data in our voices that entangles conversations of our pasts with that of others. It is the data, as our bodily sounds, which sculpt our belonging to one another. 

In this workshop we will focus on the moan as data which speaks about loss, belonging and being together as a way of moaning composition. We will build towards a moaning choir, perhaps a symphony of wailing babies, or a hysterical discord of lamenting mourners. The main question that we are engaged with is: “what happens to our feeling and sensing bodies when we are held in a collective and affective space of moaning?” 

We will explore this question through the musical form of call & response, learning to sympathetically listen through the skin and respond from the guts. In most native traditions, the musical call and response form is a pattern of democratic participation that is used for spiritual rituals. 

During each rehearsal we will work collectively with practices of deep listening, inspired by Pauline Oliveros. We will engage with listening in relation, learning how to allow our bodies to be washed over by the moaning whimpers of our neighbours and how to respond with a groan from a place of sympathetic affectivity. Because, what happens in our lungs and in our hearts when the frequency of someone else’s moan vibrates against ours? We will listen, and stay with the listening. 

The workshop ends with a rehearsal open for audience.

Supported by WORM, Rotterdam. Premiere open rehearsal “The Never Ending Moaning of a Polyphonic Choir” October 30, 2021, WORM Rotterdam.

In collaboration with Mad House Helsinki.

Moaning Choir 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.

Mon 20.11. 16.00
Tue 21.11. 11.00
Wed 22.11. 11.00
Thu 23.11. 11.00
Fri 24.11. 11.00
Fri 24.11. 18.00

Mad House Helsinki
Tekstin Talo, Lintulahdenkatu 3, Helsinki

Language: English

For participant:

You can register to the week’s workshop here.


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