I am currently working on a series of four compositions dealing with issues of authorship, oral story telling and the place and manipulation of the media in the 21st century. The original idea was to create a contemporary variation of music similar to that of the Griots of West Africa.
This was performed/composed/created as an interactive improvisation where people could turn up with their instruments and jam along with the Kora (21 string West African harp). The kora, however, was unmanned by anyone so they had to experiment with some prompts given by me to create a Kora part for everyone else to jam.
Recorded over four simultaneous tracks live in the atrium at a local university (three instrument and one vocal tracks) passers by participated in the composition process and played their part. Some told stories about themselves and others or the wider world whilst others played the kora or their own instruments to create a blanket of beautiful sounds.
I took the recordings away and cut them up and reordered them using chance procedures to offer an interweaving jigsaw of overlapping discussions and musical ideas which are determined by everyone but myself.
Who is the composer? One could argue me as I instigated the original idea, gave non specific prompts and played a little bit of kora but 99% of the content is not written or performed by me. The performers are anonymous by choice and were merely happy to be a part of the project for no composition credentials. As the final product is put together via chance do I class as the arranger?
This is the first of four which will focus on different genres, the current one is focussing on club dance music and sampling. I will post this when I have time to complete it. Meanwhile, you may wish to grab a coffee first as this first instalment it is 14:30 long. I hope you make it to the end...
I would be interested in others creating their own mix/remix of this work so if you would be interested I could supply the recordings (there are 4 x 4 hour long stereo recordings) if you wish to be part of a larger scale project of remixing and authorship.