eloisa manera | duende
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Eloisa Manera‘s new solo album “Duende” explores the intersection between sound, memory, and identity, evoking the embodied knowledge and cultural memory of her ancestors, and encompassing multiple level of meaning.
Drawing on her own personal history and cultural heritage, the Spanish-Italian violinist and composer has crafted a work that is both intensely personal and universal in its themes, an ode to the demon that resides in each of us, and a journey into the most remote recesses of our being, from which light can be channeled through the artist’s expression.
The title of the album, ‘Duende‘, is a term from Spanish folklore referring to a force that inhabits the deepest layers of the human psyche, an energy both earthbound and mystical in nature, which springs especially from the roots of the uprooted, and flows through the artist’s body, thus influencing artistic expression and activating the listener’s innermost memories and emotional chords.
Through the peculiar use of her voice, acoustic violin and 5-strings electric violin, Eloisa draws upon her extensive technical and musical knowledge, ranging from Jazz to transfigured memories of Spanish and Italian traditional music, to Classical, Romantic, Post-minimalist, and Contemporary violin lexicons, to offer us a musical landscape that is at once haunting and ethereal, earthly and acquatic.
The album’s many layers of meaning include the memory of Eloisa‘s grandparents, who lived through the Spanish Civil War. Through her music, Eloisa channels their experiences and the memories they have passed down to her, creating a powerful testimony to the enduring legacy of human resilience and a testament to the fabric of interwoven narratives that constitutes the human experience.
Anthropologically speaking, “Duende” can also be seen as an exploration of the subtle and not so obvious ways in which music can serve as a repository of cultural memory and a means of expressing deeply held emotions and experiences.
“Duende” is Eloisa Manera‘s second solo work, which again she created in collaboration with the Sicilian curatorial collective Almendra Music, as a a coherent thematic development of her debut solo album, “Rondine” (‘Swallow‘), which explored the experience of travel and migration as a constitutive aspect of the human experience.
In stark contrast to the hyper-structured nature of “Rondine“, which was first developed in the studio and then elaborated for live performance, “Duende” grew out of a series of radically improvised solo concerts, where each performance served as a creative emergency to explore the raw essence of Eloisa‘s art.
Only after Eloisa traced the primary sources of her inspiration through live improvisation did she enter the Almendra studios in Palermo, Sicily, to record the album in an immersive and uninterrupted three-day session, almost like a Dionysian ritual.
After the recording process, as is common practice at Almendra, the post-production stage triggered a game of resonance between the artists of the Sicilian creative incubator. This led Giovanni Di Giandomenico, the Palermo-born, Paris-based composer, sound artist and pianist, to craft a transfigured electronic rendering of each track on the album.
As a result, the album’s entire journey, first experienced in the order in which each track emerged during the recording session, is retraced backwards, with each piece distilled into its essential sonic and animic constituents, so that each ‘Duende’ on the album corresponds to a related ‘Espiritu’.
Violin, 5-strings electric violin, voice, body percussion, pedal effects: Eloisa Manera
Electronics on tracks 8 to 14, and additional electronics on track 1: Giovanni Di Giandomenico
Music by Eloisa Manera (“Invocación al Duende”, “Duende 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8”), and by Giovanni Di Giandomenico on sound materials by Eloisa Manera (“Invocación al Duende”, “Espiritu 1, 8, 7, 6, 5, 3, 2”)
Album produced by Gianluca Cangemi & Luca Rinaudo
Recorded by Luca Rinaudo at Zeit Studio (Palermo, Sicily, Italy) – Producer: Gianluca Cangemi
Mixed by Luca Rinaudo at Zeit Studio (Palermo, Sicily, Italy), with additional sound design by Giovanni Di Giandomenico
Mastered by Luca Rinaudo at Zeit Studio (Palermo, Sicily, Italy)
Cover: edit of acrylic on wood painting “Duende 7” by Eloisa Manera
Curator: Gianluca Cangemi