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Zafraan Ensemble

Hiding Place

Zafraan Ensemble, Berlin (DE)

With Hiding Place, the Zafraan Ensemble further develops an instrumental work by the Indian composer Uday Krishnakumar, which will be premiered in May 2023 as part of the Vistaar project in the Spreehalle Berlin, into an extensive piece of music theatre. In this work, which is already designed as the basis for further scenic development, the North Indian instrument Rudra Vina enters into a dialogue with the instruments of the Zafraan Ensemble. Uday Krishnakumar is particularly interested in the mixture of timbres of Western and Indian instruments, their cultural context and the play with fictitious traditions and performance practices. The project stems from a lengthy research and composition process, which also saw the creation of Krishnakumar's instrumental fragment Tilism-e-Naiyer Masud and his solo pieces for microtonal clavichord.

Hiding Place is based on the short Urdu narrative of the well-known Luckhnavi writer Naiyer Masud and is set in the context of the 1857 uprising in the Awadh region of northern India. In his research, Krishnakumar has come across historical documents from the Awadhi court that describe a remarkable musical experimentation that took place before its collapse, including experimental opera, one example of which is Inder Sabha, which exists today only in variations as folk theatre. He also refers to various traditions of instrument making. What presents itself as tradition hides the musical preferences, localisms, ecological and technological conditions and modes of construction and playing from which they emerge. In his compositions, the instruments themselves again become the object.

For the music-theatrical realisation of Hiding Place, the instrumental work will be complemented by two singers, two narrators in the Dastango tradition and a live shadow play. In addition, short Rudra Vina solos by Krishnakumar's teacher Ustad Bahauddin Dagar will be embedded in the work, harking back to the original Hindustani musical tradition.

The performance of the music theatre Hiding Place is made possible by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

Further information:


January 26 and 27, 2024
Theater im Delphi, Berlin

January 28 , 2024
resonanzraum, Hamburg