2020/21 Day response to MUSIC FOR ISOLATED MUSICIANS

This 21 day project is a collaboration between award winning composer / conductor Franco Prinsloo (South Africa) and myself. The project titled Music for Isolated Musicians is in response to the enforced 21 day lockdown due to the global CORONA-19 pandemic. This mini project entails Franco writing a short piece per day, and myself responding  with a drawing.


In light of the  number of lockdown days, I have decided to draw every drawing 21 times in immediate succession. The mark making therefore takes place over a few hours, often with escalating frustration, which, I feel, signifies the possible frustration of forced physical, mental and emotional isolation. My gestural drawing follows the tonalities and intonations of each piece I listen to. The results for every individual composition varies considerably.  Initially starting quite close to the paper surface the drawing is quite contained. Moving further away with every subsequent hearing, the lines become free-er and I am less able to control the movements.

Letting go becomes important in developing the work.

Photographic documentation of the project @MyMalaika_Photography

Day 1 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 1 is dedicated to George Sandor Fazakas who is also the flautist performing the solo.

Listening to Fazakas perform this piece I was reminded of an earlier experience where I walked between hundreds and hundreds of butterflies whilst walking on a slope of a mountain in Turkey. The music echoed the multitude of delicate fluttering wings, darting in all directions only to return full circle. Or so if felt. Trying to keep up with the speed of the changing notes was a challenge that both exhausted and thrilled me at the same time. 

YouTube link  here


Day 2 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 2 is dedicated to Magdalena de Vries who is also the marimba player performing the solo.

As I listen to the energetic array of sounds created on the Marimba, both my body posture and movements are adapted. These embodied changes are in direct response to feeling the pulsating sounds. In the video at the top of this page this is clearly visible. During the drawing process there is a moving out of the centre of the body which, again, is reflected in the drawing:  the weighted centre becomes the holding space for the flighted far-reaching tonalities..

YouTube link of Magdalena de Vries' performance here


Day 3 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 3 is dedicated to Ronald Davey who is also the cellist performing the solo.

Drawing Davey perform, I am very aware of a divide between what seems to feel like two energetic forces. There is a clear tension that exists between a 'higher' and a 'lower'  world  (conscious / subconscious)  which only just manages to meet in the Middle World. Connection exists in a binary state at Quantum level, seemingly defying the  observer. 

Youtube link of Ronald Davey's performance here


Day 4 - Music for Isolated Musicians

This composition is dedicated to Magdalene Minnaar who is also the vocal soloist. 

This sonic sketch is certainly one of the most baffling to me. The title of the song is "Sirkellietjie' or 'Circle song'. One could even describe it as a kind of mantra, yet the drawing is unquestionably linear! I was unaware of the title whilst drawing. I keep wondering whether - had I known - I might have been influenced by it? I often prefer to have as little info prior to performing my drawings in order to be able to listen in an unbiased way. 

Youtube link of Magdalene Minnaar performance here


Day 5 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Soon to include both the video and response drawing!

Day 5 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Soon to include both the video and response drawing!


Videos coming soon

Day 6 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 6 is dedicated to Johan Ferreira who is also the performing oboeist.

When listening to Oboe I am always reminded of the unique tones created by the double reed. It is interesting to note that in the accompanying drawing, there are thin lines protruding from the main body. There was no cognitive intention in doing so as my work process is purely gestural, but perhaps in some subliminal way this embodied duality surfaces.

Youtube link of Johan Ferreira performance here


Day 7 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 7 is dedicated to Anna-Maria Hefde. The talented bassoonist, Arno Steyn, performs this composition. 

The bassoon is quite a large instrument with soft, lower tones that is particularly soothing in its own particular way. Seen the size of the instrument I suspect that somehow I had envisaged a larger, more dominant work. It therefore came as a surprise when, even during the very first layer, I realised that I was constraining my gestural movements considerably. This did not change over the course of the following 20 drawings layered over the first. I find the mark-making incredibly interesting, particularly the fragility of the SonicSketch in relation to the sizeable bassoon.

Youtube link of Arno Steyn performance here


Day 9 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 9 is dedicated to Morné van Heerden who plays the clarinet.

I have a particular affinity with the clarinet as I used to play it quite well as a youngster, winning the national award back in the day. Listening to the performance I was quite curious as to how `I would respond. The X-shape that has emerged is therefore quite interesting and, other than a variant of a cross  "can also be understood as a “crossing over” to another dimension: a transcendence, transformation, or transmigration." (reference)  Am I going back, migrating back into time ..? Am I transcending through the embodied memories of the sound ..?

Facebook  link of Morné van Heerden performance here


Day 10 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 10 is dedicated to violinist Berfin Aksu.

This drawing I view as different from all the others, and perhaps it is because the performer is dear to me. My emotional connection to Berfin directly influenced my drawing and I often found myself needing to take a rest after a layer, as, at times, I felt as if I could physically feel her energy. This energetic connection seemed to open up the drawing field to a space filled with discoverable potential. Each gesture and mark-making was a confirmation of this energetic sonic landscape. 

Youtube link of Berfin Aksu's performance here


Day 11 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 11 is dedicated to Judy Ho playing the harp.

Shortly into the first drawing I felt that I needed to cross my midline, the imaginary line separating the left and right sides of one's body. For most part of the drawing process  I ended swopping my left and right hands, mark-making on the opposite sides of the paper. This inter-twining of fields was unexpected making the drawing process particularly interesting as I inter-changed left and right. The final outcome is cyclical connectivity, perhaps reflecting the harpist's movements whilst plucking with the harp positioned at midline. 

Youtube link of Ching Man Ho Judy's performance here


Day 12 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 12 is dedicated to Snjezana Pavicevic who plays the piccolo.

A fascinating experience is that drawings reveal themselves. Approaching the interpretation of this solo piece I imagined sparce mark-making due to the high frequencies of the instrument. I was, therefore, incredibly surprised that this drawing revealed itself as the most weighted of all so far.

There was a strong pull for me to overlay the initial drawing with bolder mark-making. Yet in spite of the added weight, the interpretation of the piccolo 's sounds can most certainly be felt in the elongated tip in the left half of the drawing field as it possibly moves out into frequencies perhaps beyond what is audible to the human ear.

Youtube link of Snjezana Pavicevic performance here


Day 13 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 13 is dedicated to Niël Rademan who is the vocal performer and pianist of the the "Circle Song" to the words of Philip De Vos's poem:

Dis 'n onvoltooide sirkel.

Dis 'n onbekende baan.

Nêrens is 'n kaart te kry

en nêrens om te gaan.

- Philip De Vos - 

This drawing started off as four individual smaller drawings. I was nervous about this well into the 13th layer when they started amalgamating into the stronger central body. This reminded me once again in the trust and belief that must be handed over to the mark-making process. 

Facebook link of Niël Rademan's  performance here


Day 18 - Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 18 is dedicated to Danrè Strydom who plays solo clarinet.

I started drawing these clarinet sounds in broad gestures as I was feeling my way intuitively into the drawing. What was interesting is that during the 7th layer started becoming  aware that I was minimising my gestures and working quite tightly. These are very interesting embodied choices which remind me of the body's intelligence in making choices. I find that this 'take over' happens when I succeed in letting my own thought processes go.

Youtube link of Danrè Strydom  performance here


Day 20- Music for Isolated Musicians

Day 20 is dedicated to Matthew Lombard who is the Alto Saxophone soloist.

This composition is possibly my all-time favourite. The soothing and fluid sounds of the Alto Saxophone resulted in a drawing that evokes the idea of an underwater landscape in me. Whilst drawing the music I had a strong sense of water, of fluid, passing in front of me as I remained stagnant. For this reason I  continuously drew from left to right which I repeated throughout the 21 layers. I felt the work needed to be weighted at its base, adding the additional black paper strip at the bottom. The Japanese Pen used in the last five layers solidifies the drawing to this base line.

Youtube link of Matthew Lombard performance here

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2020 / Sonya Rademeyer        ©Sonya Rademeyer. All rights reserved.