Mi­gra­tion-themed con­cert to be held on World Refugee Day

● The Map of the Mediter­ranean con­cert will fo­cus on the theme of mi­gra­tion, with po­etry by An­toine Cas­sar and new mu­sic by Luc Houtkamp and the POW En­sem­ble

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

A mu­sic and po­etry con­cert cen­tred on the theme of mi­gra­tion is to take place on 20 June, UN World Refugee Day.

In­spired by the Map of the Mediter­ranean poem by Mal­tese poet An­toine Cas­sar, this con­cert of new songs, mu­sic and re­cited po­etry will ex­plore how mi­gra­tion and travel has, over the cen­turies, de­fined Mediter­ranean cul­ture, its back­ground, lan­guage, cuisine, mu­sic and life­style.

Moved by Cas­sar’s poem, Malta-based com­poser Luc Houtkamp and his POW En­sem­ble have cre­ated new ex­per­i­men­tal mu­sic about mi­gra­tion, the Mediter­ranean Sea and the cur­rent refugee crises, for a show that echoes the cul­tural val­ues of Val­letta 2018 and co­in­cides with World Refugee Day.

“With­out mi­gra­tion, the Mediter­ranean would not be what it is now: a richly di­verse amal­gam of peo­ple with an ar­ray of cul­tural back­grounds and her­itages,” says Houtkamp. “Since the theme of mi­gra­tion is so rel­e­vant for to­day’s world, we wanted to con­nect our event with UN World Refugee Day, 20 June, as a sym­bol to con­nect with mi­grants liv­ing in Malta.”

Founded in 2001 by Houtkamp, the in­ter­na­tion­al­lyrenowned POW En­sem­ble is a cham­ber en­sem­ble for the 21st cen­tury. Us­ing live elec­tron­ics and com­put­ers as mu­si­cal in­stru­ments, the en­sem­ble bal­ances their work with di­verse acous­tic in­stru­ments and vo­cals, in a new ap­proach to con­tem­po­rary elec­tronic mu­sic.

The POW En­sem­ble has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in Malta, with Mal­tese-themed work in­clud­ing a re­cent project based on the old­est Mal­tese writ­ten text, Il Kan­tilena. After read­ing his Map of the Mediter­ranean poem, Houtkamp then sought to col­lab­o­rate with Cas- sar for the next POW En­sem­ble piece on mi­gra­tion.

“Luc con­tacted me a year ago to tell me he was plan­ning a se­ries of songs on mi­gra­tion, from var­i­ous his­tor­i­cal and ge­o­graph­i­cal an­gles. We agreed that Map of the Mediter­ranean was the best fit for the piece, since it de- scribes the shapes of the Mediter­ranean Sea from the four car­di­nal di­rec­tions in re­la­tion to the his­tory of its peo­ples, in­clud­ing an­cient and con­tem­po­rary mi­gra­tions,” ex­plains Cas­sar. “For the con­cert with the POW En­sem­ble, stan­zas in Mal­tese and English will form the back- bone, string­ing to­gether the var­i­ous songs they have com­posed.”

Houtkamp con­tin­ued: “The theme of mi­gra­tion gives many points of de­par­ture for a mu­si­cal event, such as the shared melodies, food or even the names. The more prob­lem­atic as­pects of mi­gra­tion, such as the need for peo­ple to leave ev­ery­thing and in­te­grate into new com­mu­ni­ties, while a so­ci­ety must like­wise adapt to the new in­flux of mi­grants, are also ex­plored by An­toine Cas­sar in his poem.”

The Map of the Mediter­ranean con­cert will take place at Maori in Val­letta be­tween 20 and 22 June and fea­tures An­toine Cas­sar recit­ing texts and nar­ra­tion, project leader and com­poser Luc Houtkamp on elec­tron­ics and wood­wind in­stru­ments, com­poser Guy Har­ries on flute, elec­tron­ics and vo­cals and Tom Ar­mitage on key­boards.

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