ANYAA ARTS LIBRARY PRESENTS PYRASONIX (DVD) + AFRIFONICA (CD)
Founded in Accra, Ghana in 1990 by Nii Noi Nortey, the Anyaa Arts Library presents collaborative work in all media by Ghanaian and international artists. The library is a house of elders and ancestors. Enter and you experience both an African shrine with its contemporary and memorial objects, and a bohemian jazz club with its walls of vintage photographs and instruments.
The Pyrasonix DVD (31 minute long version + 11 minute short version) chronicles the library’s sound sculptural installations made by Nii Noi Nortey over the ten-year period of 2005-2014. During each of these years Steven Feld produced a photographic inventory of the sculptures, selections collaged and animated here, enhanced by a 2011 section that features a live molo performance and conversation with Nortey about how the sculptures are not mute but speak.
The Afrifonica CD (55 minutes) sounds a voyage improvised by Anyaa Arts Kollektif players in January 2014. Edited from two weeks of always searching and joyous, sometimes raucous, and sometimes meditative musical conversations, Afrifonica is a non-linear suite, a sonic voyage inspired by and sounded in the Pyrasonix sculptural installation space of the Anyaa Arts Library. The presence of conch shell and wia flute master J.C. Abbey, and flute and piccolo ace Alex Coke, adds many sonic layers to the numerous wind sounds of Nii Noi Nortey’s flute, wia, didjeridu, and special invention afrifon instruments. String textures are woven in from Nii Noi’s harp-lute and bass instruments (adungu, ngoni), complimented by melodic percussion from his mbira, Steven Feld’s ashiwa (bass mbira), and Nii Otoo Annan’s gyil xylophone and multiple timbre drums. The CD includes three exciting drum solo segments by Annan, performed on apentema hand drums, the full Afrikan percussion kit featuring double fontomfrom floor drums, and jazz trapset.
This is the first recording by the Kollektif as a quintet, despite many connections among the players. Nii Noi Nortey has gathered and inspired musical events with numerous Ghanaian and international players for many years, going back to his UK days with Dade Krama and African Dawn, and his Ghana-based projects Mau Mau Musiki and Afrikan Sound project. Nii Otoo Annan has been a regular presence in these groups for many years, as has musician, dancer, and marionette master J.C. Abbey. Nortey, Annan, and Feld previously worked together in the Accra Trane Station performing and recording projects (Tribute to A Love Supreme; Meditations, Another Blue Train) and Annan and Feld additionally collaborated on Bufo Variations and Ghana Sea Blues. Alex Coke, here making his first visit to Accra, earlier performed in Nortey, Annan and Feld’s US tours in 2007, 2010, and 2012 and appears with them on Topographies of the Dark.
DVD: PYRASONIX: THE SOUNDING SCULPTURES OF NII NOI NORTEY
Conception, Installation, Performance: Nii Noi Nortey
Musical Selections: featuring Nii Noi Nortey, Nii Otoo Annan, Steven Feld,
plus J.C. Abbey, Alex Coke, and Jefferson Voorhees
Photography, Video, Sound: Steven Feld
Video Editing: Jeremiah Ra Richards
A thirteen part non-linear suite recorded in January 2014
featuring improvised compositions and conversations by:
Nii Noi Nortey: adungu, afrifon, didjeridu, flute, mbira, ngoni, wia
Nii Otoo Annan: apentema, Afrikan perkussion kit, gyil, kitchen cans, trapset
J.C. Abbey: wia, conch shells
Alex Coke: flute, piccolo, wia
Steven Feld: ashiwa
Sound recording and editing: Steven Feld
Studio Mixing: Peter Fineberg
package photography: Steven Feld
package design: Michael Motley