Pierluigi Billone
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for Percussion


Noam Bierstone, Christian Smith

A prayer. Mani.Gonxha is an intensely intimate ritualistic experience for the performer that becomes naked and exposed when placed in front of an audience. It is as if one were to visit a church and find someone deep in personal prayer; this moment of great significance for the individual creates a somewhat unsettling but captivating situation for the observer.

Through the use of two Tibetan singing bowls – traditionally sacred instruments used as a signal to begin and end periods of silent meditation – Billone extracts a rich soundscape featuring a variety of impacts, timbres, resonances and harmonics one would not imagine could be produced by a single source. The bowls are an extension of the hands (Mani). They become part of the performer, just as the performer himself becomes part of the resonating body. The slightest contact between various materials – metal, skin, bones, torso, and voice – multiplies and propagates sound through the performing body and into the open.

Gonxha is a reference to Mother Teresa’s Albanian birth name, Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. Furthermore, Gonxhe in Albanian translates to “bud”, or the “knoblike growth on a plant that develops into a flower,” much like the elaborate sonic universe that is developed from the simple source of two singing bowls.