August 29, 2013

Marietjie Pauw Concert: Water, stray cattle and the urban: Dwelling in South African landscapes

This performance remembers a century of change, with South Africa in a process of de-agrarianisation, and with its peoples still affected by the extreme social engineering of apartheid. A century after the passing of the 1913 Land Act (ultimately reserving 87% of the land for ‘white’ use), musical performance, here brought into relation with ‘landscape’, prompts an immersive engagement towards layered hearings of the history and ‘lay’ of the land.

The performance responds to a challenge by sociologist Cherryl Walker (2010). She argues for the need to move beyond an over-simplified master narrative (of restitution and redistribution of land) that ‘omits too much’. She motivates that ‘[w]e need intellectuals, artists and activists who can script a multiplicity of narratives about the land’. The distinct role of musicians as soundscapers, the way they tell stories and critically reflect in and through music, accepts Walker’s challenge by exploring the poetic implications of this call to activism. Musicians ‘scape’ (etymologically ‘shape, create’) not only narratives through their music, they also amplify memories and expectations with regard to the topography, demography and struggles for the land. The ‘natural’ land, the cultivated land as nurturing soil, the mined land rich in minerals, and the acknowledgement of this land as a rural and increasingly urbanised home for a diversity of peoples, underpin these aural propositions. Tim Ingold’s notions of ‘embodied landscape’, and ‘landscape as dwelling’ underscore this performance. The programmed works are by South African composers.


Marietjie Pauw (Stellenbosch) is a PhD student at Stellenbosch University where her practice-based research interrogates curatorship, South African flute music, and landscape as central themes. She teaches flute in Stellenbosch, and she plays in chamber music ensembles that have performed throughout South Africa, also on national festivals. International duo concerts include a series of performances in Ulm, Germany and Princeton, USA. In addition to numerous commissions and performances of South African compositions, she has made commercial recordings of works by composers Hendrik Hofmeyr and Neo Muyanga on commission of the International Huguenot Society and the Distell Foundation, as well as on the Afrimusic label. She produced the CD Fofa le nna: Music for two flutes with Barbara Highton Williams in 2012. She received flute tuition from Éva Tamássy at the University of Stellenbosch, where she was awarded the degrees (cum laude) BMus, BMus(Hons) and MMus (Performance). She obtained the Licentiates in Flute Performance (UPLM) and in Flute Teaching (UTLM) from the University of South Africa.

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