Christian Zehnder: kraah: Release Information
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Release Date: 12.09.2008
TT Catalogue No: 4515
Zehnder - kraah
When a flock of crows rises into the sky in front of you, you're sure to hear a gravelly „Kaw, kaw". These raw-sounding songs inspired Christian Zehnder's solo project.
It may at first seem astonishing that crows count amongst songbirds, and are even considered by ornithologists to be the crowning achievement of songbird evolution. They possess a quiet, chattering song and have an unusually broad vocal spectrum, even if it is rarely used and barely audible. An analogy can be made to the human voice, which also fails to utilise the potential of the vocal organs and connected resonance space, leaving a fantastic register of sound unused. The enormous vocal range possessed by crows and their mythological meaning have clearly influenced Christian Zehnder in his solo project. Zehnder, an unusual vocal artist who in recent years has made his name internationally with the Stimmhorn Duo, has coined a new musical and performance style which is both innovative and homely. He experiments on the fringes of the human voice, whistling, scratching, chirping and cooing. Without needing words his compositions evoke stories while he communicates over and above all language barriers. Like the wordless music of the crows, Zehnder equals birdsong.
As one of the few practitioners of European overtone singing, Christian Zehnder achieves soundscapes between earthbound rumbling of home and otherworldly whirring. He introduces new impulses into vocal techniques long romanticised and occupied by the New-Age scene, by being able to integrate mythical overtone singing into his compositions. Sounds emerge that are at once earthly yet unknown, mysterious, impossible to categorise, without falling into a celebration of folk-music tradition.
With double-bassist Georg Breinschmid and percussionist Thomas Weiss, Christian Zehnder has found two virtuoso, independent-minded musicians to accompany him on his flight through the musical soundspheres with plenty of musical charm. In addition, Zehnder has invited guests from the Swiss music scene who all, different though they may be, uniquely derive their music from the alpine context of their homeland. Christoph Marthaler, Noldi Alder, Don Li, Anton Bruhin and Fortunat Frölich with the casalQuartett all play on kraah. Similar to the German myth of the two ravens who sat on the shoulders of Wotan, the father of the Gods, acting as interpreters, reporting the events on earth to the Gods, Christian Zehnder unifies cultures with his music.
He creates musical connections in which yodelling and original Asian overtone
singing melt imperceptibly into each other and allow the listener to become
aware that human expression knows no boundaries, and that through the urge
art is born. This was the basis of encounters with Asian throat singers, from
whom Zehnder is awarded complete respect for discovering his own form of expression,
being instantly recognisable within it and refusing to succumb to any foreign
style. Just as the raven in antiquity was a symbol for loyalty, Zehnder remains
constantly loyal to himself and his music. He has followed his path and is
now at the point where his experience enhances his creativity: has found
homeland: it lies there where the mountains end and the empire of the birds