There is a good chance that inimitable trombonist Roland Dahinden and pianist Hildergard Kleeb, and electronics wizard Cameron Harris never met legendary Brasilian poet Manoel de Barros whose deeply meditative, often surreal poetry celebrates life in all its glorious form. But a seminal connection between the musicians and De Barros is unmistakable. The Brasilian published an iconic book of poems Gramatica Expositiva do Chão (Poesia quase toda) [Descriptive Grammar of the Ground (almost complete poems)]. To understand the connection between the musicians and the poet let’s look at what the latter describes as the “Matter of Poetry”.
“Things that have no claims, such as for instance
stones that smell the water, men who go through
periods as trees, are good for poetry…”
On Dancing the Stone, these improvising musicians have something eerily similar to say. On this repertoire Dahinden, Kleeb and Harris create breathtaking sonic poetry that describes imaginary and concrete landscapes. In a sweeping musical procession songs become landmarks of ever-changing musical scenery viewed from constantly evolving perspectives. Like De Barros’ descriptive grammar of the ground, their descriptive grammar dwells in the poetry of music. Notes leap and fly off the page they dance and sing, and glimmer redolent of the poetry of sound bouncing off architectural landscapes, diaphanous fabric, whispering flowers and stones that dance.
The abstract romance of the melodic line is described in loping parabolas, and leaping and falling sonic spikes and dips, all of which collide in delightful harmonic whimsy. Throughout, Dahinden’s growling, bleating trombone is entwined in fluttering right hand lines and stabbing chords of Kleeb’s pianism, while Harris, examining the inner life of sound, reincarnates it all in tumbling loops and jabbering electronic sounds. Thus, a new improvised music palimpsest is formed, defined by a sophisticated attitude to rhythm and musical time. In Dancing the Stone a mathematical and the lyrical sonic patina fuses like a brilliant jigsaw puzzle of brightly coloured fragments reassembled in constantly shifting patterns of sound poetry.
Raul da Gama
Milton, Ontario, 2020
Roland Dahinden trombone
Hildegard Kleeb piano
Cameron Harris electronics
Recorded by Jonathan Crossley at SABC studios Johannesburg, mixed and mastered by Micha de Kanter at MIDEKA studio Den Haag in January 2020
© all works by Dahinden-Kleeb-Harris (SUISA)
Liner notes by Raul da Gama
Dahinden-Kleeb appear on courtesy of Hat Hut Records and Mode Records
Roland Dahinden plays a trombone made by Winfried Rapp
Roland Dahinden thanks the art councils of the city and canton Zug for financial support
Graphic design: Małgorzata Lipińska
Executive Prodicer: Maciej Karłowski