This video is an excerpt from the installation at Gaeriji Kapelica in Ljubljana.
Yîara is a series of sound projects based on drawings of rivers whose flows have been interrupted or diverted due to damming processes.
The title of this project, Yîara (in Tupi “Water Lady”), refers to a legend from Brazilian folklore that tells the tale of Yîara, a beautiful mermaid with long black hair that lives at the bottom of the rivers of northern Brazil. At dusk, she comes to the surface and, sitting on the rocks of the riverbanks, she seduces men with her irresistible chant. The seduced people then go with her to the bottom of the river never to return, and the few that do escape go mad from her enchantments.
Xingu is the first edition of the Yîara series. The composition was made in collaboration with Slovenian artist Brane Zorman. It comprises field recordings in the Xingu river, interviews with members of Asurini people from Kwatinemu Village and voices recorded in Ljubljana where three Slovenian singers recite and sing the Asurini words.
The Xingu River crosses central Brazil, from the tropical savannah of Mato Grosso upwards towards the Amazon, extending out over an area of 1870 km2. Its tracing is composed of several meanders, forming numerous islands whose patterns, as seen from above, resemble a lace made of water.
The Brazilian government is about to build the third largest dam in the world in the region called Baixo Xingu, at the point where the river bends southeast and then again heads north in a great turn known as Volta Grande (The Big Bend). Responsible for large-scale ecological and social damage in the region (the area belongs to the indigenous people), the project was already judicially interrupted by popular actions of local inhabitants, ecologists and part of the general Brazilian population. Unfortunately, the voices of economic interests are louder than the eco-social ones, and in the name of “progress” the construction has already began in the area. The harmful effects can already be felt in the region: a considerable decrease in fisheries, which are one of the sources of subsistence for the native people, and the doubling of populations of a city without health or sanitary infrastructure, which brings along disease, are only some examples.
For the dislocated and relocated indigenous people, what is the saddest is this asymmetry of power that leaves them little choice on how to lead their lives.
Almost as a magic connection, REKA meaning RIVER in Slovenian means LIFE in the language of Asurini from the Xingu region.
Vocal interprets: Lija Pečnikar, David Hudnik, Kataya
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