MARK VAN TONGEREN: Catching up with Tran Quang Hai

MARK VAN TONGEREN: Catching up with Tran Quang Hai

Fusica © 2002 – 2019

Catching up with Tran Quang Hai

5th October 2019Overtone Singing, People, Publications, Throat Singing, Writings, 中文Bach Yen, dan moi, jew’s harp, mouthharp, Overtone Singing, Tran Quang Hai, Vietnamese music

The most prolific researcher in the field of overtone singing is a man with many faces. His name is Tran Quang Hai and you can call him (and all options are correct): Vietnamese or French; a professional musician or a professional musicologist; an instrumentalist or a singer; an improviser or a composer; a traditional, a popular or an experimental musician (all three will do); an expert in Vietnamese traditional musics and an astute chronicler of its year-to-year development in the past decades.* Tran Quang Hai has a new book out celebrating his 50 years of music research in many different areas. We recently met in Paris, where he shared some interesting facts about the Vietnamese Jew’s harp (dan moi) I did not know before. On the trip back to Amsterdam I read most of the articles in his book that I had not seen before, so more on that too. Before talking about our meeting, his book and the origin of the word dan moi (Jew’s harp), some historical background. Since Hai is Tran Quang Hai’s first name I will refer to him as Hai.

I learned of Hai’s work on overtone singing in the early 1990s. When I got to know him personally, I was astounded and (I will admit) a bit intimidated by his unbridled energy. He loves to share what he does, and he is in fact overflowing with enthusiasm: for overtone singing, for Vietnamese music, for playing the Jew’s harp and spoons, for ethnomusicology, for his constant travels as a performer and teacher. After my visits I was usually exhilirated (about all the new things I had learned or shared with him) and at the same time exhausted (feeling my life was a mess with no progress at all).

In fact, going to Paris has been almost synonymous with visiting Hai and his lovely wife Bach Yen (whose singing carreer goes way way back). And these visits became almost synonymous with absolutely great Vietnamese food. Bach Yen often spent hours and hours to buy fine ingredients like all kinds of fresh leaves, vegetables, seafood and meat and prepare them the Vietnamese way. We would have excellent diners, drank nice wine, as the couple made an annual ‘pilgrimage’ to different regions in France to stock up on boxes of quality wine to share with friends at home.

After moving to Taiwan, my encounters with Tran Quang Hai were scarce, and visits to both of them even more. In 2019, it has been around ten years since we last met in Paris. So I was delighted to see them again some weeks ago. Tran Quang Hai retired a decade ago from the ethnomusicology department at the Musée de L’Homme in Paris, but has remained an active performer and workshop leader for all these years. Bach Yen is a famous singer of popular songs and entertainment music, as well as a singer of many different genres of traditional music. Together they have given hundreds of concerts in Europe and elsewhere, and they continue to do so. Here is a photo of their appearance in Genoa, Italy, a week or so after I met them.

Late August, when I walked down the platform of Gare de Lyon, Hai and Bach Yen were waiting for me. Once again I was overwhelmed to be in their buzzing, energetic presence. The first thing they did, was to get out their cameras and make many photos together. Then we strolled to their car, and their warm hands and arms embraced my arms. I sometimes think of myself as someone who easily touches people, but this time I thought I am quite distant compared to them. It was really (excusez le mot) touching to stroll down the platform chatting and to be ‘wrapped’ by their tender hands and arms on both sides. Hai told me once about using his hands to heal people and showed me some methods. But it seems the couple just radiates warmth and energy naturally, even without using a special method.

For our Vietnamese food, this time we drove to a place called Pho Bida, pronounced Fo Beeyaa. Pho is the famous Vietnamese noodle soup, but what about Bida? It turns out to be derived from ‘billiard’, as the former location of this restaurant housed a popular billiard room as well. The place is not very spacious but we were early and could chose any seat. By the time we left lots of people waited outside. The food was great and loved by Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese alike: highly recommended! (Pho Bida Vietnam, 36 rue Nationale, 75013 Paris)

Tran Quang Hai’s New Book

When we sat down, Hai gave me his new book, a thick volume with many of his articles and listst of all his achievements, titles, appearances, etc. organized in a single volume. Some articles I have known for a long time. So I particularly enjoyed reading those things I did not know in detail.

First, an article about Vietnamese music and its historical background, very helpful for understanding the relationship to Chinese music and culture. It also covers many of the recent developments in Vietnamese music, making it in effect a kind of encyclopaedic entry into Vietnam and all its music. With this work Hai most clearly follows in the footsteps of his late father Tran Van Khe, also a well-known musician and musicologist.

“Tran Quang Hai. 50 Years of Research in Vietnamese Traditional Music and Overtone Singing.”

Second, an article that accompanied a double CD issued in France in 1997, dedicated to the absolutely fascinating world of mountain tribe musics in Vietnam. There is a dazzling array of types of instruments and ways of playing, and these liner notes give a good overview of this field.

If you are interested in overtone singing and still love printed matter, as I do myself, then this is a good way to get your (physical) hands on several key articles on this technique by Dr. Tran Quang Hai and understand the background of his research. (Note for academic readers: for research purposes it is better to consult online pdfs of the articles in their original format). Available here.

Tran Quang Hai and the Dan Moi

During our lunch I also learned where the common name of the Vietnamese brass Jew’s harp comes from. It is usually referred to as dan moi, which is a Vietnamese word (compare for example dan tranh/đàn tranh, the plucked zither, or the unique one-string zither dan bau/đàn bầu). However, the thin, finely crafted Jew’s harp, probably smaller than any other type of Jew’s harp, originates from the mountain tribes who live close to Yunnan in South China. The Hmong’s native language and culture has little to do with that of the dominant Viet or Kinh ethnic group, who are historically tied to China. When travelling in the mountains in North Vietnam (around Sapa), I encountered the Hmong people who play this instrument and managed to get one made locally by their craftsmen. They referred to it as gya, phonetically speaking, though in writing it is referred to as djam. A personal note from Tran Quang Hai shortly after publishing this post: the Hmong name of the Jew’s harp is ncas (pronounced ncha).

The djam I bought in Sapa from girls who played the instrument along the mountain road. (photo by the author).

So I asked Hai how the name dan moi came about. He explained: there is no Jew’s harp in the music of the ethnic Vietnamese. So when he learned about the traditions of the mountain people around 50 years ago, he had to make up a new name himself in order to accommodate the minorities’ instrument in the system and language of Vietnam. To use ‘dan’ (meaning ‘instrument’) was an obvious beginning point. Hai decided to add ‘moi’ for lips, to designate it is played between the lips. Most brass or metal Jew’s harps are held against the teeth, with the lamella vibrating between the teeth; the dan moi is held between the lips and vibrates there. In this sense it is more like a type of wooden or bamboo Jew’s harp, particularly the ones vibrated by a string attached to one side.

A Hmong girl playing the djam for me in 2003 (photo by the author).

The dan moi went on to become a very popular instrument around the world once non-Vietnamese musicians discovered them, at the turn of the millenium. Many people asked me for it when I brought them back in 2003. I remember giving one to Tuvan throat singer Sainkho around 2004. She immediately fell for its bright sound and expressive qualities, and asked for more several times after (and so did other people). At the same time, a German company saw the potential of this cheap instrument to reach a huge audience and set up (web)shop, calling it www.danmoi.com. It has a become a one-stop shop to buy all kinds of Jew’s harps. So dan moi, Hai’s new name for the djham, a minority instrument, and for Jew’s harps in general, now has become sort of a symbol of 21st century global Jew’s harp culture. And it seems to be growing year by year: here in Taiwan I have seen many new Jew’s harp enthusiasts taking the stages recently, often sporting a collection of world Jew’s harps, including, of course, the dan moi.

Here is a video where you see the movement of the dan moi lamella in slow motion, played by Hai’s student Dang Khai Nguyen.

https://youtu.be/K_hf_u_LrtM

Learn more about Tran Quang Hai

Hai is still actively teaching, find out where his next workshops are by going to his blog:

https://tranquanghaisworldthroatsinging.com

(the blog itself amounts to a ‘wikipedia’ of sorts for throat/overtone singing, where you will find a huge amount o copies of scientific and popular articles, videos, and indeed copies of wikipedia entries, as well as some original posts about Hai’s workshops and travels).

Go here to find more entries in English and in Vietnamese:

https://tranquanghai1944.com

https://tranvankhe-tranquanghai.com

Finally, back to some Asian flavour, but East-Asian instead of the South-East Asian of Hai’s origins. Here is a hilarious video from the time Hai was flown into Japan to demonstrate overtone/throat singing in a hypertheatrical popular entertainment program.

https://youtu.be/cKuT4fy84oA

https://youtu.be/cKuT4fy84oA
TRAN QUANG HAI on JAPANESE TELEVISION, part 2, December 26, 2012

* OK, for this one I have no way to tell if it is true, but Hai does mention in his new book (page  32) that he wrote “more than 500 articles in Vietnamese for 30 Vietnamese magazines in America, Europe, Asia and Australia.”

https://www.fusica.nl/catching-up-with-tran-quang-hai/?fbclid=IwAR3yFp4YQxtwbEMmfVJLc1JrgCuP_eiMTjTC0jjKOVDPz6cPCcvWoeUqzzQ

Cascadescan – Mark van Tongeren

Cascadescan – Mark van Tongeren

Published on Jun 21, 2019

Complete concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhiMa… Live concert in the Oosterkerk, Amsterdam, Sunday 15/VII/2018. Poduced by Fusica / http://www.fusica.nl Video and audio recording and editing: Casper Steketee

The Ouroboros Concert (Sinan Arat / Mark van Tongeren)

The Ouroboros Concert (Sinan Arat / Mark van Tongeren)

Published on Nov 2, 2018

Sinan Arat (ney, voice) and Mark van Tongeren (voice, overtone singing, Jew’s harp, sruti box, bendir) meet for the very time and look for overlaps in their repertoires. Registration of a live concert in the Oosterkerk, Amsterdam, Sunday 15/VII/2018. Produced by Fusica / http://www.fusica.nl Playlist: 00:00 Ekmelia/Yörel (Mark van Tongeren) 03:21 Segah Taksim (Modal Improvisation on ney) (Sinan Arat) 05:42 Bass Brass (Jew’s harp) (Mark van Tongeren) 08:59 Segah Hymn Bana seni gerek seni (Music: Anonymous Lyrics: Yunus Emre (1238 – 1320) (Sinan Arat) 13:19 Voice of Bendir (Mark van Tongeren) 18:00 Cascadescan (Mark van Tongeren) 21:45 Human Condition (vocal improvisation) (Sinan Arat & Mark van Tongeren) 25:25 You Am (voice and sruti box) Mark van Tongeren) 34:00 Muhayyer Kurdi Taksim ( Modal Improvisation) 38:50 Muhayyer Hymn Uyan ey gozlerim (music: Ali Ufki Bey) (Sinan Arat) 41:09 Variations on the Yakut Khomus (Siberian Jew’s harp) (Mark van Tongeren) 46:35 Unknown Territories (Overtone singing and ney) (Sinan Arat & Mark van Tongeren) 53:35 Ah nice bir Uyursun Uyanmaz Misin (music: anonymous; lyrics: Yunus Emre) (Sinan Arat & Mark van Tongeren 55:50 Huseyni Hymn “Severim Ben Seni” (music: Anonymous; lyrics: Yunus Emre) (Sinan Arat & Mark van Tongeren) Video and audio recording and editing: Casper Steketee Thanks to Nanny Roed Lauridsen and The Oosterkerk, Amsterdam and to Fons Elders, part of the ouroboros phenomenon, for title suggestions. Produced by Fusica http://www.fusica.nl

You Am (Mark van Tongeren, voice, overtone singing, shruti box).)

You Am (Mark van Tongeren, voice, overtone singing, shruti box).)

Published on Jun 20, 2019

Complete concert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhiMa… Live concert in the Oosterkerk, Amsterdam, Sunday 15/VII/2018. Poduced by Fusica / http://www.fusica.nl Video and audio recording and editing: Casper Steketee

MARK VAN TONGEREN : CATCHING MY BREATH WITHOUT OXYGEN

MARK VAN TONGEREN

https://www.fusica.nl/catching-my-breath-without-oxygen/

Last week Ming-Hwa Yeh invited me to join her for a late-night performance on the roof of the Wellspring Spa hotel in Yilan. Because of our travels, we had no time to rehearse except for the day itself. It was to be an adaptation of several performances we had done in previous years. We used plastic before, so she brought large sheets of plastic again. And she asked me to spread out the plastic on the water with her, then swim under it and come up. I then was trapped in a space where no fresh air entered.

Breathing out enlarged the space around my head a bit. Breathing in pulled the plastic back. As soon as the plastic closed off my mouth that was it (or almost, sometimes): no more air.

This was a very fun way for me to use breathing techniques. I first developed those as a kid, when I swam almost every day, or even several times a day. Later I learnt more from overtone singing, which naturally lowers the frequency of your breathing and induces a more controlled breathing. And later again from yoga and finally pranayama.

In the last 10 years I discovered all the games I can do with my kids in the swimming pool. Like playing dead: I completely relax my body, face down into the water. They start to move me up to get my head out of the water (too heavy) or push down and stand on my back (easier). Either way I would often stay under water for a minute, if possible.

Ming-Hwa, on the contrary, cannot swim – she never learnt it. And yet she made herself look convincing in the water, as if she could swim! And she had no fear of the water even when I pulled her to swim underwater.

This in itself was a great experience, also for the audience, I was told (we repeat it next week: the only performance for the public). Then imagine that it is a sky-high swimmingpool with the Pacific Ocean and Turtle Island/Guishan (龜山島) as a backdrop.

https://www.fusica.nl/catching-my-breath-without-oxygen/

(Photo credit: Alvis Lai)

https://www.silksspring.com/tw/promotions

 

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Catching my breath without oxygen. 14th June 2019News, People,…

Catching my breath without oxygen.

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A strange coincidence that my last post here was about breathing, too. Or maybe not, as breathing is such a central part of my work.
Last week choreographer Ming-Hwa Yeh (葉名樺) invited me to join her for a late-night performance on the roof of the Wellspring Spa hotel in Yilan. Because of our travels, we had no time to rehearse except for the day itself. It was to be an adaptation of several performances we had done in previous years. We used plastic before, so she brought large sheets of plastic again. And she asked me to spread out the plastic on the water with her, then swim under it and come up. I then was trapped in a space where no fresh air entered.
Breathing out enlarged the space around my head a bit. Breathing in pulled the plastic back. As soon as the plastic closed off my mouth that was it (or almost, sometimes): no more air.
 
This was a very fun way for me to use breathing techniques. I first developed those as a kid, when I swam almost every day, or even several times a day. Later I learnt more from overtone singing, which naturally lowers the frequency of your breathing and induces a more controlled breathing. And later again from yoga and finally pranayama.
 
In the last 10 years I discovered all the games I can do with my kids in the swimming pool. Like playing dead: I completely relax my body, face down into the water. They start to move me up to get my head out of the water (too heavy) or push down and stand on my back (easier). Either way I would often stay under water for a minute, if possible.
 
Ming-Hwa, on the contrary, cannot swim – she never learnt it. And yet she made herself look convincing in the water, as if she could swim. And she had no fear of the water even when I pulled her to swim underwater (maybe I was more scared than she was) .
This is an almost one-off performance: last week for the press, we repeat it next week for the public. What a great way to stay in a hotel with a sky-high swimmingpool and the Pacific Ocean with Turtle Island/Guishan (龜山島) as a backdrop.
 
(Photo credit: Alvis Lai)

Can I sing sygyt for one minute without taking a breath?

Throat Singing A unique vocalization from three cultures

Soundscapes

Throat Singing

A unique vocalization from three cultures

Throat-singing, a guttural style of singing or chanting, is one of the world’s oldest forms of music. For those who think the human voice can produce only one note at a time, the resonant harmonies of throat-singing are surprising. In throat-singing, a singer can produce two or more notes simultaneously through specialized vocalization technique taking advantage of the throat’s resonance characteristics. By precise movements of the lips, tongue, jaw, velum, and larynx, throat-singers produce unique harmonies using only their bodies. Throat-singing is most identified with parts of Central Asia, but it is also practiced in northern Canada and South Africa where the technique takes on different styles and meanings.

Tuva

Tuva is a predominantly rural region of Russia located northwest of Mongolia. There, throat-singing is called Khöömei. Singers use a form of circular breathing which allows them to sustain multiple notes for long periods of time. Young Tuvan singers are trained from childhood through a sort of apprentice system to use the folds of the throat as reverberation chambers. Throat-singing in Tuva is almost exclusively practiced by men, although the taboo against women throat-singers, based on the belief that such singing may cause infertility, is gradually being abandoned, and some girls are now learning and performing Khöömei. The Tuvan herder/hunter lifestyle, with its reliance on the natural world and deeply-felt connection to the landscape, is reflected in this Tuvan vocal tradition. With their throat-singing, Tuvans imitate sounds of the natural surroundings—animals, mountains, streams, and the harsh winds of the steppe. Throat-singing was once only a folk tradition, practiced in the windy steppe, but it is now embraced as an emblem of Tuvan identity and more often performed by professionals in formal settings.

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Video: N. Sengedorj of Mongolia demonstrates Khöömei throat-singing.

Video

Video: Mark van Tongeren, an ethnomusicologist specializing in Khöömei, gives a lesson.

Inuit

The Inuit are the indigenous peoples of northern Canada. Unlike Tuvan throat-singing, the Inuit form of throat-singing is practiced almost exclusively by women. It is also a more communal form of singing than the Tuvan variety, usually performed in groups of two or more women. Their technique relies more on short, sharp, rhythmic inhalations and exhalations of breath. It was traditionally used to sing babies to sleep or in games women played during the long winter nights while the men were away hunting. Throat-singing was banned in the area over 100 years ago by local Christian priests, but it is experiencing a recent revival, especially among younger generations who believe that learning it from their elders connects them with Inuit strength and tradition.

Video

Video: Nukariik (Inuit) Sisters Karin and Kathy Kettler demonstrate traditional Inuit throat singing practiced by women in their community.

Xhosa

The Xhosa people of Bantu origins are indigenous to present-day southeast South Africa. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are famous Xhosa. The Xhosa people have a deep and unique style of throat singing, also called eefing. Two notes are produced one tone apart while higher tones embedded in overtones are amplified simultaneously. This low, rhythmic, wordless vocal style accompanies traditional call and response or group vocal songs. It also accompanies party songs and dances, adding a musical element that is distinctly Xhosa.

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Medley of various throat-singing
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Album Cover
Xöömei on Horseback

Kaigal-ool Khovalyg and Anatoli Kuular
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MARK VAN TONGEREN’s BIOGRAPHY

Biography
mark van tongeren
MarkVanTongerenByJochemHartzBig

photo by Jochem Hartz

Mark van Tongeren is a sound explorer and performance artist with a PhD in artistic research from Leiden University. He did ground-breaking research and vocal experiments in the field of overtone singing, which he began studying around 1990. He feels equally at home ‘in the field’ to study and practice indigenous vocal techniques, as in experimental performance art, using voice, small instruments and/or electronics.

He received his M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Amsterdam and has taught world music at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. His PhD from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts at Leiden University explores the boundaries of science and art and is entitled Thresholds of the Audible: about the Polyphony of the Body. During his PhD studies he founded a vocal laboratory (Paraphony) to develop little known aspects of multi-voiced harmonic singing. He created a series of compositions for two or more voices, called 0… (‘Nulpunten’ or ‘Zero-points’), which make audible hundreds of possible connections or permutations within the natural harmonic series, so that it ‘encounters itself.’ The results were presented in 2010 and 2013 by Mark van Tongeren and Rollin Rachelle, aka the Superstringtrio, in the performances entitled 0… and Incognito Ergo Sum in Amsterdam and Poland. Composer Paul Oomen also conducted the three-hour Overtone Singing Marathon held at the occasion of van Tongeren’s PhD defense in 2013.

MARK BIOGRAPHY 0

Incognito Ergo Sum with Rollin Rachele

He began his performance carreer with the artists – contructors of Silo Theatre of Amsterdam (De Parade, Oerol), where he did sound-design, and created live and recorded soundtracks (1992 until 1998). In 1999 he presented new vocal works in The Trumpets of Jericho, alongside the Trivento organ of the project’s initiator Horst Rickels, and singing ‘with’ and ‘through’ Tjeerd Oostendorp’s 7-meter long tuba. In 2001 he was artist-in residence at the School of Music of Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand for Jack Body’s Secret Sounds project, producing the CD-Rom Secret Sounds and several performances. with Phil Dadson (NZ), Leo Tadagawa (JP) and Bennicio Sokong (PH). At the Silk Road Festival in Washington, D.C. he performed as a throat singer with the festival’s initiator – cellist Yo-Yo Ma – over one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cello suites (2002).

yo-yo-mark

throat singing with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the Smithsonian Folklife/Silk Road Festival

From 1995 onward van Tongeren has made solo appearances as a singer in the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium, China, the USA and most recently in Taiwan (Taipei, Chiayi). In 1995 he received a special prize at the International Throat Singing Festival in Tuva, Siberia (the same festival documented for the famous Gengghis Blues documentary).

He is featured on CD-ROM’s and DVDs, including Secret Sounds (an audio-visual guide to overtone singing and Jew’s harps with Jack Body; Ode Records); Raum Klang Stimme / Space Sound Voice (documentary about overtone singing by Minghao Xu; Traumzeit Verlag). His CDs include Paraphony-Extended Harmonic Techniques, a solo exploration of the resonances of the voice and space (Ode Records), Etos (with Oorbeek, Nice Noise Foundation) and Sphere by his ensemble Parafonia (Fusica). Horst Rickels’ piece Lift-Off, written for Parafonia, is also featured in Jiska Rickels’ award winning documentary Four Elements. Van Tongeren is featured prominently on Deer Woman, composed by Taiwanese film music composer Cincin Lee with Van Tongeren as a soloist. This CD was nominated for Taiwan’s Golden Melody Awards 2008.

An unusual collaboration was his involvement in the realisation of the world première of a work by the renowned Russian composer Dimitri Shoshtakovich (1906-1975), 28 years after his death. He assisted conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald at restoring the lost score of the film Odna (“Alone”), by directors Kozintsev and Trauberg (1931). Van Tongeren transcribed an original piece of Altay throat singing that was used for the film and took part in several screenings of Odna with live music, including the 2003 world première in The Netherlands. In 2008 Naxos published Fitz-Gerald’s CD recording in Germany with van Tongeren’s singing.

In 2002 Fusica published the book Overtone Singing – Physics and Metaphysics of Harmonics in East and West (Fusica/Eburon), the fruit of over 10 years of scholarly and artistic research on this vocal technique. It is the first book-CD to document comprehensively the traditional and modern forms of this unusual vocal art. It exemplifies Van Tongeren’s interest to fuse intuitive and creative processes of singing and art with theoretical issues and critical reflection.

mark van tongeren cover book.jpg

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Van Tongeren began extending his array of small, toy and ethnic instruments, as well as a Korg Kaoss Pad, while playing with Oorbeek, an Amsterdam-based collective of artists exploring the boundaries of sound and visual art. Oorbeek is one of his most enduring collaborations. Though very un-typical for Oorbeek, their televised adaptation of John Cage’s 4’33” was selected in 2017 as one of the pearls of 70 years Holland Festival.

He played with Collision Palace, an Amsterdam-based improv collective led by Nathan Fuhr (NYC), in John Zorn’s game piece Cobra. In New Zealand he collaborated with former Scratch Orchestra member Phil Dadson and Japanese singer/performer/bandleader Makigami Koichi in Off the Wall: Vocal Acrobats.
mark biography 1.jpg

He provided electronic/vocal soundtracks for several animation video’s by Oorbeek’s Serge Onnen, displayed in New York and in MOCA Taipei, and took part in several of Onnen’s live shadowperformances with Oorbeek or as a duo on in Beijing.
MARK BIOGRAPHY 2.jpeg

In Taipei Onnen and van Tongeren presented new works for video/shadow/sound at the Taipei Artist Village (together with composer/guzheng player Tung Chao-Ming) and Lacking Sound Festival. Also in 2014, he began collaborating with the dancers of Biao/Horse, in a project produced for the Chang Kai Shek National Theatre in Taipei collaborating with pianist Lee Shih-Yang and cellist Chen Yu-Rong. More dance collaborations followed, with Biao’s Yeh Ming-Hwa (2015, 2016, 2017) and with Taipei Dance Circle.
mark biography 3.jpg

As a teacher, Van Tongeren gave a one-minute crash course of overtone singing for His Royal Highness the Aga Khan and secretary of state Colin Powell at the opening ceremony of the Silk Road / Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. (2002). (usually learning to sing overtones takes longer, though). He has taught overtone singing workshops and courses for exploring/integrating the dynamics of voice, mind and body at various universities (Victoria School of Music, Wellington NZ; TNUA, Taipei TW) and privately. He teaches semester-long courses at National Cheng-Chi University’s creative department (X-Academy) in Taipei. Since 2012 he offers weekly Voice Yoga classes at Canjune and since 2014 a year-long Resonance course in Taipei.
MARK BIOGRAPHY 4

An enduring passion and artistic influence are local musical traditions from around the world. Since the 1990s Van Tongeren has studied music, singing and ritual in Siberia and Russia (Tuva, Altay, Khakassiya, Kalmukiya), Mongolia, India (Tibetan monks in Dharamsala), Sardinia and Corsica (polyphonic singing) and Taiwan. His move to Taiwan prompted a further study of its indigenous music and dance, particularly through the traditions of the Bunun and Saisiyat tribes. In Israel, Dutch composer Merlijn Twaalfhoven organised yearly events to empower Palestinian artist in East-Jeruzalem. In 2010, Twaalfhoven invited composer Paul Oomen, who guided a unique meeting between Firaz Gazzaz, a well-known Palestinian muezzin (reciter of the koran), and van Tongeren.

Since 2010 Van Tongeren lives in Taiwan with his wife June and his children Attar and Illy.

download biographie artistique-MvT.pdf
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One thought on “Biography”

maisa van der Kolk
09/08/2015 at 19:56

BEste Mark, Geen idee waar ik u kan bereiken, maar uw naam kreeg ik van Jan Van Dijk van de Univeriteit Amsterdam.Ik ben bevriend met zijn vrouw Leontien. Wij zijn druk bezig een cultureel centrum op te starten in Edam. Zelf organiseer ik inmiddels 5 jaar maandelijkse wereldmuziekconcerten en ben altijd op zoek naar bijzondere uitingen in de volksmuziek.Volgend jaar hopen we in ons centrum ook films te draaien met een mogelijkheid daar na afloop over te praten. Ik dacht aan Meeting with Remarkable Men van Gurdjieff en dan zou het geweldig zijn om ook live boventoonzang te beluisteren.Wie weet is er eenmogelijkheid om uw zang te beluisteren als u eens in Nederland bent. U kunt me antwoorden via de mail:maisavanderkolk@ziggo.nl , Met groet, Maisavan der Kolk.
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