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Fado – Fade
Text by Claudia Galhós

It is about touching immaterial reality being touched by and touching reality. Is about transmission, transformation, but also awake echoes of memory that come from ruins of a past transformed into a choir of singing voices, whispers and different breathing modulations. 

This is the vocal embodiment of spatial darkness in movement, between poetry, humour and overlapping of tunes of german composer Jorg Ritzenhoff in his project “Fado – Fade“. The name makes reference to the dual meaning of those apparently similar words, being the first one the name of the Portuguese song and the second one a German word referring to boredom. 

Between the nostalgic sadness of Fado song and the tedium of German “fade” there is the humorous musical temperament of Jorg inhabiting the darkest corners of the shattered ground floor of the cloister of Convento da Saudação. It is the activation of a movement of music in the night that enlightens and obscures the past and present history of the building. And something awakes, in the shade of forgetfulness and in the inner sensibility of each person listening to those familiar voices.

The nocturnal music, in this garden of extinguished lives, is for an instant breathing new presences. It’s installation, in movement, in the four corners of the space, is the celebration of meeting, between time, between cultures, between different languages, different melodies of sadness, different expressions of loss of control, different out of tune sounds, different views of simultaneous forgetting and remembering. Is the encounter of the weight of the past into the future. Celebrating the importance of the most minimal experience.

“No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand”. (Rilke, “Letters to a young poet”)

But then, even with all poetic musical landscape, there is a laugh sensed through the music composition. It is the peculiar humour of Jorg, playing its game within the most inventive and thought combination of voices, songs, words, humings…

The process of composition started with a collection of songs. He asked the artists, whoever wanted, to choose a song from his country that dealt with some kind of sadness, having fado song as an example. And one by one, they went into the audio room to record their song.

Jorg Ritzenhoff – “Der Mond ist aufgegangen”
Polina Akhmetzyanova – “Nejnost”
Shang-Chi Sun – “White Poeny song”
Alwynn Pritchard – “My Lagan Love”
Anna Nowicka – “Miatem Ci ja w sercu”
Raman Zaya – “Cheshire man”
Philippe Vincent – “La javanaise”
Jacinto Lucas Pires – “Eu hei-de amar uma pedra”
Sofia Dinger – “Canta-me cantigas de fazer chorar”
Leandro Kees – ? 
Thomas Fourneau – “La tristitude”
Linda Blomqvist – “Jag vet en dejlig rosa”
Andrea Spreafico – “Romagna mia”
Miguel Borges – “Foi por vontade de Deus”
Ola Osowicz – “Po Co Nam To Byto?”
But after 15 songs, Jorg decided to mix it all. He chose  randomly different artists to learn somebody else´s song, even if the new one had no idea of what he was singing because of the language barrier. And this was how he got to a second collection of 15 songs, approached in a completely impersonal way just because they didn’t belong to the person singing. The exchange was this:

Linda Blomqvist sang Sofia’s song
Sofia Dinger sang Shang-Chi’s song
Shang-Chi sang Raman’s song
Raman Zaya sang Jacinto’s song
Jorg Ritzenhoff sang Alwynn’s song
Thomas Fourneau sang Andrea’s song
Jacinto Lucas Pires sang Jorg’s song
Alwynn Pritchard sang Anna’s song
Ola Osowicz sang Leandro’s song
Andrea Spreafico sang Linda’s song
Philippe Vincent sang Miguel’s song
Leandro Kees sang Ola’s song
Miguel Borges sang Philippe’s song 

At the end, with the 30 recordings, Jorg created his final composition.