Between 2005 and 2012, I focused on working with songs that could not be clearly identified as belonging to any particular cultural tradition. Nevertheless, I was working with aspects of songwork — such as rhythm, resonance, and harmony — which were drawn from my experience with particular genres, styles, and traditions of song.
In some cases, I directed smuggled a song into a new nonlexical song by retaining its rhythmic and tonal structure while transforming the two aspects of a song that are generally understood, in European musical culture, to define its identity: melody and lyrics. My task in these cases was to change the melody and lyrics while keeping everything else the same. I would then have an ostensibly new song which retained the qualities of its source.
This technique was used in the PLAYWAR project. The nonlexical partisan song “Gariyo Tenna” has the same rhythmic structure as the well-known Italian song “Bella Ciao“. The nonlexical rap song “Eebray” has the same two-part gendered structure as “Run This Town” by Jay-Z with Rihanna. The nonlexical chant “Rodarien” explores harmonies from the Georgian song “Tsmindao Ghmerto.” One other song, “Pena Tirocha”, is based on the Italian song “Canto dei deportati”.