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Vivienne Aerts: Typuhthâng


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Vivienne Aerts: Typuhthâng
Typuhthâng is a luminous, exquisitely crafted suite of music and an album on a mission. The mission is twofold: to mark International Women's Day with a recording performed and engineered by women, for everyone, and to provide financial support to The Femmes de Virunga, a cacao farming collective of 1,500 women in Virunga State Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The album grew out of conversations between the Dutch-born, New York-based singer and composer Vivienne Aerts and her pastry chef husband, Ted Steinebach, who introduced Aerts to Original Beans Chocolate, chocolatiers who source their beans from the Femmes.

"I wanted to use my music to raise awareness of this project," says Aerts. "To match [the Femmes'] entrepreneurial spirit and generate business, an album that sells their chocolate. And of course, chocolate and music are a bit of a magical combination, right?"

Too right they are. And to prove it, each physical copy of Typuhthâng comes with a bar of Original Beans chocolate.

The album was recorded remotely during the pandemic by 100 musicians in 40 countries, directed and edited by Aerts in her home studio. Virunga State Park field recordings were provided by Pennie Taylor, who in 2016 had traveled there to record a documentary for BBC Radio in Britain. The album was mixed by Jess Fenton and mastered by Maria Triana. Support from The Netherland-America Foundation and the SENA performer fund, plus an energetic pre-order campaign, meant Aerts was able to pay all the musicians and collaborators.

Aerts sings on all but the tenth and final track, "Pygmy In Mundubiena," which is a field recording made by Taylor elsewhere in the DRC of Pygmy people singing together. Aerts composed six of the other tracks and the remaining three are sound collages she assembled from Taylor's recordings. The project took Aerts out of what she describes as her "jazz bubble," but two of the pieces are explicitly jazz: "Silence," arranged by Ines Velasco, is for voice, trumpet and six-piece string section; "What Will We Be" is a bolero for voice and a larger jazz ensemble, arranged by Zahili Gonzalez Zamora.

Aerts says she cried the first time she heard "Pygmy In Mundubiena." People often experience heightened emotion the first time they listen to polyphonic Pygmy singing, which has an affecting paradisical innocence about it. But pretty much all of Typuhthâng is an uplifting experience. And the chocolate was high-grade, too.

Track Listing

Just Go; The Journey Begins Soundscape #1; You’re My Morning; The Way You Touched My Hand; Meeting The Femmes Soundscape #2; Silence; Concept Of Falling; Tasting The Chocolate Soundscape #3; What Will We Be; Pygmy In Mundubiena.


Additional Instrumentation

Linnea Lundgren: voice & arrangement (1); Camila Meza: guitar & arrangement (3); Mariel Roberts: cello & arrangement (4); Ines Velasco: arrangement (6); Ga Young Bae: piano & arrangement (7); Zahili Gonzalez Zamora: piano & arrangement (9); many musicians, too numerous to list here.

Album information

Title: Typuhthâng | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Self Produced




Jun 8 Sat

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