The Bonnie Banks o Fordie

Voice and electronics

Duration: 16'00''
Composed: 2015
2 channels live

The Bonnie Banks o Fordie is a live piece for solo voice and electronics, based on the eponymous Scottish ballad (Child 14). The ballad tells of a robber who confronts three sisters, threatening to kill them unless they marry him. Dispatching the first two sisters after their refusals, the third sister questions him and they uncover that he is actually their long-lost brother. Guilt overwhelms the robber and he kills himself.

The piece uses only voice, real-time sampling and processing of the voice (i.e. no pre-recorded material) using a laptop. An important concern in the compositional process was creating if an interface that allows the singer to maintain full focus on the vocal performance and yet keep real-time control of the electronic processes (i.e. no pre-programmed time-line or pre-determined sequencing of presets). This is a conscious decision to maintain a connection with the original oral traditions, where a song existed not as a static rendition, but was a dynamic process involving formulas and patterns.

The Bonnie Banks o Fordie was premiered in Huddersfield, UK, in early 2014 and has since been performed several times at festivals in Sweden and abroad.