April 7, 2018

Jaap Blonk solo!

Spare Room and Passages Bookshop present


in a solo vocal performance

Tuesday, April 17
7:00 pm

Passages Bookshop
1223 NE ML King Blvd.

Suggested donation: $10-20

limited seating; early arrival recommended

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The Spare Room reading series and Passages Bookshop are thrilled to present sound poet, composer, and improviser Jaap Blonk in his first visit to Portland in nearly six years, and the only Oregon appearance on his 2018 West Coast tour.

Visit Jaap Blonk's website for more information, and links to online audio and video recordings.

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Jaap Blonk is unique in the world of vocal performance, known for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. He has performed around the world, on all continents. His performances of both classic sound poetry (by Kurt Schwitters, Hugo Ball, and others) and his own and others' contemporary works are world renowned.

Born in1953, in Woerden, Holland, Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer, and poet. He went to university for mathematics and musicology but did not finish those studies. In the late 1970s he took up saxophone and started to compose music. A few years later he discovered his potential as a vocal performer, at first in reciting poetry and later on in improvisations and his own compositions. For almost two decades the voice was his main means for the discovery and development of new sounds.

Blonk's own record label, Kontrans, features 25 releases to date. Other Blonk recordings have appeared on various labels, including Staalplaat, Basta, VICTO, Ecstatic Peace, Monotype Records, Terp, and Elegua Records. His book/CD Traces of Speech was published in 2012 by Hybriden-Verlag, Berlin; the sequel, Traces of Cookery, is forthcoming. A comprehensive collection of his sound poetry, Klinkt, was released in 2013 as a book with two CDs.

Around the year 2000 Blonk started working with electronics, at first using samples of his own voice, then extending the field to include pure sound synthesis as well. He took a year off from performing in 2006; his renewed interest in mathematics led to research in the possibilities of algorithmic composition for the creation of music, visual work, and poetry.

Besides working as a soloist, he has collaborated with many musicians and ensembles in the field of contemporary and improvised music, including Maja Ratkje, Mats Gustafsson, Joan La Barbara, The Ex, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, and the Ebony Band. He premiered several compositions by the German composer Carola Bauckholt, including a piece for voice and orchestra; a solo voice piece was commissioned by the Donaueschinger Musiktage; he has collaborated on several occasions with visual computer artist Golan Levin, for the Ars Electronica Festival. Blonk's work for radio and television includes several commissioned radio plays, and his larger-scale drawings of his scores, as well as visual poetry, have been exhibited.