"We travel by hitchhiking, without a map, letting the meetings build the course, and we often ask the people we met:" What is the sound of where you live? "This question often arouses surprise and curiosity. "
Can you tell us about your respective itineraries? How did you get to know each other?
We met on the road … already the journey and it is together that we discovered the universe of sound creation.
Mélanie lived for a long time in Finland where she participated in the creation of a multicultural theater company; the theater also directed it to India. After returning to France after a decade of expatriation, she created Compagnie les Ateliers de Mélanie: theater, French as a Foreign Language and sound creations to express, move and move. Tristan discovered the West Indies-Guyana attracted by local development projects. In France, he continues to work in the social and solidarity economy while traveling, mainly Africa and Europe.
Tam A Tam Voyages Sonores was born during a stay in Finland where we collected very personal testimonies and memories of the practice of the sauna, a true national institution. On return, the reception of the sound documentary Terveisiä! Salutation of the sauna was warm and prompted us to continue. So we decided to combine our two desires, the journey and the sound.
What is your vision of travel? How did you come to create sound notebooks?
Initially, we wanted to collect daily sounds and leave for an indefinite time in Europe.
This trip was made little by little (“Tamm ha Tamm” means “little by little” in Breton, wink to the Brittany region). We prefer slowness, unexpectedness, spontaneity. Only the first destination, Reykjavík was planned. We travel by hitchhiking, without a map, by letting the meetings build the course. Often we ask the people we met: “What is the sound of where you live?”. This question often arouses surprise and curiosity.
On our site tamatam.fr we wrote audio articles rebroadcast by partner radios. After 8 months of traveling, arrived in Greece, we are contacted to participate in an exhibition on Nantes. We wanted to present our sound vision of Europe and offer a scenography inviting relaxation and travel. Our work of sound creation revolves around an orchestration of sounds, without modifying the heart and without narrative voice. We seek a dialogue with the listener, that he can appropriate the work, that it arouses his imagination and shapes his representations.
The first “Voyage sonore de Reykjavík in Istanbul” notebook invites you to hear sounds of everyday life, nature, lyrics and music. An incentive to be lulled by the sonorities, the richness of European cultures. We played this creation in many places, cafes, cultural centers, hospitals, bookshops, media libraries where the welcome was always enthusiastic.
After Europe you left for Asia and made 4 notebooks of travel sound: Indonesia, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia? How was this choice made and why this destination? What will the listeners discover / listen in the Soundtrack in Myanmar?
Our desire to travel to the long court was always intact, so we took a flight to Jakarta, as always, the only known destination. We wanted to visit this part of Asia to discover its peoples and cultures and we knew that the collection of sounds would be dense.
The contrast with Europe and the wealth of sound atmospheres flooded our ears, the material harvested was immense and the creation of several notebooks imposed itself. Although sounds are present on all the tropical countries, like the gecko, a small lizard living close to humans, the geographical and cultural specificities appeared to us to be obvious. It was a great pleasure to work these hundreds of sound capsules to make these 4 notebooks.
“Sonic Journey to Burma” is above all a meeting with peoples and Buddhist fervor. In the monasteries, in the streets, in the markets, we catch everyday sounds tinged with spirituality. The material tickles our ears: the gold is struck, the silk woven, the offerings stumbling and sounding.
What does your notebook “Khema: nun in Burma” tells you? How were you invited to the Thabarwa monastery? Who is Khema, this Italian traveler who has become a nun, what is her path to get here?
We arrived in Burma during an election period, a tension was palpable, the inhabitants making us understand that they could not welcome us without taking a risk, access to the monasteries was also much more difficult than in Thailand or Cambodia. It was through a passenger accommodation site that we met a German meditator hosted in this great monastery on the outskirts of Yangon. Our desire to better understand the daily life of the Burmese, our interest in meditation and our project of collecting the sound of the real pleased the Monk-Teacher who granted us the right to stay among the laity. We learned a lot about self-denial, participated in daily tasks, such as cooking for hundreds of people, practicing morning alms and playing with myriads of children.
The notebook “Khema: nun in Burma” is above all a meeting with a woman who has renounced possessions to devote herself fully to meditation and Buddhism. More than 10 years ago, Khema wonders about the meaning of her life and questions herself about those trips to Asia that no longer satisfy her. She tries Vipassana meditation in Thailand which brings her well-being and satisfaction. During the meetings, she arrived in Burma in 2009, touched by the reception and in search of wisdom, she chose to stay to deepen her media practice. Today Khema is a confirmed nun who works for the community, knows how to connect with the Westerners and likes to share her experience.
What equipment do you use to combine good recording quality and ease of transportation / use of this material, essential for travel?
In traveling we prefer lightness, simplicity and autonomy, so we exchange our microphones for lighter equipment and portable recorders type Edirol or ZOOM, compact, solid and light. We do not carry a computer, the sounds are classified on small notebooks with great care. Opportunities are available to us, an engineer curious about our approach makes us available his studio, hosts lend us their computer and in exchange we introduce them to sound editing …
What reactions have you faced during your travels when you take out your recording equipment?
When we release our microphone, we have already exchanged with the people we wish to record. And it is often curiosity and smiles that appear on the lips. The microphones are not unknown, children (young and old) have fun touching the protective windscreen or wish to listen to themselves in the control helmet.
The microphone has the advantage of being quickly forgotten, there is no question related to the picture, the voice is always available, ready to sing and share. The discretion of the microphone is an opportunity in our work because it leaves room for the exchange to collect a word offered, often intimate.
For recording sound atmospheres, it is sometimes amusing to see the reactions of curiosity around our approach. Recording mud pots at Námaskarð in Iceland while everyone takes pictures and some people exclaim “Chuuuuut, they record” is sometimes a game of patience. Land registration makes us perceive the world differently, take time.
Do you have a particularly striking event, which happened during one of your trips, to share with us?
Encounters always! We have hundreds of travel anecdotes, each more moving than the last. Remember this 9-year-old Albanian child, very turbulent and desperate to be able to make himself understood who ends up running in his room looking for his yellow book of English then tells us “bread” …. seeing that we understand, let go of his little book, dragged us all over the village brandishing the Grail and claiming to Melanie courses.
Remember also this old man, deep in Cambodia who gives us a moving testimony on the Khmer Rouge regime. He had not spoken French for forty years.