DOWN BY THE PIT OF THE THROAT عند حفرة الحلق
sonic testimonial by Yalda Younes (2022)
My first attempt at composing sound without moving my body in space is an intuitive exploration of my throat cavity, on an evening when I was sick at home in Beirut. My vocal cords, inflamed by a stubborn allergy, were rebelling in full disobedience, sometimes withdrawing in total silence, other times dissociating words from sound, and sound from control. Unsettled and fascinated by the discord between thoughts, mouth and ears, I wanted to record the experience before it vanished as abruptly as it appeared. I knew it was not going to last, and I knew I needed to be able to come back to it when my clear voice returns and dissipates the noise - that urgent noise which interrupts the normality of words, and invites the conditioned mind to step out of dominant narratives and listen to what bodies are saying.
So that evening, driven by the curiosity of what I will hear, I recorded a few voice memos on my phone capturing random thoughts, alongside breathing techniques and inhale-chants that I attempted in order to clear my sinuses and regain, or perhaps lose, my familiar voice. I then crafted this material into a throat-generated composition infiltrated by two alien sources: one of them is the sound of falling olives, also recorded with my phone a week earlier during the last day of harvest in Amioun, and the other is a whatsap voice message from a loved one.
Hovering around fragmentation, body silencing and mourning deprivation, “Down by the pit of the throat” reflects on the obsoleteness of verbal language in the face of perpetual tragedies.
voice, breath, recording and production Yalda Younes
mix Khyam Allami
commissioned by Redeem, a platform supported by the Berlin Senate
Dedicated to my friend Leil, who inspired this piece
Beirut 20/08/2020 Yalda Younes