The River Goes On
Premiered at Archipel Festival 2022, The River Goes On is woven from field recordings and interviews made between 1987 and 2019 in Tigray, where Cathy spent six months as part of a musical development project with the cultural troops of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).
'In 1987 I spent six months in Tigray province in Northern Ethiopia, Africa working with the cultural troops of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in a capacity building project to develop their music. At that time the TPLF were fighting a protracted guerrilla war with the Derg, the government of Ethiopia, who were heavily armed and backed by the Soviet Union.
Three decades later, in 2019, we visited Tigray again to try and find some of our comrades and to see whether there was any trace of our time there and how Tigray had developed over those decades. We were warmly welcomed and remembered and proudly shown the development initiatives that we had had some part in. A year later as I tried to start composing this work, make sense of my sonic materials and my confused reactions and impressions, the Ethiopian government and the TPLF were once again in conflict and since then Tigray has been effectively under siege and is now in the midst of a serious humanitarian crisis. Once again we are uncertain of the fate of friends and comrades and once again we are confused and unclear about the wrongs, rights and causes of an extremely complex situation.
The River Goes On is an ambisonic work that uses recordings made from both visits, informed by and reflecting on cycles of development and destruction, on history and memory and the enduring power of music and land.
The background of this work can be found in an audio essay, Synthesiser and portastudio: their roles in the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Struggle made for the online journal HERRI.'
The River Goes On was composed during a residency at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology ZHdK.