Aya Metwalli

Neue Vocalsolisten — Voice Affairs

Vocal explorations of the new Middle East

Tuesday, 20 September, at 19:00–22:00
150–250 kr

This cosmopolitan portfolio of new vocal performances and compositions draws inspiration and influence from experimental music scenes in a variety of locations around the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Stuttgart’s Neue Vocalsolisten team up with musicians and composers from Lebanon, Palestine-Israel, Egypt, US-Hungary and Greece in a programme whose first half features various acoustic and electronic pieces; while the second half adds a performative, theatrical dimension.

Cynthia Zaven: Madrigal d‘Essilio (2020/21)
Raed Yassin: A Short Biography of a Snake (2020/21)
Dániel Péter Biró: Asher Hotseti Etkhem (2020/21)
Youmna Saba: I covered the planet with a dried leaf (2020/21)

20.00 Interval
Free Libanese food snack will be served and an artist talk will take place

Aya Metwalli: Cabaret macabre (2020/21)
Manolis Manousakis: State of Exception / Confli.ct (2020/21)
Samir Odeh-Tamimi: VROS (2020/21)
Tony Elieh: Zalghouta/Ululate (2022, WP)

22.00 The end

All the featured composers work in the fields of contemporary composition, electronica, sound art, improvisation and avant-pop, with a focus on the voice. A focal point tonight is the voice and erotically charged songs of Aya Metwalli, and the inventive electronic music of artist/composer Raed Yassin. Egyptian Metwalli’s Cabaret macabre is a tribute to the voice of Mounira Al-Mahdiya, a 1920s singer of sexually explicit cabaret songs. Yassin’s piece, whose starting point was a rare vinyl recording of a female preacher’s unusual Koran recitation, found in a Syrian flea market, is scored for six non-Arabic-speaking voices.

Cynthia Zaven’s (Lebanon) songs of exile are inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy and Sayat Nova’s Armenian poem Tamam Ashkar. Dániel Péter Biró’s (Hungary/Norway) Asher Hotseti Etkhem (Who Brought You out of the Land) s based on texts by Baruch Spinoza and Jewish and Christian chants from Portugal, Beirut and Montréal. Youmna Saba’s (Lebanon) I covered the planet with a dried leaf blends classical Arabic music with electronics.

In the second half, Manolis Manousakis’s (Greece) State of Exception / Confli.ct, for solo voice, tape, live electroncs and video, represents a lone voice in the so-called European utopia which is more of a state of chaos. Samir Odeh-Tamimi’s (Palestine) VROS deals with total isolation in an invented anti-language. Tony Elieh – Lebanon’s post-rock pioneer – supplies a new piece for the Ultima programme.

Throughout the entire concert, a narrative emerges about the diversity, contradictions, explosiveness and poetry of the area centered around Lebanon.

Panos Aprahamian.

Youmna Saba. Photo: Maurine Tric.

Manolis Manousakis.

Daniel Peter Biro. Photo: Linda Sheldon.

Odeh Tamimi. Photo: Harald Hoffmann.

Voice Affairs. Photo: Martin Sigmund.

Neue Vocalsolisten. Photo: Manu Theobald.

Voice, electronics

Aya Metwalli


Raed Yassin, Dániel Péter Biró, Lukas Nowok, SWR Experimentalstudio


Tony Elieh

Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart

Johanna Vargas, soprano, Susanne Leitz-Lorey, soprano, Truike van der Poel, mezzosoprano, Martin Nagy, tenor, Guillermo Anzorena, baritone, Andreas Fischer, bass


Voice Affairs is developed and coproduced by Akademie der Künste Berlin, Irtijal Festival Beirut, Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart, Onassis Cultural Center/Stegi Athens and Ultima. A project of Neue Vocalsolisten, produced by Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart.

Co-funded by

"Klangwert" Aventis Foundation Ensemble-Förderung, Innovationsfonds Kunst des Landes Baden-Württemberg, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Goethe-Institut Norwegen. A part of the Sounds Now Project, supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Supported by

The commission for Dániel Péter Biró is supported by Arts Council Norway and his participation is supported by the Norwegian Artistic Research Program and the University of Bergen.

In collaboration with

Supported by