Resonant Bodies


What is The Resonant Bodies Festival?

Founder Lucy Dhegrae details the origin and purpose of the this acclaimed festival, which features an international roster of virtuosic singers, world premieres, and an exhilarating mix of genres

AIRED: August 11, 2021 | 0:05:03

[ Discordant notes playing ]

♪ It's very hard

Dhegrae: The voice is such a unique instrument.

It is located in this place in your body

where you have your heart below it,

you have your brain above it.

Only the sound of the voice, I think,

can really go to those deep emotional places.

And when we hear that,

there can be a greater compassion and understanding

and community around the world.

♪ Ooooooooo-oo-oo-oo-ooh

♪ Ooh-ooh-ooh

I started Resonant Bodies Festival in 2013

as a young, freshly graduated singer from conservatory,

and I moved to the city

and was doing what a freelance singer does,

which is get hired for gigs.

And I felt like my taste, my esthetics

were larger than I was getting hired for.

Voice recital has been the same format for 250 years,

since the Schubertiades of the Romantic era.

And I wanted to have a space where I could make a statement

about what kind of singer I was,

what kind of music I cared about,

who my closest collaborations were.

As artists, we need to see each other's work

to really be inspired.

And I think kind of like a science community,

you want to see what the other scientists are up to,

and so then you get inspired

and you can kind of build on other people's innovations.

So that's kind of how I see what Resonant Bodies Festival is.

So that's how we got started.



It's not Beautiful Sounds Festival.

It's not Weird Sounds Festival.

It's not Festival of the Voice.

It's Resonant Bodies.

[ Singing opera indistinctly ]

Dhegrae: We have to acknowledge the body

that the sound comes from,

so the focus of the festival, for me,

is very much about the individual,

how their voice came to be the way that it is,

how the music that they choose

is informed by their life experience.


The way that I choose artists -- it can't be...measured.

It can't be put into a formula.

As an artist, I'm looking for other artists

to be on the festival who really feed my curiosity,

who I feel drawn to, who I want to know more about,

and who I think are doing something singular,

something that's not anywhere else in the music community.

[ Singing indistinctly ]

I love getting people together, so I want to put

all those artists in the same room together

and have them see each other and just see that energy.

It's like seating people

next to each other at a party or something.

You're like, "Oh, these two people have not met,

and they're really gonna hit it off."

So that's kind of how I'm thinking about the festival.

[ Vocalizing and whistling ]

Dhegrae: When I'm planning a night

of Resonant Bodies Festival,

I'm thinking about the audience experience, of course,

and I think it's best to introduce people

to new things in small amounts.

So, since we're expecting people to come for adventure,

we're expecting them to come hungry for new things,

so I'm thinking about contrasting

and keeping it moving,

because when you see something

technically, artistically profound,

it's moving no matter if that's your thing or not.

So that's a really thrilling part of the festival for me.

♪ Ahhhhhh

I hope that the audience comes

and hears something that blows their mind.

I hope that they come away considering something

about the human voice that they hadn't taken in.

I hope that if you came

and you wanted to hear Anthony Roth Costanzo,

that you leave loving Charmaine Lee.

[ Laughs ] And that's completely unexpected,

but you can really dive deep into who these people are,

why they create what they create.

So I really want the audience

to have this personal connection with each artist

and appreciate them on an individual basis,

not by some measuring stick.

I want it to be very personal.

♪ So, so, so, so, so, so

♪ Som-blu, som-blu, som-blu, som-blu ♪

♪ Som-bluuuuu-uuu

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