how many bodies have we to pass through

Co-composed over two intensive workshops, two years apart (in New York and Paris), this piece began from a humble suitcase packed with hand percussion from around the world. Skirting traditional notation for a “storyboard score” and close collaboration, how many bodies have we to pass through maps physical gestures across instrumental surfaces. By modifying and combining hand percussion, we sought to create a multiplicity of simultaneous voices performable by a single musician. For instance: whereas the South Indian kanjira is traditionally played by one musician (with one hand holding the frame and bending the skin, while the other strikes), here we have rigged two kanjiras to a Brazilian tamborim in a pyramid structure played on the shoulder, which is then scrubbed across a travel conga to bend its pitch. Maracas from Venezuela, Mexico, and Brazil form an inharmonic timbral scale played at times like a keyboard, or shaken in polyphonic clusters of joyful noise. Chinese opera gongs and a Korean jing are tapped and struck with fingers and fist. Even the voice sneaks in, playing tricks on the listener’s perception. Using clamps, foam, combs, and other implements to cross-connect surfaces, Diego’s intimate, tactile, and highly kinetic dance invites you to peer in, as if witnessing a secret ritual. Gestures reincarnate through cycles of repetition and variation, until we see and hear that the macrocosm is as the microcosm, and vice versa.

This piece is dedicated to the victims of the 2017 Mexican earthquake, which occurred during the initial creative phase of this work.

Zosha Di Castri, composer
Diego Espinosa Cruz González , performer/composer

David Adamcyk, videography & sound recording/mixing
Antonia Fritche, camera operator
Martha de Francisco, producer

Recorded at The Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, Reid Hall, Paris, February 2019

© Zosha Di Castri, 2019
New Focus Recordings, Tachitipo, Album FCR 227, 2019

Zosha Di Castri
Canada/ United States


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