Casiokids + Kerry Yong at Borealis

Thursday march 11th Omar, Ketil and former Casiokids member Matias will perform works by Casiokids, Morton Feldman, the Specials and Giacinto Scelsi in collaboration with English musician and casio-lover Kerry Yong at the Borealis festival in Bergen. This meeting will take place at Landmark 22:30. Hope to see you there!

Kerry Yong will also perform solo at these times the same day:

Thursday march 11 20:30
Venue – Kunstmuseum, Stenersen
Kerry Yong, ‘Cover Me Casio’ #1

Karlheinz Stockhausen, ‘Klavierstück XVI’
Aldo Clementi, ‘Madrigale’
Knut Vaage, ‘Electra’

Kerry Yong, ‘Cover Me Casio’ #2

Thursday march 11 21:30
Venue – Landmark

Giacinto Scelsi, ‘Aitsi’
Peter Ablinger, ‘Voices and Piano’
Messiaen, ‘Dance of Fury’ from Quartet for the End of Time
The Specials, ‘Friday Night, Saturday Morning’

Omar Johnsen (Casiokids) interviews Kerry Yong:

Q How did you come to use Casio keyboards in contemporary music settings?

A It came slightly by accident and is still quite a new project: I was booked to play in a new series called Kämmer Klang in East London that experiments with performing ‘serious’ new music in different settings – like bars. The venue had a piano there on the day the organiser visited it. But then the piano disappeared – the venue hadn’t made it clear that it wasn’t always there. Rather than withdraw, I thought of a crazy substitute. Although these works were originally for piano with electronics, Aitsi by Scelsi also existed as a string quartet and I always wondered if it could work on electric guitars. And Stockhausen’s Klavierstuck XVI allows for the inclusion of electronic synthesizers and samplers. At the same time, a friend had lent me his Casio keyboard (an MT-210), which we were using to make lo-fi retro-sounding music at church. So the experiment of retro-adapting works for an 80s Casiotone began: the project COVER ME CASIO was born.

Q What do think about Walter/Wendy Carlos (with the use of Moog synthesizers on “Switched on Bach”) or other people performing or recording music from the classical world with so called non-traditional instruments?
A I have a generally positive view of adapting music for new forces. I LOVE the Wendy Carlos’s Switched on Bach: they bring out aspects of the music that are killed by a certain seriousness and preciousness in classical performance. And the thing is, great performances of Bach will still continue – it’s very robust music and the diversity is refreshing and illuminating. As for performing or adapting music that isn’t your mother-tongue – I see great value in it: sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t. But it’s worth giving it a go. And even if the result has a somewhat limited shelf-life, you still learn and experience something new from both musics. And it’s a kind of dare too – the risk is actually quite fun!

Q What are are the reactions like to your casio-oriented performances?
A It certainly depends who you ask. So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to receive only positive reactions, a few baffled but curious ones, but mostly very enthusiastic. However, I did receive one negative reaction to the performance of one work: that it was ‘totally wrong’. I try to take this in the best possible light…

Q I know you are familiar with the Bergen-based composer Knut Vaage. What fascinates you about his work?
A Knut Vaage has an excellent imagination for colour and drama. The Electra pieces (which I will newly adapt for the Festival) have a wonderful palette of colour, noise and space, and a great sense for pacing and action.

Q Which Casio sound (preset) is your favourite?

A But there are twenty delightful ones to choose from – not including the beats and accompaniments! I’ll try to name my top four: vibraphone, ‘funny’, synth guitar and jazz organ. But I want to include more!

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