Mysteries of Love


“Mysteries of Love” is a suite of 10 “songs”, which followed a similar structure, i.e. 10 small works that merge music, movements, song, words and performance in a new way. The voice and the performance were intertwined and unseperable from each other, the voice being an extension of the body, fusing the movements and the music together. For the first “song” we sought material in an old rhyme, which fascinated us in its peculiar and eminently Icelandic mixture of horror, beauty, pathos and irony.

For this project, as sources, we wanted to involve, among other things, texts, films and themes connected to teenagers and adolescence. The changes happening to the body, hormones, transformation of the body and personality. Moods, extreme emotions, seen in an anthropological nature documentary sort of way, what is happening inside, what mystery is developing in this great swamp of hormones and emotions. We took a sociological and anthropological approach to teenage social dynamics, exploring the dynamics of girl gangs and social stigmatization and pecking order in teenage social spheres. Films like Blue Velvet and countless horror films show the manifestations of the dark side, young people losing innocence, virginity, discovering deeply ambivalent and conflicting emotions and we drew inspiration from this.

In the piece IBM 1401, a user’s manual, we started to work with the voice as an extension of the body and as an instrument. We will in this new piece take this idea further and explore the boundaries between the concert and dance theatre. Erna and Margret use their voices as an extension of the body, not simply in a musical capacity, but as a source of sounds and vocal textures. At times, the voice is used melodically, but sometimes more as a generator of sounds and noises, ranging from animalistic and primitive screams and shrieks, deep rumbles and grunts (partly influenced from the grunts of death metal singers) to childlike babble, almost imperceptible warbles and tweets and high pitched, uncanny siren songs. Sounds that are connected with emotions, sobs, distorted laughter, sighs, moans, wails, sounds of despair and pity used in a textural way, like an instrument. This use of the voice will blend with more melodic singing. The singing is often modulated by unnatural breathing (hyperventilation) and by letting violent movements affect the voice. Erna applies the same logic to her voice as to her body using the same principles she applies to movements.

“Mysteries of Love” is a collaboration between Erna Ómarsdóttir and Jóhann Jóhannsson. In this piece they are joined by the dancer/choreographer Margrét Sara Guðjónsdóttir and the musicians Flosi ?Thorgeirsson and Valdimar Jóhannsson.

Production/distribution - Esther Welger-Barboza