Research on Partisan-Songs – Traktorfabrik, Antwerp

Research about the historical dimension of popular music. Based  on authentic documents, Salomee Speelt investigates traces of the musical cultures under totalitarian regimes of the 30′s and 40′s. With a special focus on the specific tradition and heritage of a ‘musical resistance’, which found it’s expression in European partisan songs.
After a bombing, a number of people are buried alive in an underground bunker, located under the former TRAKTORFABRIK (traktorfactory). The self-sustaining bunker becomes a cocoon, a large bubble. The restriction of the four walls defines the new world, rules are made and accepted. An artificial harmony is created, in the knowledge that life goes on, but under slightly different circumstances.
Then, out of the blue, a cat walks around in the bunker:
How did that little arrogant creature get here? The certainty that entrance is possible, disturbs and upsets the daily harmony. The restriction of the four walls was a peacekeeper. Now that this border is no longer certain, individual aspirations rise again. Like in the plays of Chekhov or Gogol, the appearance of the kitten evokes an accumulation of theories. It raises discussions about life, war and hope. And last but not least, the entrance of the cat makes the inmates show a more emotional aspect of their behaviour. Unfortunately, not only the cat has entered, death is also lurking about as an uninvited guest.
TRAKTORFABRIK is inspired on the war diaries of Vassily Grossman and research on testimonies, letters and diaries from people who lived through ( civilians, soldiers and partizans) WW1 and WW2, the Balkanwar, the Spanish war etc.
Noemi Schlosser

3 samples of the upcoming composition by Thomas Gerwin:

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