Large ensemble


My commissioned work for Oslo World 2020, called RORAIMA, was premiered October 29th in the wonderful Kulturkirken JAKOB. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to compose new music for this great festival, and it was a thrill performing it alongside the amazing musicianship of Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli, Tanja Orning, Helga Myhr, Håkon Aase and Per Oddvar Johansen. The concert was recorded, and will be released worldwide as a live album on digital platforms and CD on February 18th 2022.

"Roraima" reflects themes such as solidarity and ecological vulnerability, and draws inspiration from the creation myth of the Yanomami people as expressed in the book "The Falling Sky" by Yanomami shaman and spokesperson Davi Kopenawa. The music also includes field recordings of the Amazon biophony by US soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause. This album is a live recording from the premiere; a rare live-audience event in between corona-lockdowns in Jakob Church, Oslo, October 29th 2020.

The album booklet also contains text excerpts from "Less is More" (a Financial Times book of the year 2020) by economic anthropologist Jason Hickel. In Less is More, Hickel proposes a complete restructuring of our economic system in order to bring it back into balance with the living world. To accomplish this, according to Hickel, we have to build a new kind of relationship between humanity and nature.

Roraima is the northernmost state of Brazil. It is home to the Yanomami and several other Indigenous peoples, and like the rest of the Amazon basin it is also home to an incredible diversity of animal and plant life. While listening to field recordings from the Amazon for the first time, I was surprised by how densely packed the whole sound spectrum was; a perfectly executed orchestration literally teeming with life. It took some time getting accustomed to this intense quality of sound, but after a while I settled into a more relaxed mode of listening. Suddenly, a bird cut through the dense wall of sound repeating a simple phrase with a very distinct tonality. This phrase, which I later learned was performed by the red-billed toucan, reoccurs in many of the different movements throughout the musical work "Roraima".

"Roraima" is both a celebration of the soundscapes of the natural world, an expression of grief as many of these sounds fade away – and a prayer. A prayer that world leaders will finally listen to the voice of our planet as it begs us to change our course. The growth imperative of our economic system wreaks havoc on all of nature, and will ultimately lead to our own demise.

However, there is another way to be found. The ancient wisdom of Indigenous peoples gives us clues to a completely different approach to interacting with nature. We should listen to what they have to say.

– Sigurd Hole


RORAIMA reviewed in Klassekampen

1 year 3 months ago


2 years 1 month ago

My new commissioned work for Oslo World, called RORAIMA, will be premiered October 29th in the wonderful Kulturkirken JAKOB. Feeling very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to write new music for this great festival, and I am looking very much forward to performing it alongside the amazing musicianship of Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli, Tanja Orning, Helga Myhr, Håkon Aase and Per Oddvar Johansen. This concert marks the beginning of this new, large ensemble which I hope will perform many more concerts and explore new music written in the years to come.

The new work reflects the festival theme of 2020 - *solidarity* - by listening in on the natural soundscape of the Amazon rainforest as recorded by soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause, and by drawing inspiration from the spiritual life of the Yanomami people living in the northern part of the Amazon in the Brazilian state of Roraima and surrounding areas.
Both the rainforest and its inhabitants are put under ever more pressure from illegal mining, deforestation and wildfires. Covid-19 poses a new and severe threat to the very existence of the Yanomami-people and other indigenous tribes.

The virus travels deep into the rainforest with illegal miners. I ask you to join the movement #MinersOutCovidOut and sign the petition to aid the Yanomami and put pressure on the Brazilian government to get the miners out - the guardians of the rainforest need our help, our solidarity, more than ever.

Lastly, I hope to see you all on October 29th! Join us in Kulturkirken Jakob as we delve into my sonic interpretation of the Yanomami creation myth, where the sound of the ensemble meet field recordings of the Amazon rainforest and the words and thoughts of Yanomami shaman and spokesperson Davi Kopenawa (winner of Right Livelihood Foundation Award 2019) as they appear in the book THE FALLING SKY. These are words of wonder and light, telling tales of a now seriously threatened world in which nature and humans co-exist as equal parts of a greater whole. They are also words of anger directed at the destructive forces of the industrialized world, and words of fear - for our common future.

“There is only one sky and we must take care of it, for if it becomes sick, everything will come to an end.”
- Davi Kopenawa

Supported by Arts Council Norway and The Norwegian Composers Association

Contact info

Worldwide booking
Sigurd Hole

project members

Trygve Seim
Tanja Orning
Helge Myhr
Hardanger fiddle
Frode Haltli
Håkon Aase
Per Oddvar Johansen
Sigurd Hole
Double bass and composer