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«I grunda vikar är bottnarna mjuka»

I grunda vikar är bottnarna mjuka (in Swedish: In shallow bays the bottoms are soft) is an enigmatic sound work of Swedish composer-sound artist Rosanna Gunnarson, who focuses on sea sounds and site-specific projects in a coastal environment, and pianist-composer Karin Johansson (who has worked with Gunnarson also on Där vinden nyss har väsnats in 2023), composed in 2021 and 2022. This work is inspired by Swedish writer August Strindberg’s classic short story, Stora grusharpan (1903), about a fortepiano being dropped into deep waters off an archipelago island.

The musical content of this work is based on Gunnarson’s secret underwater recordings in Gunnarson’s hometown, Värmdö, in the Stockholm archipelago, during the summer, autumn and winter, and a prepared grand piano lowered into the water, as in Strindberg’s story, to the great surprise of curious fish. The recorded material was mixed into an audio file, and later, partly based on Gunnarson’s graphic score, Johansson improvised on a prepared grand piano at Elementstudion in Gothenburg.

The intricate, poetic sonic collage of I grunda vikar är bottnarna mjuka imagines an innocent child, deep diving into an archipelago bay by the sea, but slowly experiencing the reality of an increasingly threatened Baltic Sea. This mysterious, immersive sonic experience refers to the physical acts of setting anchor and learning to swim while staying above and below the water surface, but it can also symbolize our existential situation, finding ourselves above and below imaginary and symbolic surfaces, and finding our powers inside ourselves.

Eyal Hareuveni 

Rosanna Gunnarson (graphic score, field recordings in Värmdö), Karin Johansson (prepared grand piano)

Grusharpan – Projektvideo from Rosanna Gunnarsson on Vimeo.