Girilal Baars: Litanies in Zero Kelvin
Old folk songs have no need to be reinvented. They have no needs at all. But like our memories of the dead, we must resurrect them from time to time, because they cause us pleasure, dread or pain.
The central theme of Litanies in Zero Kelvin is death, the final entropy state. Death has never held any intrinsic meaning to me. But there are bound to be some spiritual mysteries involved in any attempted rapprochement. The songs I use in Litanies are not strictly speaking sacred, though their intentions are often just that.
The sources are mostly old Russian folk songs and English ballads. The imageries of the words, but also the cosmologies which inspired these songs, have moved and terrified me since the day I learned to sing them. James Joyce’s one hundred letters of The Fall are a natural choice as facilitators of the transition from the old and familiar to the new and incomprehensible. As is it’s contemporary – the theremin with it’s space-age connotations.