CRAFTING THE FIELD - Melanie Velarde

Artist Melanie Velarde maps a soundscape into the forests and the stories of the Matsigenka.
Melanie Dizon
March 26, 2022




Crafting the Field by Xapiri Ground is a creative series of musical compositions that express upon the natural and social environments surrounding Indigenous culture and their contemporaries.

Through collaborations with Indigenous artists, sound designers, and music producers we hope to encourage a diffusion between cultures through creative research and mutual respect. 

For this series #04, we introduce the German-Peruvian artist Melanie Velarde who worked with some of our original field recordings taken during our expeditions into the Matsigenka community of Shipetiari.
The Matsigenka are an Amazonian indigenous people, who live between the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios in the Manu National Reserve; one of the largest biospheres in the world. The Matsigenka have been able to maintain their culture and identity through the centuries, passing through the Conquest, the Republic, the armed conflict and their greatest struggle today, the development of hydrocarbon exploitation activities, deforestation and climate change.
Melanie Velarde gives us the opportunity to approach this community aurally, with compositions based on *sound recordings from their natural setting, fauna and activities, such as the song of Lola while "threading" cotton, songs of power for the preparation of snuff using tobacco leaves by Samuel, or Gregorio telling a story of the spider and the origin of cotton. 
In Velarde's words, she composes through a "flow from the subconscious", thus complementing these recordings with dreamy melodies, hypnotic rhythms and multi-layered textures, opening for us a "window" into the soundscape of this community, in a dreamlike and meditative way of this millenary culture.

Curation by: Mariano León (Behuá Icára)
Mastering by Christian Mun

*Field recordings were conducted by Xapiri Ground and originate from their expeditions into the Matsigenka community of Shipetiari, located in the Manu Biosphere Reserve, in the Peruvian Amazon.

Purchase this track on our Bandcamp page.

BIOGRAPHY | Melanie Velarde

Melanie Velarde is a German-Peruvian electroacoustic composer and improviser who creates soundtracks for imaginary plots and places. Her practice includes composition, performance and video work. She has expressed herself across multiple genres and continents, from Ambient to Noise, and has developed an extensive collection of field recordings spanning deserts, seas, mountains, jungles, caves, tunnels and volcanoes in the Americas, Europe, China and Australia. Melanie Velarde maintains a sonic diary/blog called 'Temporary Archives', archiving cinematic doodles over the last decade. She has released two albums, 'Parcel' and 'Bez' on RVNG Intl. / Commend in New York, 'Deep Circles' on Longform Editions in Australia, and has participated in the latest compilation of the pro-funding label Behuá Icára.

Melanie Velarde is supported by Neu Start Kultur