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I hereby command you to give voice to these letters...>
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låt dem sjunga det åt dig >
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Bytom is a city in the old mining district of Silesia, Poland. Ever since the closing down of most of the mines in the region, the city has been struggling with very high unemployment and poverty. In what can be read as an attempt to raise morale and local patriotism, the municipal government commissioned composer Malgorzata Kaniowska to write a one-minute trumpet hymn for the city in 1998. Ever since then a recording of the hymn has been broadcasted four times a day from the church tower in the centre of the city.

I imagine the inhabitants unconsciously whistling the hymn while walking the streets and humming it in their dreams at night.

I walked through the city asking people if they could sing the hymn for me, while I recorded their attempts. From these recordings I created a vocal canon as an echo to the original. Every time the trumpet hymn would fade out from the church tower, this vocal echo would start sounding from the other side of the main square. A reflection – the hymn as it echoes through the minds of the inhabitants.

The piece was commissioned by Radio Simulator, Gallery Kronika and The Unsound Festival and played between the 14th and the 26th of November 2006 from the windows of Gallery Kronika, situated on the main square opposite the church.

[click on the image to watch a documentation video]


Bytom hymn echo (2006)