Cecilia Vicuña  
 

 

Thread of the Voice

. . . Myth for us is language

 


Cecilia Vicuña

From a performance at SUNY Buffalo, 10 March 1994

. . . .

[Finished singing, Cecilia hangs a loop of shells that she's been shaking on the microphone.]

when we were asked to come here and speak
lets say about myth
the first thing that comes to mind is that
of course
 

just the name myth
is a name
being seen or being said from the outside
and
if I wanted to say just one thing about it its that
as I perceive it
 

perhaps
The myth for us
is language
just plain words and
 

and then words
 

as I percieve them
they are time
 

simply
time
 

and sound
 

written
and sound
 

breathing
 

and there's an ancient tradition that says that the voice is the
bridge
that through the thread of voice
 

we cross dimensions

because the universe has been created by sound
this is a common idea in ancient india
and in the ancient andes
so we create
by sound
 

and the word that we use now
SOUND
sonído en español
originally
in this proto-european language
which is the mother language which we speak in English
it was swen
and swen means Shunt
an incantation
so even in indo-european languages sound
was incantation
 

now

because of this
almost funny request to speak of myth
i would just like to say
a couple of myths that are pertinent I think to this moment
 

both from south america
one of them
is a contemporary myth
one that accounts for the origin of
people
who write
and people
who sing
 

and in this myth
the gods have created
the indigenous people of south america and
they have created them with great memory so
only through sound
they can remember the history
of the whole
people
 

so
instead
the gods created some people
who have no memory so because they have not
this gift of memory
they were created with a little notebook in their hands
 

and these people are the europeans
 

so
that is one myth i wanted to recall for you
and then there is another one
that
I particularly love
this is a myth
of
ahh
a creature
also contemporary myth
and this creature lives in the outskirts of contemporary lima
i don't know if you know about lima lima
is like the quintessential mestizo city
a city created by the whites that cannot admit
even to this moment of being
quite in peru
that is to say
quite in the andes
this could be said of santiago
the city where i come from [louder]
can [louder]
you're not hearing me? [no, ...can't hear you at all]
not at all?
[no...nah]
[laughs]
you see
talking about sound
i am sick
that is the problem
i have a sore throat
what do I do
[you can't turn that up? can you turn the mike up?]
if i try to speak louder
it will only
 

[let's take a three minute pause, to set the PA up]

. . . . .

so ahhh
i will not repeat the kinds of things
that i was saying
because they are better
lost
 

[laughs]

but i will pick up with the pistasho
pistacho? no
pi
BPIII'schtako
the BPII'schtaKo myth
because i don't think you want to miss that one
and so
i was saying that this is a contemporary myth
about sound
and in the outskirts of lima
this creature called the BPI'stako lives
and this creature has been ahh
placed there by the europeans
and his purpose is to eat up all the indians
that come down the city
to find jobs
so when you come into the city
you here this hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
 

like youre hearing right now
and the hummmmm of all machines
of airplanes and cars and so forth
is the sound of this BPIII'schtako
that has eaten up
and is continuing to eat all the indians
so industrial noisze ISz the lament
of the indians that have been eaten up
so
hhuuuuuuuuuuuuu
 

that's it
 

we really like lament
lament is what makes us
the weeping and the crying
so José Lezama Lima says
Light is the first visible animal of the invisible
 

?Adoooónde vaaaan los suuuuaves inuuuuméros....
 

 


            

[continues reading from section three of Unravelling Words and the Weaving of Water, Graywolf 1992]

- Original transcription, Kenneth Sherwood

 

 

Thread of the Voice  - A Performance Transcription was originally published in a virtual chapbook associated with RIF/T 04.01 (Transpoesis Issues) at the Electronic Poetry Center; reprinted with permission, copyright 1995.