An entire musical performance has been performed underwater at the Operadagen festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Danish band ‘Between Music’ used specially designed instruments and a vocal technique created to allow underwater singing.
The five members of ‘Between Music’ performed their show titled ‘AquaSonic’ in specially designed tanks onstage, each containing purpose built instruments and microphones for creating underwater music.Singer Laila Skovmand became obsessed with the idea after she developed a technique, in which she sings while not letting air bubbles leave her mouth.
“This idea started about ten years ago when Laila Skovmand, the composer, started to explore how to sing in a bowl of water, to see what the water surface does to her voice and then a couple of years later she tried actually singing totally submerged in a big tank and that was the start of it,” band member Robert Karlsson said. “When you are a singer they need to develop a special voice technic, they sing without bubbles coming out of their mouth. Then we started to try different instruments it proved very difficult we needed to find new ways of producing instruments, creating instruments that could play under water,” he added.
It turned out that underwater conditions caused traditional instruments to break apart, so the band tasked Andy Cavatorta, a creator of unusual instruments, with creating new ones for the purpose of underwater music. Faced with constraints including lack of friction and sound travelling four times faster underwater Skovmand developed variations on existing instruments, including a crystallophone, an underwater cousin to the traditional guitar.
No breathing apparatus was used during the show, instead the band members came up for air at moments that are worked into the music.