ZA! IN RESiDENCE at the School Menéndez y Pelayo

Litxi's Sound

Over the 2015-2016 academic year, the Za! residency was aimed at stimulating pupils' creative skills through the use of techniques linked to improvisation. At first, we explored the group's capacity for attention and spontaneity through repetition games, involving both percussion with the hands and body movement. At this stage, we also introduced games based on enigmas and problems of logic. The aim was to challenge the pupils and increase their capacity for abstraction, an indispensable element in the creative process.

Next, we went more deeply into the method for improvisation directed by signs, which was developed based on the work of Butch Morris. This is a method that enables a free improvisation exercise to be organised by instructions relating to the tone, form, duration, intensity, etc., of any form of expression. At this stage, which stretched over a lengthy period time, we emphasised the importance of concentration and of listening, discipline when following instructions and the capacity for spontaneous creativity. Finally, during the last stage of the residency, we tried to encourage the young people to create new signs, exclusive signs for the group that could be used in the presentation.

The presentation revolved around a directed improvisation in which the pupils were to express themselves creatively, but following the instructions of Pau Rodríguez (Za!), who led the session. Most of the young people played percussion instruments (xylophone, cajón box, drums, etc.) and used the synthesiser that they themselves had built. Some of the expression also involved the voice and, occasionally, the body. The audience also took part in the improvisation after receiving a quick lesson about the signs in directed improvisation. The presentation took place at 1 pm on 12 May 2016 at the Espai Jove La Fontana youth centre in Barcelona's Gràcia neighbourhood, attended by around one hundred pupils and teachers from the school, as well as members of the general public. The event was also covered by journalists from Barcelona Televisió and El Periódico de Catalunya.

“Litxi's Sound is what emerges from a creative process that is not planned: it is the unexpected, chance, but it is also discipline, a great silence and a small outbreak of noise. Through interpretation and making a series of gestural signs, the pupils express themselves (on instruments with their voices, with body movements) in a spontaneous but controlled way in a directed improvisation in which the audience will also take part. Nothing and everything can emerge from Litxi's Sound!”

Video: BTV television report on the residency of Za! at Institut Menéndez y Pelayo