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Sound Transformations: Michael Ormiston (Documentary)

Montero Diaz, RF



Sound Transformations is a portrait film conceived as a journey through throat singer Michael Ormiston’s sound transformation through khoomii. Michael is one of the few westerners to perform Mongolian khoomii rather than Western throat singing, a khoomii offshoot. At some point in their lives many musicians and ethnomusicologists encounter a reason to travel and dedicate years of their lives to researching a different country’s traditions and music; this is a film about such an encounter. The documentary was shot in London, where Michael lives with his partner Candida Valentino, a throat singer and also a sound healer. It was interesting to document a life filled with music, concerts, compositions, workshops and, of course, khoomii, which, as I found out, actually changed Michael’s life, transformed him. Although there may not be a feeling of a linear narrative from beginning to end, I think the film takes viewers on a progressive journey into Michael Ormiston’s life, music and feelings. As an ethnomusicologist I always marvel at how music affects society and culture, but this film was a chance to dwell on how music affects a single individual. Ethnographic film is an important means for illustrating people making music not just at an informative level, but also emotional and personal level. To do so I decided to look at the different roles making up this man’s musical self: performer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, experimentalist, sound transformer, partner and duo with Candida Valentino.

Digital Artefact Type Video
Publication Date Jan 1, 2008
Keywords Michael Ormiston, Throat singing, khoomii, Ethnomusicology, Film as a research technique
Publisher URL