An exploration of the idea of ‘folk song’ as interpreted by women singers and storytellers from the past century to today.
Earlier this year, Berlin-based Lyra Pramuk released her debut album, Fountain. Using her own voice as raw material to be sampled, stretched and played as an instrument, Pramuk creates what she calls “futurist folk music” that explores ideas of post-humanism and gender.
Although she sees technology like Ableton Live and granular synthesis as a “living collaborator”, her musical journey began in the small town of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, where she sang in her local church choir. She later attended New York’s Eastman School of Music, learning vocal and improvisational techniques that feed into her studio and performance practice today.
After moving to Berlin in 2013, Pramuk began collaborating with artists like Holly Herndon and Colin Self, and immersed herself in the city’s club scene, another experience that feeds into her music. “My interest in ritual goes back to spending so much time in church and doing church music combined with the implicit ritualistic nature of raving,” she tells Fact.
“That whole experience of being in a trance and losing yourself dancing endlessly, there’s something extremely spiritual and extremely mystical about both experiences, whether it’s singing in a beautiful architecture or raving for 12 hours and really losing yourself in the communal experience and becoming so tired that your sense of identity somehow dissipates.”
On Pramuk’s Fact mix, she looks outside the rave. “This mix revolves around the idea of ‘folk song’ as interpreted by women singers and storytellers from the past century to today,” Pramuk says of the mix, which features music from Joan Baez, Diamanda Galas, Lena Platonos, Lafawndah and Dolly Parton.
“These songs speak to the mystery and joy of being alive. In their simplicity, they strike straight to the heart, and offer us hope for a richer and more abundant life.”
Fountain is available now via Bedroom Community. You can buy it along with the rest of her music at Bandcamp.
Vera Hall – ‘No Room At The Inn’
Joan Baez – ‘Silver Dagger’
Malvina Reynolds – ‘God Bless the Grass’
Jenny Hval – ‘Amphibious, Androgynous’
Nico – ‘It was a pleasure then’
Odetta – ‘Mule Skinner Blues’
Tsehaytu Beraki – ‘Hadarey’
Mercedes Sosa – ‘La maza’
Cucina Povera – ‘Elektra’
Linda Perhacs – ‘Chimacum Rain’
Tracy Chapman – ‘For You’
Diamanda Galas – ‘Let My People Go’
Nina Simone – ‘Black Is The Color Of My True’
Amália Rodrigues – ‘Barco negro’
Brittany Howard – ‘Short and Sweet’
Kim Jung Mi – ‘The Sun’
Dolly Parton – ‘I Am Ready’
Lena Platonos – ‘i galazia kithara’
Googoosh – ‘Sahel O Darya’
Lauryn Hill – ‘The Conquering Lion’
Sibylle Baier – ‘I Lost Something In The Hills’
Joni Mitchell – ‘All I Want’
Violeta Parra – ‘Volver a Los 17’
Lafawndah – ‘Vous et nous (feat. Bonnie Banane)’
Mari Boine – ‘Gulan Du (Hearing You)’
LINGUA IGNOTA – ‘DO YOU DOUBT ME TRAITOR’
Fact mix image photography by Martin Sabhin
Live performance footage excerpts borrowed with permission from: URSSS in Milan, Italy Antero Hein from Hein Creations in Oslo, Norway Norberg Festival in Norberg, Sweden CTM Festival in Berlin, Germany
Listen next: Fact mix 769: DJ Fuck