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The Carrying Voice

Micaela
Tobin
Issue: 75e1i584 ei

The Pacific Rim is the land around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. I come from that edge: I am half Filipino, and half white. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA on one side of the Pacific Ocean, I am obsessed with connecting to that other side of it—back to my Motherland, the Philippines. I sit on the edge of the shore, staring out beyond the waves. I try to make a bridge with my mind, with my voice, with my music. I sit on the edge of my culture—one foot in, one foot out. Whiteness can erase you before you even know who you are. To always be on the edge, looking in…I must make my own map home.

Editor’s Update: The first iteration of The Carrying Voice invited members of the global Filipinx diaspora to contribute their voices to Tobin’s map. Users would submit drop a pin where they currently were in the world, draw a line to where in the Philippines they wanted to send a message, and upload a voice memo or recording for anyone to play back.

Visitors were prompted to contribute as follows:

Our voices carry the joy and pain of our lives. It is a map that signals who we are now, and where we came from. Our voices connect us to one-another across vast distances— across space and time.

For this project, we are building a map of our voices, a ‘sonic bridge’ that will connect us back to where our families and ancestors came from, and for many of us, where they still remain today: The Philippines.

I’d like you to record a message with your voice to send back home. The message can be spoken, sung, whispered, or even yelled. Use your voice in any way that feels good for your body. The message can be composed of words, or it can be as simple as one sung note. The choice is yours!

If you prefer a bit more guidance, you can answer the following questions as creative prompts: 

What do you still carry with you from the motherland?

What or who did you leave behind?

What or who do you miss?

Submissions closed on Friday, March 11, 2022.

The next iteration of The Carrying Voice will take shape as Tobin incorporates those submitted recordings into a new vocal performance work, which will take place in Los Angeles in the Summer of 2022. It will be live-streamed and archived here.

Thank you to the participants:

SKY PATRIA

Gina

Baliwas

Daniel

Shy

Tina

Aidan

Nancy

Penny

Maria

AJ

Ruth

Lovely

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Micaela Tobin is a soprano, sound artist, and teacher based in Los Angeles, CA who specializes in experimental voice and contemporary opera. 

As a sound artist with a background in opera, Micaela integrates voice and electronics within the genres of noise and drone music. Her work incorporates ritualized gesture and amplified object-symbolism and explores her diasporic identity as a first-generation Filipina-American. Micaela’s vocal practice is based in building connections between the physical voice as a means of empowering one’s ‘inner’ voice and challenging colonial stories and systems.  

Composing primarily under the moniker White Boy Scream, Micaela dissects her operatic and extended vocal techniques through the use of electronics, oscillating between extreme textures of noise, drone, and operatic sound walls. Her most recent full length album, BAKUNAWA (Deathbomb Arc) includes elements of sonic ritual, ancient myth, and ancestral memory. In May 2021, Micaela premiered the cinematic adaptation of the album through REDCAT, titled BAKUNAWA: Opera of the Seven Moons.

As an opera composer, Micaela premiered and earned a five-star review for her first original experimental opera Unseal Unseam at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in summer 2016. Her most recent opera, Belarion: A Space Opera, premiered at the American Legion Center in Pasadena, CA in 2019. Micaela is currently working on the sequel to her recent operatic film, APOLAKI: Opera of the Scorched Earth which is set to premiere in May 2023 through the MAP Fund.  

As a performer, Micaela played the principal role of Coyote in the critically acclaimed opera, SWEET LAND (dir. Yuval Sharon & Canuppa Luger; Comp. Raven Chacon & Du Yun). She also performed with The Industry in their groundbreaking opera Hopscotch, a mobile opera for 24 cars (dir. Yuval Sharon). She has toured with hip-hop experimentalists clipping. on their 2017 tour with The Flaming Lips. Micaela also appeared as a principal vocalist in the premiere of Ron Athey and Sean Griffith’s automatic opera, Gifts the Spirit, and as a soprano soloist alongside Annette Bening in Medea at UCLALive. 

Micaela is currently a voice teacher on faculty at the California Institute for the Arts and teaches through her private studio, HOWL SPACE, in Los Angeles, CA.

micaelatobin.com

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