Songs shape cultures, create identities and bring people together. Above all, they draw maps that describe our outer and inner world. SONGLINES aims to get to the bottom of these maps: ultimately, to find out more about what touches, affects, and, in the best case, connects us all.
GOOGLE MAPS 50,000 YEARS BEFORE GOOGLE MAPS.
50,000 years ago, Aborigines walked across Australia and recorded their paths on mythological maps. Maps consisting of sung texts that have been handed down by mouth from generation to generation.
In these, they created a clever navigation system in which constellations of stars, mythical creatures and descriptions of landscapes guided travellers safely from A to B. The Australian Aborigines made use of a particular characteristic of songs and stories: they are simply easier to remember than instructions like: “turn right at the next intersection.”
For example, one of their myths tells of the Rainbow Serpent that made its way across northern Australia, creating rivers and mountains, as well as a song that describes the journey and the special features associated with it.
These sung Aboriginal navigation systems are still known today as “songlines” or “dreaming tracks” and run across Australia like an invisible net.
THE BOUNDARIES OF MUSIC ARE THE BOUNDARIES OF THE WORLD.
The link between music and storytelling has always been a deeply human form of expression that sets and crosses boundaries, mapping the world and human beings time and time again. There are songs, for instance, about where to find water or build a canoe. Or about how one God is better than the other. Songs about unquenchable longing. But also songs about the advantages of home-grown tomatoes. Friendship, joy, consolation, knowledge, religion and love – all songs are more or less about these themes.
They are songs that tell us: how we think and feel, what we know and what we want, who we are or want to be. As individuals, as a community, as a culture, as a species. Songs form emotional networks with a global impact, shape cultures and create identities, describe language boundaries and national borders.
Songs are sometimes locally anchored, sometimes they wander through the world, sometimes through time. In fact, songs and song cultures all over the world have drawn musical maps and mapped entire continents. Essentially, they depict the whole world, both the outer and the inner world.
MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE AND, ESPECIALLY, AUDIBLE.
SONGLINES seeks to trace these maps exemplarily, discovering and rediscovering songs and their history in widely differing ways, preserving them and performing them. But it is about more than just pure archaeology: it is about vividly enhancing traditions and inventing completely new ones. Ultimately, to find out more about what affects, touches, and, in the best case, connects us all.
SONGLINES collaborates with professionals, amateurs and people like you and me. In Nuremberg, in the surrounding area and, perhaps in the future, even in the rest of the world. Why not?