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Stefan Östersjö 



Stefan Östersjö is a leading classical guitarist specialising in the performance of contemporary music. As a soloist, chamber musician, sound artist, and improviser, he has released more than twenty CDs and toured Europe, the USA, and Asia. He has collaborated extensively with composers and in the creation of works involving choreography, film, video, performance art, and music theatre. Between 1995 and 2012 he was the artistic director of Ensemble Ars Nova, a leading Swedish ensemble for contemporary music. He is a founding member of the Vietnamese group The Six Tones, which since 2006 has developed into a platform for interdisciplinary intercultural collaboration. As a member of the Landscape Quartet he has developed an articulated performative practice within ecological sound art. As a soloist he has worked with conductors such as Lothar Zagrosek, Péter Eötvös, Pierre-André Valade, Mario Venzago, and Andrew Manze. Stefan Östersjö is chaired professor of Musical Performance at Piteå School of Music, Luleå University of Technology, guest professor at Ingesund School of Music, Karlstad University of Technology, Professor II at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and associate professor at DXARTS, University of Washington.


Stateless Mind #4

Title - Echoic Memory              Duration: 30 mins

In this performance, the Vietnamese đàn tranh player Nguyễn Thanh Thủy and the Swedish guitarist Stefan Östersjö, two members of the intercultural group The Six Tones, present a series of experimental performances of iconic Vietnamese popular music, often referred to as Yellow Music. This music has become emblematic of Vietnamese diasporic culture, and their experimental versions seek to give the music renewed currency and allow for a renegotiation of its meaning.

Stateless Mind #3

Title - Yellow music in diaspora 

The video Echoic Memory contains footage from zoom interviews with thirteen Vietnamese women living in diaspora. It was made in spring 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and features an experimental recording of the song Phôi Pha by The Six Tones with the singer Ngô Hồng Gấm and a solo đàn tranh version by Nguyễn Thanh Thủy of the song Còn Thương Rau Đắng Mọc Sau Hè. In this video we encounter first- and second-generation women of both voluntary and forced immigrants from Vietnam. 

The work has been carried out as part of the postdoctoral artistic research project “Music and Identity in Diaspora: novel perspectives on female Vietnamese immigrants in Scandinavia”, and it builds on the author’s experience as a professional đàn tranh player on the Vietnamese traditional music scene, and on her long-term collaboration with performers and composers from the Vietnamese/Swedish group The Six Tones. The purpose of the project is to determine how music contributes to identity formation among Vietnamese immigrants, with a particular focus on the role of different musical traditions in this context. The aims of the project are (a) to provide a more robust understanding of how music contributes to identity and social cohesion in immigrant communities; (b) to identify patterns of gendered behaviour in immigrant communities across generations; and (c) to develop effective strategies—including experimental music practices and other artistic expressions—that promote reduction of social inequalities among immigrant communities.

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