Sunleif Rasmussen premieres unique work in Faroese Tunnel

 Sunleif Rasmussen premieres unique work in Faroese Tunnel
© Thomas Koba

The connecting power of music meets the connecting power of tunnels. 

The P/F Eysturoyar- og Sandoyartunnil consortium has commissioned the Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen to create the electroacoustic work Røddir/Voices for the long-awaited tunnel opening December 21, 2023, connecting Eysturoy and Sandoy, two of the main islands in the Faroe Islands. 

Rasmussen, whose compositions are often inspired by the rich nature of the Faroe Islands, has taken on the challenge of creating a unique sonic experience for the long drive through the tunnel, thus transorming the tunnel beyond its functional purpose, into a sonic tapestry that enhances the journey between the two islands. In order to listen to the music, car drivers must tune in on a specific FM radio channel whilst in the tunnel.  

Rasmussen states:

One morning I woke up with the music in in my head. I had dreamt the music. I heard a variated choir, that sounded very joyful. The choir had many voices and the foundation for the choir music was the pop group Snowflakes from Skopun with the characteristic voice of lead singer Fríðbjørg Jensen singing their hit “Two voices, two shadows, two faces” that they had in the sixties. I have no idea where this dream came from but for many reasons it was so obvious to use this dreamt sound-world for the tunnel music. In the chorus the text says, “I met you in darkness”.

All materials used for Røddir/Voices originate from the Sandoy tunnel itself. Rasmussen's music includes natural sounds of water drops and a car driving on the very uneven road, as well as Fríðbjørg Jensen singing in the actual tunnel. The composer has experimented with car stereos, adapting the piece to resonate harmoniously from the radio. This marks the second tunnel in the Faroe Islands to feature such a unique composition.

As a native of Sandoy, it was only natural for Sunleif Rasmussen to participate in this project. His extensive body of work, often drawing inspiration from the nature and bird songs of the Faroe Islands, has positioned him as a leading figure in Faroese music and throughout Scandinavia. Sunleif Rasmussen won the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2002.

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