Katinka Fogh Vindelev
From children’s choirs to sound art and impromptu public recitals, the vocalist who sings songs for buildings tells us about her music.
How did you first get into music?
I grew up singing in a children’s choir with my two sisters and brother – conducted by our parents, who both taught music. We always sang at home, and even recorded an album together.
I was drawn to classical music from a young age, and studied singing at a conservatory in my early twenties. In the beginning I was into romantic music like Schubert, Schuman and Chopin. But I soon discovered contemporary music – I identified more naturally with the complexity of the music, ideas and poetry.
Since 2012 I’ve worked with Josefine Opsahl, Sara Nigard Rosendal, and Katrine Grarup Elbo in a group called We Like We – we describe it as a sound collective. Our classical training is the backbone of our sound, but from there we explore, adding electronic elements and improvisation, and trying to interact with the spaces that we perform in.
You operate between music and art. How do you see the two fields working together?
On a practical level, I like to try and separate the two artistic fields, but then that’s impossible. So I’m more about switching between different mind-sets – intuition versus knowledge, concepts versus improvisation, and so on.
I’m very inspired by the Dada art movement, Surrealism, and the philosopher Mladen Dolar, who describes the voice as being both an interior and exterior sound at the same time – calling it a creature of the edge. I just love that image and agree that there’s something quite inexplicable about all our voices.
I make performances that play with how sound travels and interacts within a space. To be honest, performing on a stage is so fixed, especially when amplified. I like to be able to move around freely.
Recently you worked with Sound Matters podcast producer Tim Hinman on an impromptu vocal piece in Copenhagen’s Rundetårn (Round Tower) with visitors being caught off guard by your singing. Do you generally surprise people with unplanned public recitals?
I mostly perform prepared work but always include small time slots and pockets for impulsive moves and ideas. Improvisation is definitely a starting point for all my work, then I go back and process it, shape it and refine it. So what I did with Tim was kind of a sneak peak into the first step of creating a new piece – it was my first encounter with Rundetårn. It seems that people enjoy the lack of distance between the actual sound source and them. It gets very physical. And Rundetårn’s spiral-like construction makes the sound even more diffuse. It’s a mystical place, a well kept jewel from the past, and instead of forcing my compositions all over the place, I like to work my way into a space.