Marina HerlopThe girl with the invented language

Connected news 06.09.2022

Curiosity moves us, stimulates us. That's why Hémisphère son is interested in the emerging art scene, always attentive, not only to established and recognized artists, but also to those young creators who are beginning their professional career.
As part of the CosmoNits summer program, at the Cosmocaixa Science Museum of La Caixa in Barcelona, Ariadna Monfort, Anna Serra and the composer Marina Herlop proposed a real experience "Vibracions Additives". We spoke with Marina Herlop about her emerging career. 

Three albums... and the loss of ingenuity.

Marina Herlop (1992) says that, although she never conceived of herself professionally, she always felt a strong inclination for music. And to illustrate this idea, she uses a precise metaphor: "I was like a thirsty child who goes to a fountain to drink, but doesn't know how to do it. Perhaps that's why this very young pianist and composer born in Piera, a small town on the outskirts of Barcelona, confides that her first album, Nanook (2016), "was born as something very unconscious." It was because of this fusion between classicism and avant-garde that characterizes Herlop's creations that the album caught the attention of British pianist James Rhodes, who decided to produce it.

Marina Herlop began studying piano at the age of nine and completed her training at the Badalona Conservatory of Music. While studying journalism and humanities at university, she decided to dive into the passion that attracted her: music. "It was like a leap into the void", she confides. Two years after Nanook, Marina Herlop released her second album, Babasha (2018), an elegant, vibrant and melancholic work, according to critics. In fact, when I ask her what difference she sees between the first and second albums, Marina says, "There's a loss of naivety, of unawareness. My level of demand is much higher now". This transition is accentuated in her latest album, Pripyat (2022).

Composition... when the hand touches the piano.

One can say that Marina Herlop's youth, the fact that she knows she is at the beginning of her artistic career, gives her a certain freedom. She declares herself to be in process, expanding, learning as she goes along, finding the answers and questions needed step by step. Like an open book, accessible, transparent. Perhaps this is why she admits to being suspicious of any method of composition. She explains it eloquently: "I put my hand on the piano. I investigate. I feel it. I listen. If I like the sound that comes out, I keep exploring. In the middle of a tour, with no time to compose, Herlop longs to sit at her piano and says with a smile, "When I compose, I go into hibernation."

The girl with the invented language.

If Herlop's style arouses curiosity, the artist's use of the voice is striking. She emits sounds, phonemes, vowels and consonants, sequences, mixing syllables from different languages, breaking down the referential meaning of language, reducing it to its pure dimension of signifier in order to enjoy it aesthetically. According to her, the goal is to find the beautiful sound. "I don't pretend it's conceptual, not at all. It even allows me to introduce melody. And by the time I record, I realize that these sounds have their own entity." Despite this element that characterizes her creation, Marina Herlop does not exclude in the future "composing pieces with intelligible words".

It will be interesting to follow the trajectory to see how an artist who recognizes herself in her early days evolves. "There are several Marinas in me. One wants to improvise, the other doesn't. There is a restlessness inside me. But the creative process leads me to a certain detachment from the ego." What painting will emerge from the confluence of all these Marinas Herlops? And what will become of the girl who sings in a mysterious language?

To see her and other emerging artists in the CosmoCaixa CosmoNits summer cycle was a discovery. First steps, first creations, like those of other composers. Laura Farré Rozada, interviewed in Hémisphère son, gave the lecture-concert Nimbus: an artistic look at fractals during this edition. The young Catalan composer and mathematician continues her career at a steady pace, following her recent triumph at the Golden Classical Musica Awards in New York.

Txema Seglers


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