New Music

Watch in wonder as the world's first underwater aquatic music band performs fully submerged

The lead singer sings through a water bubble and the band creates music through specially developed instruments.

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Have you ever tried talking underwater and then given up, what with the muffled sounds and the mouthfuls of water you swallow? Well, here's a band that has found a way not only to sing underwater but also to play its unique instruments from inside water tanks.

Its name is Between Music. Self-styled as the world's first "aquatic music" band, it's set to play its first concert underwater concert, titled AquaSonic, in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on May 27. They use special techniques, that they have learnt through almost 10 years of experiments, and modified instruments created in collaboration with Andy Cavatorta, who has worked with Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk.

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The band is the brainchild of singer and composer Laila Skovmand, who began by wanting to find a way to sing underwater. Early attempts included putting her face in a kitchen bowl filled with water and trying to sing. Air bubbles created "pop sounds" that distracted from the music.

Eventually, she discovered a way to hold the air bubbles in her mouth and sing through them. She also uses another technique, “I switch between singing on the exhale and inhale, but it can be hard to control.” After each note, Skovmand has to come up for air.

From voice training underwater, the singer began using different instruments to see how they worked and sounded. She began with a cheap violin, but it collapsed as the wood was damaged by the water. This caused her to make new instruments that would not sound muffled and be durable in these unique conditions. Cavorta created two new instruments – the rotacorda, a six-stringed instrument, and the crystallophone, made up of bowls that are played with fingers.

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The five members of the band will perform from inside aquariums that use 1,600 litres of water. Hydrophones will transmit their sound to the audience and the band members will stay in tune with each other by using in-ear waterproof microphones. Only time will tell how successful this kind of concert will be, but if their videos are anything to go by, it will definitely by a surreal, out-of-this world experience that Salvador Dali would be proud of.

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