In the last ten years, Martino Nicoletti, in collaboration with the composer and sound engineer Roberto Passuti, created two different musical projects:

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THE STENOPEICA PROJECT AND INDEPENDENT LABEL

The project STENOPEICA takes shape thanks to the combination of the deep experience of the composer and sound engineer Roberto Passuti and the quintessence of more than twenty years of travels, researches and studies carried out by Martino Nicoletti among the peoples of Asia.

Melting different artistic languages – music, photography, video, creative writing, installation and performance – STENOPEICA aims to bring to light sharp and deep fragments belonging to remote universes; fragments dislocated and reinterpreted thanks to a series of powerful creative acts.

STENOPEICA (Engl. “pinhole): through the presence of an infinitesimal tiny hole, an entire universe of light and images is transferred from a place to another, thus leaving a sensitive track. No matter if this universe flows through the (inexistent) lens of a pinhole camera or, as in the logo of the project, through the magic pupil of Charles Baudelaire’s eyes.

Recent works:

COVER_DIARIO dal KALI YUGA

Stenopeica, Franco Battiato, Teresa de Sio, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, Kathmandu: diario dal Kali Yuga (edited by Martino Nicoletti), Paris, Le loup des steppes, 2016

Kathmandu: diario dal Kali Yuga (Kathmandu: diary from Kali Yuga) (Book + CD)

An initiatory itinerary made of sounds and words leads to the discovery of Kathmandu, the mythical sacred city of divine origin set among the shining mountains of the Himalayas. The refined sounds of the STENOPEICA musical group are combined with the voice and the precious artistic contributions of FRANCO BATTIATO, TERESA DE SIO and GIOVANNI LINDO FERRETTI.

As an authentic diary from the Kali Yuga – the final dark age that, according to ancient Indian mythology, concludes a cosmic cycle – the CD-book (consisting of texts, photographs and 20 musical tracks), represents a unique contribution to the knowledge of the abysses of this Himalayan city.

Kathmandu. The living count the dead between fingers and thumb. The dead count the living from behind the windows. Along the road, high up, electricity races in thin filaments.

Buy it

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Kathmandu: disiecta membra

A CD of electronic music created by Stenopeica and devoted to the Himalayan metropolis of Kathmandu.

Featurings:  Giovanni Lindo Ferretti and Teresa de Sio. Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

The CD is available on Amazon.

Kathmandu: eclissi delle due lune

(Kathmandu: eclipsys of the two moons) 

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A CD of contemporary music created by Martino Nicoletti, Roberto Passuti and STENOPEICA.

Featurings: Franco Battiato, Giovanni Lindo Ferretti, Mekhe Kulunge and Teresa de Sio. Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

The work is available  on iTunes.

 

THE PROJECT “SEEDS OF SOUND”

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“Immersed in the twilight, the colours become more vivid, their contours sharper. The sounds, now stripped, fill space”.
(M.N.)

The Series

The project Seeds of Sound – created in 2006 by Martino Nicoletti thanks to the support of the composer and sound engineer Roberto Passuti –  focuses on the collection of a series of less known South and South-East Asian musical heritages, related to specific religious traditions.

In particular the project provides a deeper glance at those spiritual civilisations in which music still retains its sacred role and spiritual meanings; at those cultural contexts where sound is deemed to have the unusual capacity of reaching and sounding the very depths of the invisible world.

Sound as an arrow and a harpoon. An arrow aimed at the origin of things, in the direction of those creative vibrations which, at the very beginning, gave birth to the universe. A harpoon giving direct access to sources of hidden power, which provides man with the opportunity to manipulate them for his own benefit or to facilitate transformations of his own consciousness.

The project, based essentially on digital recording of music in the field, is integrated by intense work on texts and ample visual support. Indeed, the project purposes to publish a short series of music CDs, each with a pocket book supplement in which information about context and culture, experiences, meetings, the visual and visionary strength of selected images and the sharp power of the sound melt together to create a simple, many-facetted and – above all – living work.

In this sense, the series is largely addressed to those who, beyond any mere interest in ethnic music, sincerely desire to taste the atmosphere, the beauty and poetry of hidden faraway worlds, a desire to approach different cultures, far from any stereotype, in an attempt to understand their complexity, their evolution, their contradictions and their infinite variety.

Itineraries on paths that need to be approached through a balanced multiplicity of languages, the expression of those infinite harmonics that are spontaneously produced by all human experience.

The project Seeds of Sound in the Autumn of Power is a copyright by:

Martino Nicoletti, 2006. Production: Stenopeica (Bologna, Italy).

The logo: Ts’ô. A shaman dances in ecstasy to the accompaniment of a ritual drum and a cymbal. Nakhi liturgical pictogram (Yunnan).

The CDs of the Series:

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The Path of Light: Ritual Music of the Tibetan Bon

The Path of Light: Ritual Music of the Tibetan Bon – the first CD of the series Seeds of Sound in the Autumn of Power directed by Martino Nicoletti – represents a fascinating journey through the ritual music of one of Asia’s most ancient and least known spiritual traditions: Bon, the autochthonous religion of Tibet.

Ancient religious texts trace Bon’s origins back to the figure and doctrines of the Buddha Tonpa Shenrab, who appeared in Olmo Lungring, the invisible realm of light identified with the regions of Central Asia, perceptible and accessible only to enlightened beings through the da’ lam, the mystic “arrow way”.

With its wealth of introductory texts and images (more than one hundred pages of photographs and texts giving an introduction to the history, the myths, the rituals, the traditional musical instruments of the bon-po liturgy) this CD – produced thanks the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of CNR – provides a rare selection of chants, music and mantras, most of which are connected with the esoteric path of Dzogchen, or Great Perfection.

The authentic gem of this CD – recorded live at the Nepalese monastery of  Tritan Norbutse – is an extremely rare collective performance of the chö, a meditative ritual of self-sacrifice, as found throughout bonpo tradition.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will be assigned directly to the bonpo monastery of Tritan Norbutse as a contribution to the cultural safeguard projects promoted by the monastery itself.

Nicoletti Martino (2008), The Path of Light: Ritual music of the Tibetan Bon, Bologna, Borgatti Edizioni Musicali.



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Charya: The Tantric Musical Tradition of the Kathmandu Valley

This outstanding CD presents a wide overview of charya, one of the lesser known sacred musical traditions of the Kathmandu valley.

Rooted in esoteric Tantric Buddhist tradition (vajrayana), widespread among the Newar of Nepal, charyasongs represent an integral part of the charya nrtya sacred dances, traditionally handed down and performed in Vajracarya Tantric spiritual lineages.

Traditionally performed by initiated dancers in a highly secret context, these dances represent an authentic form of dynamic meditation (sadhana). Founded on the practice of specific mental visualisations and on a deep identification of the dancer with the specific meditation deity (yidam) evoked during the dance, charya nrtya’s main aim is to achieve higher states of consciousness and a direct realisation of the ultimate, non-dual and empty nature of phenomena.

In this sense, the peaceful and wrathful deities evoked and “danced” during the performance – belonging to both Buddhist and Hindu traditional pantheons – represent the direct personified expression of the ceaseless creative energy inherent in the Emptiness itself (sunyata).

In this context, thanks to the magic power of the chant, the music and the dance, each performance is thus transformed into a veritable yogic practice aimed at propitiating the tangible manifestation of the most profound divine powers that inhabit and vivify the universe, as well as providing the dancer with a rare opportunity of realising directly the enlightened condition of his/her own mind.

Kept secret until a few decades ago, only recently have carya songs and the charya nrtya dance tradition been made accessible to a non-initiated audience, including westerners.

The CD, recorded in Kathmandu under the supervision of Dr. Martino Nicoletti, has been created thanks to the collaboration of Rameshwor Maharjan, an internationally renowned Newari charya dancer and musician.

M.N.

Track 1: Sri Padma Nrtyasvara Vandana: hymn to the Lord of the Dance; 
Track 2: Sodasa Lasya: the dance of the Sixteen Offering Goddesses to the main deity of the mandala; 
Track 3: Arya Tara: the dance of the Green Tara; 
Track 4: Vajrayogini: the dance of Vajravarahi, “The Diamond Sow”; 
Track 5: Manjusri: the dance of the Bodhisattva Manjusri; 
Track 6: Panca Buddha: the dance of the Five Buddhas; 
Track 7: Kumari: the dance of the virgin goddess Kumari; 
Track 8: Rakta Ganesh: the dance of the Red Ganesh; 
Track 9: Sri Bhairav Kali: the dance of Bhairav and Kali;

Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti;Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

Available on Itunes.

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Gandharva: The Magic Sound of the Nepali Sarangi

The CD presents a series of outstanding sarangi solo executions inspired by a rich repertoire of traditional Nepali and Tibetan melodies, performed by Shyam Nepali: in this work the long-established music of the Gaine of Nepal blends with the very personal experimentation and intimate feelings of one of the most renowned innovative and sensitive musicians in the panorama of contemporary Nepali music.

M.N.

Track 01: Morning bliss;

Track 02: Himalayan daw;

Track 03: Across the clouds;

Track 04: Waiting;

Track 05: Footprints in the snow;

Track 06: Soul’s vibe;

Track 07: The shaman’s flight;

Track 08: Melting water;

Track 09: Beauty revealed;

Track 10: Don’t turn your gaze behind;

Track 11: Back from the fields;

Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti;Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

Available on Itunes.  

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Shamans of the East: Ritual Songs of the Himalayan Kulung shamanic tradition

The CD presents two of the most characteristic liturgical songs still widespread in the shamanic tradition of the Kulung Tibeto-Burman minority of eastern Nepal.

The first is an invocation of the shaman’s guardian spirits and guiding deities. Usually performed in the Nepali language at the beginning of each ecstatic Kulung shamanic séance, the song, in mentioning a vast host of invisible beings relating to specific cosmic regions (sky, earth, underworld) or places of the natural habitat (snowy mountains, wood, lakes, etc), is believed to possess the singular faculty of creating an invisible bridge between the officiant and the invisible world as well as helping the shaman himself in inducing a specific form of trance. This trance is a distinctive feature of any Kulunge shamanic ritual, and the efficacy of any séance is firmly rooted in the shaman’s ability to produce, control and direct it toward the specific goals of the rite.

The second track is a hunting chant, usually performed in the ritual Kulung language on the occasion of the ritual offering of game to the tribe’s ancestors and the invisible spirit of the forest.

Settled in one of the most remote and enchanting regions of eastern Nepal, the Kulung are one of the last Himalayan ethnic groups to hand down, even today, an archaic form of hunting of specific species of wild quadrupeds in the form of a complex and highly ritualised practice.

According to Kulung tradition, the hunting expedition is preceded, accompanied and followed by various liturgical songs – sung in a sacred and secret ritual language – believed to possess the power of ingratiating the invisible entities of the wilderness, propitiating the hunt and facilitating the obtainment of an “invisible essence” (ji), hidden in the thick of the forest, on which the prosperity of the village is deemed to depend, as well as the vital force and health of its people.

A recurrent theme of these songs is the account of the mythical hunt for an invisible archetypal stag and the description of the mystic journey accomplished by the souls of the hunters – here acting in a double role as huntsmen and priests – in search of prosperity and invisible strength. Both these qualities are concealed in specific “power sources” spread throughout the forest where the hunt takes place and scattered over the its studded mountain peaks.

The songs on this CD are superbly performed by Mekhe Kulung, one of the most renowned contemporary shamans of the Kulung tribe.

M.N.

Track 1: Ritual hunting song;

Track 2: Invocations to invisible masters and protector spirits;

Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

Available on Itunes.

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Chala ra Dhatu:

Newari percussions of the Kathmandu Valley

This CD presents a wide overview on the world of the Newari percussions as they are mainly widespread in the context of the Dapha musical tradition.

Scientific researches, recording organisation and supervision: Martino Nicoletti and Rameswor Maharjan; Sound engineering and post-production: Roberto Passuti; Label: Stenopeica – A Buzz Supreme.

Available  on Itunes.

Next CDs of the Series:

gharba

Gharba: Poets and Mystics of Hindukush

A CD devoted to the ritual music of the last Sufis of the Hindukush region. Recorded live in the northern area of Chitral (Pakistan), the work presents a series of liturgical séances of Sufis belonging to the Ismaili tradition. A precious contribution to the splendid music of the gharba, a traditional short neck lute, which, in this area, represents the most sacred musical instrument employed during the collective liturgies.

 

 

 

 

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