The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Mentawai: Listening to the Rainforest – Performance at UCSC

Friday, January 20, 2012 – 7:30pm
UCSC Music Center Recital Hall


What does the rainforest tell us about ourselves and the world? In the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, wildlife communicates using a complete spectrum of sound that exceeds the range and timbre of a western orchestra. More than 50 meters overhead, female gibbons sing expressive duets in the tree-tops. Hundreds of unique species of birds, frogs, and insects also call and chorus, and in the midst of this sonorous world live indigenous tribes who have listened to the rainforest and existed harmoniously with its flora and fauna for millennia.


“MENTAWAI — Listening to the Rainforest” is an experimental multimedia work joining electronic sound collage by Linda Burman-Hall using biologist Richard Tenaza’s rare field recordings of threatened and endangered species with his photographic and her video images of their rain forest habitat. The piece features endangered primate vocalizations, birds and other environmental sounds from Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands which lie in the tsunami zone more than 100 miles west of Sumatra.


This experimental work was created to increase fine arts audience awareness of environmental conservation as well as to provide a welcome aesthetic dimension for scientists working with regional issues. Tenaza is a Professor of Biological Sciences at University of the Pacific in Stockton. Burman-Hall is a Professor of Music at UC Santa Cruz.


A brief discussion with artists and scientists about the presentation and the issues it raises will follow the piece.


Linda Burman-Hall, sound collage composition and videography
Richard Tenaza, field recordings and photography


Hall opens at 7:00 pm, concert starts at 7:30pm
$12 general, $10 seniors 62+, $8 youth and students w/ ID


Tickets available in advance at the UCSC Ticket Office (831-459-2159), the Santa Cruz Civic box office (831-420-5260) and at

Posted in: News