Rwanda Canada

PhD Research – Feb/Mar 2023

In late Feb 2023, I took on an audacious research experiment to discover if music students and staff in Rwanda Africa, could participate in a collaborative, real-time Telemidi music performance that involved two grand Pipe Organs in snow covered churches across Canada.

The pinnacle of this event was the performance of Humura Rwanda, featuring a primary Pipe Organist in Vancouver, a secondary MIDI keyboard player in Rwanda (alongside a 100 strong student choir), and a second Pipe Organ in Calgary being triggered by the MIDI data as it passed by. Humura Rwanda is a traditional Rwandan folk tune that had been reinterpreted for Pipe Organ in the Modern Romantic genre, specifically for this performance, by renowned Canadian composer Denis Bédard.

Against many odds, we connected a duplex MIDI network between Canada (Vancouver & Calgary) and the Rwandan School of Creative Arts and Music in Muhanga, Rwanda, Africa. The overall traceroute distance of the message pathway was approx. 17,404km (10,815 mi.), with a one-way travel time of approx. 290-350msec. On location in Rwanda, I used a mobile phone to access the internet via the mobile data network, with Calgary operating as the Remote Server host for the connection.

230304 PGCan Rw PERF World Map route all 23jpg

I was fortunate to work alongside a dedicated team from Canada and Rwanda, the wonderfully talented students and dedicated staff of the school, and with the support of my University (WAAPA ECU) and the Canadian Arts Council.

In particular I wish to thank:

~ Gilles Parenteau and Dominique Soutif – Candaian Organisers

~ Jacques “Popo” Murigande – School President

~ Michael Dirk – Vancouver Organist

~ Noël (Benimpuhwe Louis) – Rwandan MIDI keyboarist

~ Fabrice Shimwantwari – performer of Amazing Grace

~ Steve Miller – Calgary Organ/MIDI technician

~ Denis Bédard – Canadian composer (arrangement)

~ Janvier Murenzi – Rwandan conductor (choir)

~ School of Creative Arts and Music choir (all of you!)

~ Tech collective – Kanaka, Igue, Bruce, François and more…

Below are three videos edited for evidence in my research, where media from on location, live streams and a Zoom call have been aligned to illustrate the activity across the three locations, the delays across various communication mediums, and to provide a collective presentation of the multiple audio streams.

It is best to listen in headphones, wherein the left speaker features the Vancover Pipe Organ, the right speaker features the Calgary organ and the choir pan is focussed across the centre. During editing, a single timing adjustment was made for each audio stream to synchronise with the choir:

+ Vancouver = + approx. 330 msec

+ Calgary = + approx. 300 msec

Photos from Rwanda (taken by Domoinique Soutif)