muna ensemble    How did the Muna Ensemble project come about?

It came out of the urge to do something different. In the beginning three of us, musicians, got together with the idea of playing contemporary music, but we saw that we needed something else to make the difference and make it special. That’s where we got the idea to get in touch with Martin. On several occasions Martin had himself thought it would be interesting to work with classical music, so he when the opportunity arose he couldn’t really say no to us.

The line-up is unusual, and as regards the instruments and visuals, well, Muna is not really something you see a lot of around here.

Yeah, as far as we know there isn’t anything like this around here, in Iruñea or the rest of the Basque Country. There is little contemporary music played locally, not to mention coupling it with visual element in the way we have. It’s basically the meeting of two different contemporary expressions from two separate worlds. We also believe that the two disciplines each have their own particular audience and so in this way these two different groups come together.

When you compose music do you do so with the images you will use in mind? Do you work on both parts together? Take us through the process.

At first, we chose work that had already been composed. After that, starting with Urtzi Iraizotz, another one or two composers started writing material for us, and while they didn’t expressly conceive any images as they worked, they wrote the music knowing it would be accompanied by a visual component and they have also been involved with the video-jockey. In one piece of music we use the compositor’s own photographs and on another one, the work is based on a specific painting, we use the characteristics of the painting to make up the accompanying images.

How would you musically define Muna?

Well, as far as the music is concerned, MUNA is a three-piece of flute, piano and violin. So, we play post-20th Century classical music, and our express objective is to debut and play contemporary composers’ work.

Moving onto the visual element, to what extent are they pre-prepared, and just how much of it is improvisation and comes about on impulse?

To a large extent it is ready to go, by that I mean that we more or less know what visuals will go where and when, or at least what group of images will go with each section. Apart from that, how the images are manipulated is basically spontaneous improvisation; sometimes it resides in the constant play of changing direction and speed, and that playful element happens in the moment. Some pieces are a little more stilted while there are others that are completely free. In one piece, we do some live painting by video, and the images created are completely spontaneous.

Each one of your live performances is special and unrepeatable, and so in the same way, ephemeral and in passing. Have you ever considered recording your work or capturing it in any other format than live performance?

To tell you the truth, we haven’t even thought about it. We have filmed some concerts as a form of documentation, but, both musically and visually, the most important part of what we do is the live performance as it happens. That doesn’t mean that in the future we won’t take a look at the possibility, but it’s not really what we are about right now.

Why Muna?

We were looking for a phonetically strong-sounding name that didn’t mean anything in particular and the name came about while we were mixing different words and sounds. We later found out that it is the name of a city in Mexico and that when pronounced, it’s very similar to the Arabian name Mouna.

Trio Per flauto, violino e Pianoforte - Nino Rota
Gorritik Beltzera - Koldo Pastor
Promenades - Bohuslav Martinu
Sirynx - Martin Zalba
Trikuharri - Urtzi Iraizoz.
pieza bat, irudi bat