Sonami, Laetitia

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Sonami, Laetitia

Sonami, Laetitia, talented French composer and performer; b. Paris, Nov. 28, 1957. She studied in France with Eliane Radigue, then moved to the U.S. to pursue her interest in electronic music, first with Joel Chadabe at the State Univ. of N.Y. at Albany, and then in Oakland, Calif., with Robert Ashley and David Behrman at the Center for Contemporary Music (M.F.A., 1981). From 1977 to 1990 she composed works primarily involving voice and electronics, including Drole de Dimanche for Home-made Electronics, Oh-Balihi-Wadou for Magnetic Tapes and Text, Passages for Dancers, Tape, and Slides, Blue Yonder for Tape and Dancers, Migrations for Tape, and Dunes for Tape. Compositions from 1991 involve complex solo performance with the use of live electronics enhanced by personalized controllers, among them the “Lady’s Glove,” an electronic glove studded with sensors which allow for real-time control of music. Sonami’s talent as a performer is formidable and disarming. Critics have variously described her as magical, compelling, humorous, sultry, and electric.


What Happened I for Voice and Electronic Instruments (1990), II for Electronics controlled by the Lady’s Glove (1994), and III for Live Interactive Video, Voice, and Electronic Music controlled by the Lady’s Glove (1997); Mechanization takes command for Voice, Electronics, and Slide Projections (1991; in collaboration with P. DeMarinis); Wilfred wants you to remember us for Voice and Electronics (1991; rev. 1995, as The Bench); Story Road for Voice and Synthesizers (1992); The Manananggal-Wotnen Soignées, music theater piece (1994; in collaboration with M. Goyette and M. Sumner Carnahan); …and she keeps coming back for more for Live Electronics controlled by the Lady’s Glove (1995); Mona Lisa for Electronics controlled by Body Gestures, Voices, and Live Multi-screen Video Projections (1996; in collaboration with D. Swearinghen, Pamela Z, and Visual Brains); Nga’i pha yul for Live Elecronics and Voice (1996; in collaboration with D. Wessel and T. Wagmo); Has/Had for Voice and Live Electronics controlled by the Lady’s Glove (1997; usually performed with She Came Back Again, an adaptation of …and she keeps coming back for more[1995], 1997); Shaky Memories, sound installation for Automated Rubber Gloves and Music (1998); Why__dreams like a loose engine (autoportrait) for Voice, Live Electronics, and Computer-controlled Servo-motors (1998); Mechanical Songs Between Light and Shadows for Voice, Live Electronics, Motorized Wash Basins, Computer-controlled Shadows, and Saxophonist (1999); Mismatch for Voice and Live Electronics (1999; in collaboration with J. Ingle).

—Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire