Nature’s Melody: Palouse Soundscapes by Yii Kah Hoe

Yii Kah Hoe, a senior lecturer at SEGi College in Subang Jaya, Malaysia, and an internationally recognised musician and composer, was recently featured in a Washington State University article. Yii is the university’s first Fulbright scholar in residence, where he teaches, researches, and continues his artistic work of making soundscapes that combine natural components and strive to enhance environmental consciousness.

The article focuses on Yii’s most recent work, Of the Land, which he composed in and about the Palouse and will premiere on March 4 at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center. The piece is a compilation of soundscape recordings from over 12 different nature parks, many of which are in the Pullman area and some of which are in Idaho, and it reflects elements of density and light found in Chinese calligraphy brushstrokes, as well as traditional music elements from Malaysia, China, and Indonesia.

Members of the audience will be able to participate to the moving, Palouse-based soundscape, thus transforming the public into actors in Yii’s music, as well as performances by music professors Aaron Agulay, baritone, and Keri McCarthy, English horn.

Yii’s music has been described as energetic and colourful, integrating textures and rhythms from various ethnic communities around Southeast Asia and impacted by his career as a visual artist. Yii is also a skilled improviser on two varieties of Chinese flutes, the dizi and xiao, and his pieces incorporate the sounds and rhythms of these, as well as many other traditional instruments from throughout the world.

In addition to his musical endeavours, Yii has been involved in environmental protection for the past 12 years, attempting to bridge the gap between music and activism in Malaysia. He has studied sound frequencies in rainforest recordings to determine the types of insects, birds, and other species that are most affected by changing conditions.

Yii has taught musical improvisation, soundscapes, and structures at WSU, as well as working with students interested in composition. He will also educate Malaysia, its environment, and its music to WSU students from other disciplines for a history course in the UCORE Origins of Current Problems programme, as well as give a discussion about music and the environment to WSU’s First-Year Programs.

Ultimately, Yii’s work exemplifies the junction of art and activism, as he uses his musical talents to raise awareness about environmental issues and connect people to the natural world.

The post, titled Palouse soundscape composer presents music of nature, can be viewed at source=WSUNews-enewsletter&utm campaign=wsunewsenewsletter&utm medium=email.



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