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The context: our Erasmus+ Project “The Soundscape we live in”

The aim of this soundwalk: a collective location scouting of the Vaise neighbourhood (Lyon) during a three focus points promenade.

The annonciation church -Lyon Vaise, starting point, end of the day – ©Patrick Mathon

We are eight people, including sound artists, students, District Council members, a person involved in the “Sentiers métropolitainS” project…

This first soundwalk is a naked ear listening, without any recording or listening device.

The listening focuses last between 15 and 20 minutes, quietly, in one sitting. Afterward, they’re commented during our walks between the listening points and at the end of the path.

It is 6:30 PM, the night has come, the weather is beautiful and warm for this time of the year.

Before starting, a little briefing : what is at stake, with the european soundscapes? Why did I choose a soundwalk? What is its place in the project?…

While walking, Vaise Station – ©Patrick Mathon

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On the fourth day, we went behind the walls of a prison, the Casa Circondariale di Sollicciano. We met the Orkestra Ristretta and its leader Massimo Altomare.


The Orkestra Ristretta began in 2007, Tempo Reale started to administratively help in 2013.


Massimo created a first band of twelve musicians at the heart of this building where 700 prisoners live (including 500 born abroad). They play hits but also original compositions.


Since then, he organizes auditions and starts the band again every year depending on the people still or newly imprisoned. During those auditions, he seeks after “men with a good ear, already musicians or not, with a good ear for music” as he says.


The Orkestra Ristretta is strongly rooted in rock for sure. But as men sing in their own language and with (spoken and sang) accents, the band’s style is a patchwork of rap, italian music, latina music, Northern and West Africa music … On stage you can see the drummer, the percussionist playing Conga, the two guitarists, the keyboarder and some singers/rappers exchanging verses.

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Wednesday. Third day.

We visited the Oasi di Focognano park. Some kilometers away from Firenze, located on the Campi town. An immense protected natural sanctuary, with aquatic areas adapted and dedicated to amphibians and birds.

At the very beginning, decades ago, a part of the park was a landfill. The city then decided to protect this zone and its amazing wildlife and plants.

We wandered a bit through the sanctuary. Stopped sometimes, to listen. Sometimes with a guide explaining the history of the park and how it works.

At lookout shelters, we observed through large loopholes… before us, a lake where large numbers of birds I couldn’t remember the name of live.

The walks were silent, most of the time, so that we could enjoy the wildlife and vegetal sounds. Along the river, listening to  the sound universe, including many birdsongs I can’t name. Loud sound universe, even amplified by our recording devices. Equipped with a parable and microphones, we recorded some sounds while walking, realized still takes during our stops in the observation shelters. We went back to the water area, after a very close sound zoom of an anthill quietly expanding in the corner of a shelter.

However the hydrophone test, in a small watercourse, was disappointing considering the lack of sounds or life manifestations during its immersion.

Then, we would take the parable back, way more effective.

The silence and the calm of those particular places allowed us to discreetly take a very close look at some animals. A rare experience.

And suddenly, in the midst of the silence, sometimes, a plane sounds would break through the sky.