Music will always be a force for good and it is so wonderful to see it being used as such.

Self Release

Featuring: Adi Meyerson · Adinda Meertins · Ajda Snyder · Anggie Obin · Anna Litvinenko · Annie Van Der Voort · Arianne Abbestee · Aubrey Ruby Rosauli Situmorang · Ayumi Ishito · Bernadette Steinebach · Camila Meza · Catey Esler · Charissa Hoffman · Claudia Obser · Cobby Brzeski · Corrie Van Binsbergen · Diana Belfor · Elana Hedrych · Ella Joy Meir · Emily Stewart · Emma J.E. Brown · Enya Lim · Erika Banks · Esin Ozlem Aydingoz · Ester Wiesnerová · Gabbi Coenen · Ga Young Bae · Giulia Duchi · Grace Herzog · Grace Mary Burega · Hannah Levinson · Hayley Lam · Helen Robertson · Hermine Deurloo · Hidemi Akaiwa · Hillai Govreen · Inés Velasco · Inna Dudukina · Iris Ornig · Irisley Gomez · Isabel Wing · Itzel Reyna · Ivanna Cuesta Gonzalez · Jeanne Gies · Jess Fenton · Jodie Michael · Joy Lee · Jude Heichelbech · Kari Van Der Kloot · Karin Aerts · Karina Colis · Karina Pardus · Katelyn Isaacson · Katrina Reta · Kseniia Vasileva · Lauren Cauley · Leala Cyr · Libby Richman · Linnéa Lundgren · Lolivone De La Rosa · Luc Reuvers · Ludovica Burtone · Mar Fayos · Margaret Davis · Maria Alejandra Jiminez · Maria Mendes · Maria Triana · Marie Goetzinger · Mariel Roberts · Marit Stolk · Marta Roma · Melinda Faylor · Melinda Rice · Merel Brusselers · Michelle Lugo · Milena Casado Fauquet · Moana Avvenenti · Nadje Noordhuis · Nêgah Santos · Noa Fort · Orihana Calcines · Paulina Fuentes · Rachel Therrien · Rachel Z. Hakim · Rosalie Genay · Rose Tang · Ruben Van Megen · Sara Caswell · Sara Jacovino · Sarah Marie Bugeja · Sharon Fendrich · Simona Smirnova · Susanne Alt · Susanne Bachmann · Tammy Scheffer · Tara Novak · Tomoko Omura · Valentina Marentes · Valerie Giglio · Vivienne Aerts · Yuhan Su · Yulia Komo · Zahili Gonzalez Zamora

Vivienne Aerts’ uplifting and innovative Typuhthâng has emerged as a prominent piece of musical activism this International Women’s Day. On March 3rd, 2023, Aerts released the album: a musical exchange with 100 female musicians around the world, empowering and supporting the female cacao farmers of Virunga State Park, Congo.

Through collaborating with Original Beans Chocolate and a collective female voice, Aerts aims to emphasise the importance of sustainability in agriculture, as well as how women can be empowered within the workforce.

The ‘Femmes de Virunga’ are a cacao farm collective of 1500 women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, launched in 2008 by Original Beans. Through this initiative, they gave women the tools and resources needed to overcome the extreme hardship brought about by Congo’s unstable political circumstances.

These resources included literacy, leadership training and the supplies needed to plant a tree nursery. By cultivating this crop, their community flourished. And so did their standard of living, through increased wages and improved working conditions.

Vivienne Aerts is a Dutch, New York-based vocalist, conductor, and composer with a focus on electronics and multi-sensory experience design. Typuhthâng is Aerts’ third album after, Roofgarden (2009) and Polaroid (2012).

Alongside her husband, who is a pastry chef and chocolate extraordinaire, Aerts organizes events and performances. Their named ‘Vervool Project’, provides ‘a multi-sensory experience that immerses you into a fulfilment of a feeling’.

‘I wanted to use my music to raise awareness of this project. I wanted to use my music to match their entrepreneurial spirit and generate business- Let’s make an album that sells their chocolate’.

When buying a physical copy of the album, listeners are given a free bar of chocolate, uniting these multiple sensory experiences. This was important for Aerts; to promote the physical significance of music that seems to have been lost in our ever-evolving digital world.

The artwork and booklet are screen printed on cacao pulp paper designed by Natalia Olbinski, with a map showing where the 100 women involved in the project are situated, across the globe.

The album begins with a cacophony of whispers and voices, repeating the phrase: ‘If the road is lost.’ This smoothly leads into this ethereal choir-like setting, gliding from one rich chord to another. To have the album begin with just the voices of women from all over the globe, coming together to uplift and support other women, is very powerful indeed.

The tracks are intersected by 3 soundscapes, which feature the language, cultural music, and melodies of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This once again centres Aerts message and enhances the impact of the album as a whole.

Aerts has beautifully used the power of music as a tool and resource to empower others… as well as chocolate! Music will always be a force for good and it is so wonderful to see it being used as such.

Reviewed by Isabel Marquez