TUNING IN: a sea of sound

TUNING IN: A Sea of Sound is a short documentary that embarks on a journey with a group of musicians, guided by David Rothenberg, a professor of philosophy and music. Together, they set out on a quest to establish a musical connection with a musician hidden within the depths of the ocean.

On Maui, Hawaii, the musicians navigate the surrounding waters renowned for attracting Humpback whales during their migratory journey. Equipped with underwater microphones and speakers, the group tries to harmonize with these singers who have been singing their songs for thousands of years.

The film show the audience that music is a form of knowledge that can teach us about the world around us. You don’t need to use words to make music and communicate with each other. A way to understand something musical is by trying to play along on a musical instrument.

Story behind:
In March of 2023, Tristan Visser and I traveled to Maui, Hawaii, to take the next step in the story we told in 2019 with the film ‘Onder Water’. It’s about a musician with the question, “Can I play music with a whale?” We found out that we are not the only ones with this question. David Rothenberg had been trying to find an answer for quite a while.

Two weeks we spent on the water around the island of Maui, trying to play music and harmonize with Humpback Whales.

Filmed and edited by: Jeroen van de Bovenkamp
Original score, sound design & mix by: Tristan Visser
Musicians: David Rothenberg Elenora Pertz Tristan Visser
Special Thanks: Marlene Pauley, Bjarne Kvinnsland, Susana gonzalez, Tilman Farley and Andrea Lynn

Improvising with whales:
While we were on Hawaii, David organised a concert to share the whale recordings and play live with these recordings. Here is a little taste of that concert: