The grandson of four Jewish refugees who escaped the Nazi regime in 1938 and emigrated to Argentina, Marcelo Schnock, aka Olec Mün, has played the piano since he was six years old. Now based in Barcelona, he is the first of his family in two generations to settle back in Europe and his forthcoming album on Italy’s Lady Blunt Records entitled Reconciliation is a musical telling of their story in what Olec hopes will be a healing and transformative way.
“In today’s world, the idea of the Other as a threat is growing every day. And if we decide to zoom in, we will find a potential conflict motivated by a false idea of hate, fear and separation. Reconciliation is not only about my personal story. It is a call for hope and love, for unity and encounter…an opportunity to heal wounds and thrive into a more evolved and transcendent humanity.” – Olec Mün
While composing the music last year, Olec traveled to the hometowns of his ancestors in Germany and Austria, visiting their former homes and the local archives and libraries to gather information not previously known. He has structured the album in two parts, each comprising four movements. “Songs for my Ancestors” revisits the story of his grandparents with a song named after each one: Richard, Dora, Freddy and Jetty. It is Dora’s story that you can listen to hear in this exclusive preview that begins the album’s journey out into the world.
“When I was composing this piece, I read the letters she received from her family after her emigration to Argentina. She had to leave her parents and her sister in Germany, since there was only money for one of the family to travel. The letters are heartbreaking. The first ones carried hope in them, wishing they would find the way to travel to Argentina as well, hoping the war would end soon. But as the dates advance, they are obliged to exile to Poland, and gradually everything is taken away from them. In the last letters received by my grandmother, the words are almost unbearable. I could then see her pain, feel her guilt. I tried to think how my personality would be transformed if I had to abandon my whole family and be a witness of how they slowly disappear. I could then understand her anger and her ways of dealing with such pain. It was compassion what drove me in this song. My father told me that even in her last days of life, lying in bed, she cried for her parents and her sister, asking for forgiveness. When I play this piece, I feel I help her liberate from such terrible guilt. It is a piece in which I leave a concrete space for improvisation. Sometimes anger comes out, sometimes relief and gratitude. Every time, something new emerges like waves on the shore.” – Olec Mün
“The Refugee’s Journey” also consists of four movements: “Exile”, “New Beginning”, “The Calling”, and “Reconciliation”. This section uses music rather words to seek answers questions raised in Olec’s diaries – “What does it take to forgive? What do I need in order to keep going?”. When his gently humming voice emerges in the title piece, a sense of closure arrives, the consolatory ending to a journey full of deeply conflicting emotions tenderly and gracefully told and the hopeful beginning of another…
The LP edition of Reconciliation will be available beginning September 25, 2020. Beginning in November, Olec plans to present the album in Europe starting from the small German and Austrian villages from which his grandparents fled.