Roff began as a residency project supported by the Ministry of Culture within “Neistart Lëtzebuerg – Kultur” program. It is an interdisciplinary cross-cultural project that gathered together Luxembourgish writer Claudine Muno and Polish composer and performer Michal Pepol.

Roff is a book written by Claudine Muno. It has illustrations, also created by Muno, which are artistic collages in mixed media.

For Roff Claudine Muno did an extensive research at the Archives in Petange. In addition, Openscreen put her in contact with some scholars at the University of Luxembourg exploring the period of the WWII. All the new knowledge was then interwoven in the text.

In Roff, just like in Luxembourg, all languages coexist in a simultaneous way. The Luxembourgish text is infused with phrases in the officially recognized and mostly spoken languages in the Grand Duchy plus some curious words in other languages that add to the story more colors and associations.

Roff is a multilayered story that touches historical topics from the time of the Second World War, revealed through interesting personal accounts, and examines questions of identity, migration and inclusion in which language and culture have a defining role.

“Den Numm war senger Mamm hir Iddi. Si huet dorop bestanen, hire Jong „Boy” ze nennen. Hie war e Jong, firwat sollt si en also net esou nennen? Si wollt d’Saachen ëmmer beim Numm nennen. Si huet en Hond en „Hond” genannt an eng Kaz eng „Kaz”, ausser et ware méi Hënn oder méi Kazen do an et hätt ee kéinte Gefor lafen, se ze verwiesselen. Mee an hirer Famill gouf et ausser dem Boy keen anere Jong. Fréier goufen et Monnien an Tattaen, Cousinen a Kusinnen, Neveuen an Niessen, déi meescht doud oder wéinstens al, wäit ewech an onbekannt, mee keen anere Jong. Also gouf et och kee Grond, fir en extraen Numm fir hien erauszesichen.”

“The name was his mother’s idea. It was her who insisted that her son should be called “Boy”. After all, he was a boy, so why not call him that? She called a dog “dog” and a cat “cat”, except when there were several cats or dogs and there was a risk of confusion. But there was no other boy in the family. There once had been great-uncles and great-aunts, cousins, and nephews and nieces, all dead or at least very old, remote and unknown, but no boy. So, there was no reason to pick a special name for him.”

An excerpt from the book

To accompany the book and complement the reading experience, an original music soundtrack was created and recorded by Polish composer Michal Pepol. Michal Pepol visited Luxembourg for a residency dedicated to the creation of Roff’s special soundtrack. Claudine Muno showed Michal the places where the story unfolded and shared the historical details linked to each one of them.

During his stay in Luxembourg, he also recorded some ambient sounds from different places in the country, which he included in his compositions afterwards. Like this, the music composed especially for the book has something from the unique flavor of the streets and nature in Luxembourg.

Language, culture and identity have an inclusive role in the concept of the book. The characters find connection that goes beyond cultural differences and linguistic background. Everything combined gives a perspective towards a possible social order in which there is no space for prejudices based on ethnic or national identity as well as other exclusive tendencies.

Discussions in the future – we see many possible conversations unraveling key themes in the book. Our hope is that we will find partners and organize such discussions in diverse settings with different audiences.

Roff will be printed and available soon in Luxembourg. We love this project and would like to release it internationally too! If you wish to support this in any way, get in touch.

Stay tuned.

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