Hosted by: Rebecca Bruton
The Drop and the Turning is a new, monthly music podcast exploring the unpredictable magic of change – change we didn’t anticipate, change we shape, change we deeply long for. We turn to artists, mainly soundworkers*, who touch and shape change** as a primary, invisible, spellbinding material. How are they noticing and creating small actions and connections in response to crisis? How might tiny reverberations be a part of the complex patterns and systems that become ecosystems and societies? What is most necessary, and what must we pay attention to, now, so that it might grow?
*Musicians, Composers, Sound Artists, Noisemakers, Sonic Dreamers, Acousticians, Witches and Magicians.
**The ideas presented in this podcast owe great debt to the Black Feminist visionary writers Octavia E. Butler and adrienne maree brown, whose intergenerational, collaborative ideas on change and emergence offer critical philosophical groundwork for my approach as a producer and host. I am also deeply inspired by the work of Donna J. Haraway, most notably her books When Species Meet, and Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. For more information please visit www.adriennemareebrown.net and www.oebsociety.wordpress.com/
- Episode 1: Nathaniel Robin Mann – The Responsibility to Transform
- Episode 2: FOONYAP and Mustafa Rafiq with Ethan Bokma
- Episode 3: Kathleen Yearwood – A Perfect Blood Sacrifice
- Episode 4: Sumaila Hemani and Arts&Crafts (Lydia Pineau with Chris Dadge)
- Episode 5: Robyn Jacob – An Estuary; A Border
Nathaniel Robin Mann – The Responsibility to Transform
Nathaniel Mann is an experimental composer, performer and sound designer. Oscillating between music and sound, Mann has a compositional practice that is expansive in scope and varied in form. He takes on many roles in his work, including researcher, instrument-maker, archive-digger, surround-sound designer, filmmaker, broadcaster, storyteller, producer, curator, entrepreneur, sonic-artist and folksinger. He is also one third of the experimental folk ensemble, Dead Rat Orchestra.
Mann’s compositions probe history, politics and audio culture, resisting established formats and frameworks for creating music. Each work is crafted, adapted and nuanced towards its setting, fuelled by continued dialogue and collaboration with professionals and enthusiasts from varied fields. These have included filmmakers, musicians, visual artists, academics, curators, a pigeon fancier and a swordsmith.
Mann has explored many subjects including the colonial residue of recorded music in South Africa, in dialogue with Andile Vellum, a deaf dancer/choreographer based in Cape Town (Cape Sound Stories, 2016); the psycho-geographic horror of England’s public execution sites (Tyburnia, 2014-17); and the deeply rooted traditions interlinking noise and social control, creating bronze musical meat cleavers with swordsmith Neil Burridge (Rough Music, 2014).
Nathaniel writes and presents feature documentaries for BBC Radio 3 & 4, so far each of his programmes have been selected as “Pick of the Week”. He was awarded the Paul Hamlyn Award 2019, Arts Foundation Fellow 2018 and his work Pigeon Whistles (2013), a flying orchestra of flute-carrying Birmingham Roller pigeons, won the George Butterworth Prize for Composition in 2015.
Nathaniel works as sound designer, project director and producer for Madrid’s Factum Arte.
For more information on Nathaniel Mann, please visit: www.nathanielmann.co.uk
To listen to or purchase Akari Wauja: Wauja Songs from Upper Xingu (as described in the episode) with all proceeds going directly to the Wauja community, please visit: www.antigenrecords.bandcamp.com.
FOONYAP & Mustafa Rafiq with Ethan Bokma
Live Studio Concert
FOONYAP is a classically-trained violinist and vocalist with an incomparable sound. Drawing comparisons to Björk, Braids, and Lhasa, her latest release ‘Palimpsest’ is a therapeutic reconciliation with her sheltered Chinese-Catholic heritage and the intense classical music training of her childhood. Over the course of the past three years FOONYAP has toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Canada, along with New York City, garnering increasing acclaim everywhere she has performed, from outlets such as The Fader, The Line Of Best Fit, and the Toronto Star, amongst others, while appearing on CBC Q + Music Lab. Looping violin, mandolin, and voice, FOONYAP showcases a gifted voice that swings between a brittle fragility and explosive dynamism.
“…a tense and bespoke mixture of swampy electronics, strings, and vocals that flash with a bold, volcanic brilliance” –The FADER
Mustafa Rafiq is a multidisciplinary artist based in Treaty 6 land in Edmonton, Alberta. Their primary focus recently has been in exploring feelings connected with diaspora, gender expression and alienation through sound art. They also promote shows under Sweat Palms which is, at its root, an organization based on amplifying comfort in the community. Mustafa also performs as a solo artist under the moniker of Family Injera, a project which has taken many forms. It moves from being an experimental ambient – traditional (Arabic/East Indian) guitar – collaborative free-form project.
Mustafa will be joined by Ethan Bokma, an Edmonton-based improviser known for colliding together influences from free-jazz legends and drone music alike.
Kathleen Yearwood – A Perfect Blood Sacrifice
‘I spent my deformative years in a land with an active genocide. I lit out to get back to Europe but poverty pulled me back. I look hopeful on that passport photo. Nobody wanted me to go into the arts. My working-class background told me not to, but I did. Everything else was like leaving a helpless child unattended. I tend to it now.’ – Kathleen Yearwood
Kathleen Yearwood is a visionary vocalist, electric guitarist, and composer working in the experimental-folk tradition. She is also a writer, watercolour painter and printmaker.
Kathleen lives in the deep woods north of Edmonton (Treaty 8 Territory); her gorgeous descriptions of making harsh, ritualistic music in isolation are the perfect medicine for a cold winter’s night in COVID-distraught Alberta. If you’re looking for ways to connect to deep truth, the turning of the season, wild animals and ecological magic, I highly recommend you take a listen.
Shumaila Hemani and Arts&Crafts (Lydia Pineau with Chris Dadge)
Pre-Recorded Studio Concert
Shumaila Hemani is an Edmonton-based Sufi singer-songwriter, acousmatic composer, and ethnomusicologist. As a singer, Shumaila crosses genre boundaries while remaining rooted in Pakistani songs of Muslim heritage. She has performed at the World Odyssey (2020), Femme Wave Festival (2019), Canada’s Music Incubator (2019), the University of Alberta (2016), and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2015).
Shumaila’s acousmatic compositions, Supplication and Sarang: Perils of Heavy Rainfall were premiered at Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM)’s 2020 Virtual Conference. Perils of Heavy Rainfall received Second Prize at the Listening to COVID Contest, hosted by the Canadian Association for Acoustic Ecology. Her research expertise in sounds of religion has been awarded First Prize at the Society for Ethnomusicology meeting (2017), and the Frank Henderson Prize in the study of Women and Religion.
Calgary Herald described Shumaila’s music as “mesmerizing,” and “emotionally nerve-striking,” carrying “vocal virtuosity,” and “expressing radically different inner existential visions,” (2015). Edmonton Journal has recognized Hemani’s music for enriching the city’s cultural life.
Lydia Pineau is a Calgary-based multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer, and self-produced artist, exploring the worlds of both visual and auditory art. She is a frequent participant in the Bug Incision concert series performances; a member of Chris Dadge’s band Circular Sparrow; and has her own project under the name Arts&Crafts, which is an experimental improv project utilizing many types of instruments and sounds from around the world to create ambient and noisey soundscapes.
Chris Dadge is also a Calgary-based artist. He founded Bug Incision in 2005, which he operates as a record label and concert series, and records and produces music for many people. Dadge is the co-leader of the band Lab Coast, plays in the backing bands of Chad VanGaalen and Samantha Savage Smith, and for the better part of the last two decades has delved into the worlds of jazz and free improvisation with Scott “Monty” Munro as the Bent Spoon Duo.
Lydia will be pairing up with Dadge for Arts&Crafts’ debut public performance. They will both be using multiple instruments involving electronics, wind/brass, tape machines, percussion, and strings, recorded with analog gear to capture a rustic and imperfect sound that reflects the soul of the project.
Robyn Jacob – An Estuary; A Border
To listen to the full episode, tune in to CJSW Radio (90.9 FM or cjsw.com) on Wednesday, January 13 at 8:00 pm.
Robyn Jacob is a pianist, singer, composer and educator who lives and works on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples– Sḵwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səlíwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam) Nations. She writes, directs, and performs in Only A Visitor, an avant-pop quintet known for its complex arrangements, virtuosic musicianship, and thoughtful, compelling lyrical content. The band has released three albums to date. In 2019 Only A Visitor collaborated with Sound Designer and Producer Nancy Tam to create Double Happiness: Detour This Way, a multimedia theatre production exploring Chinese diaspora in Western Canada.
In her recent composition projects outside of Only A Visitor, Robyn has explored writing for unusual ensembles, as well as collaborations with visual artists and instrument makers. In 2020 she was commissioned by Little Chamber Music to write a piece for string orchestra, dedicated to the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The resulting composition, A World in Each, was performed by forty-two distanced and masked string players on August 6th, 2020, for an audience of two: Hiroshima survivor Sachi Komura Rummel and her husband, Charles.
In early 2020, Robyn celebrated the release of Earth Leaps Up, the first full-length album (on elsewhere music) from The Giving Shapes, Robyn’s collaborative duo with harpist and vocalist Elisa Thorn. Since 2012, Robyn has been part of the multi-disciplinary arts collective Publik Secrets, currently Artists-in-Residence at the Hadden Park Field House (in partnership with
the City of Vancouver). She is co-leader of Gamelan Bike Bike, a Vancouver-based Gamelan featuring instruments constructed from bicycle parts and other unconventional materials.
The Drop and The Turning is produced in partnership with New Works Calgary and CJSW Radio, and made possible with generous support from Calgary Arts Development and the Department of Canadian Heritage.