Wednesday 30 June 2021, 7.30pm
Dramatic soprano, composer and improvising vocalist Alya Al-Sultani joins experimental turntablist and composer Mariam Rezaei for their debut duo performance at Cafe Oto. Eschewing stereotypes, they will warp and weave elements of opera, hiphop, noise and free improv together. Both Al-Sultani and Rezaei will playing with Middle Eastern poetry, vocal improv and instrumental samples in a free-form collaboration that will push at the boundaries of two turntables and one microphone.
Award-winning experimental composer Cassandra Miller is known for her large-scale orchestral works with the likes of Charles Curtis, Plus-Minus and BBC SSO. In this rare live performance, Miller will improvise solo, moving between vocals and instruments. This special performance will be luminous and promises to unveil more of the profoundly beautiful music that we love from Miller.
Experimental composer, performer and visual artist Amy Cutler will perform across musical mediums. Her delicate mixture of reductionism, experimental electronics, found sounds and ethereal vocals make up her gorgeously unique sound palette. Fresh from the release of her new album ’the ends (also end) of (the)earth and variants’, Cutler will perform live with multiple instruments and experimental vocals.
Alya Al-Sultani is a vocalist and composer based in London, UK. Her first musical experiences were Iraqi folk songs sung by her great grandmother and radio broadcasts of Um Kolthum, Abdel-Halim and Fairouz which she listened to with her family while drinking sweet black tea infused with cardamom. After leaving Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, her family settled in Tottenham, North London where she began to discover the incredible new sounds of the 80s and music from the Caribbean.
Her musical education was entirely classically-focussed, on piano and voice. She learned the importance of technique, tradition, theory, respecting fellow musicians and respecting the music. But she did not learn freedom and it is this she has sought for the last decade. The pursuit of freedom in music is driven by her aesthetic, her immigrant experience and her Eastern feminism.
Apart from working on her own projects, Alya enjoys debuting new music for contemporary composers and experimenting with opera, including the integration of improvisation techniques, microtonal ideas and Eastern influences.
Mariam Rezaei is an award winning composer, turntablist and performer. She leads experimental arts project TOPH in Newcastle. (repeater-radio.com/swarm) TOPH curate a regular series of concerts along with an annual TUSK FRINGE for TUSK Festival. (tuskfestival.com) . Her newest releases include ’SKEEN' on Fractal Meat Cuts (fractalmeat.bandcamp.com/album/skeen), ‘The End of The World…Finally’ with Sam Goff on Cacophonous Revival Recordings ( cacophonousrevivalrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-end-of-the-world-finally) and ‘Veil’, a collaboration with Stephen Bishop on TUSK Editions/Opal Tapes (tuskfestival.bandcamp.com/album/veil).
Mariam presents a podcast on contemporary turntablism called ‘These Are The Breaks…’ and is guest DJ on’ Radical Scotland’ by Stewart Smith, both on repeater-radio.com. ‘BOWN’, the third album in the triptych ‘BLUD : SKEEN : BOWN,’ is due for release, late 2021.
Recent notable works include; ‘Wolf’s Tail : II’ for Archipel Festival, April 2021. ‘Paradoxes’, West Den Haag, 2021. ‘Our Whites’, Tectonics Virtual 2021. Duos with Cath Tyler and Stephen Bishop for TUSK VIRTUAL 2020 and BBC Radio 3 Late Stages, Oct and Nov 2020. BBC Radio Freeness ’SKEEN’, July 2020. ‘AGENCY-SKEEN’, AMPLIFY 2020. ‘The 42 Mirrors of Narcissus’ TUSK Festival 2019. ‘Wolf’s Tail’ HCMF 2019. ’TOP///‘ at Tectonics Mosaic/Cresc. Festival 2018, Wiesbaden, for Ilan Volkov, and Ensemble Modern.
Cassandra Miller (b.1976) is a Canadian composer currently living in England. Her cello concerto written for the Tectonics Festival, the cellist Charles Curtis and the BBC Scottish Symphony directed by Ilan Volkov was hailed as an “unexpected highlight of the festival” (Tempo), whilst her chamber work Bel Canto received the 2011 Jules-Léger Prize for New Chamber Music, Canada’s highest honour for composition. From 2010 to 2013, Miller was the artistic director of Innovations en concert in Montreal.