Wednesday 17 October 2018, 7.30pm
Since 2005, pianist, vocalist, improviser, composer and founder of the Wild Silence label, Delphine Dora has discreetly published recordings on imprints such as Siren Wire, Abaton Book Company, Was Ist Das?, Fort Evil Fruit, Okraïna, Bezirk and Feeding Tube.
Her iconoclastic music, which translates her personal world into sound, is based on an idea of composition as a spontaneous process, nourished by a variety of approaches: poems and texts by the likes of Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath or Sarah Kane are set to music; songs at once both intimate and haunting are wrought from the aether (think about Sybille Baier or Maxine Funke); raw sketches melted into lost languages; free improvisations performed for piano and for various instruments; wild vocal experimentation explored… these provide the raw materials of Delphine’s unique compositions.
She has recently revisited along with Arlt singer Eloïse Decazes – and a good deal of exuberance – Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, written for Cathy Berberian; plunged to the bottom Mocke’s liquid guitar through thirteen delicate musical conversations, and – during the same period – summoned a shower of organ, percussions, electronic sounds, trombone and weird voices with experimentalist Sophie Cooper.
She has shared stage with artists among Liam Singer, Lau Nau, Josephine Foster, Baby Dee, Julia Holter, Marisa Anderson, James Blackshaw, Ashley Paul and performed in numerous venues and places in Europe at Cafe OTO (London, UK), EACC – Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló (Castellón, Spain), Uebel & Gefahrlich (Hamburg, Germany), Brotfabrik (Frankfurt, Germany), MK Gallery (Milton Keynes, UK), 5e (Copenhagen, Denmark) and some festival appearances including Le Guess Who / invitation by Julia Holter (Netherlands), Fanø Free Folk Festival (DK), Supernormal Festival (UK), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark).
In 2018, she has published Eudaimon on three:four records, which she considers as her first genuinely album and her most accomplished project to date.
"This is a sparse beauty. Eudaimon explores the magic and mysticism of Kathleen Raine‘s poetry in multi-tracked voice and unadorned piano. Delphine Dora‘s borrowed words melt in a melancholic sweetness, floating out on a mandolin of needled ivory. The Nico comparisons are hard to avoid, but Dora’s muse is less frost-damaged, eking a warm and inviting glow, like Finland’s Lau Nau or kuupu. A voice imbued with a magic that fireflies, flutters with forgotten faces, burns with an untutored uniqueness." — Freq
“Parisian pianist, vocalist and songwriter Delphine Dora forges a spectral partnership with poet Kathleen Raine. (...) This multiplicity of voices, coupled with her refusal to position herself as a singing proxy for the poet, is key to the success of Dora’s bold and potentially alienating interpretive vision. By stepping outside of this tradition, she opens up the highly personal symbolic realms of Raine’s words to more universal readings. And it seems to be an approach Raine would have understood: in Who Are We, where each consciousness is a leaf on the tree of life, music heard a thousand summers ago travels “through me and on, like a wave/Of sound, a gleam/ Irrecapturable” ” — The Wire Magazine (April 2018), Abi Bliss
”Dora’s ethereail, overlapping, sweedy melancholic vocals and cascading piano free Raine’s word to the page, investing them with a wild ecstatic fire” — Mojo, June 2018
London-based French composer Angèle David-Guillou makes audacious music that explores the interaction between rhythm and melody, structure and emotion, permanence and change. Writing for the piano, string and saxophone ensembles, voices and most recently the pipe organ, David-Guillou is particularly interested in how melodies create, rather than them emanate from, rhythm and structure. Influenced by Baroque music, Central European harmonies, ambient music and Minimalism, she weaves hypnotic compositions whose mutable internal architecture and shifting melodic accentuations immediately draw the listener in.
As a duo, Amy and Sylvia perform improvisatory settings of pieces inspired by the harrowing language of natural history texts, such as “you, the stingbearers”, based on Jean-Henri Fabre’s C19th chronicle of human desolation, The Life of the Fly. Amy and Sylvia's live compositions use instruments including viola, musical saw, and Russian vines from Sylvia's garden, while the lyrics draw on the dark sides of nature: from sea parasites to forensic botany to elegies based on Arctic bird migrations and Icelandic ballads. Their performances often invoke the figure of the unloved, and explore how narratives of exile, grief, or regret become attached to disquieting animals or places.
Sylvia Hallett is a multi-instrumentalist and composer whose ritualistic improvisations include “White Fog” and “The Onyx Rook”. Amy Cutler is an artist, filmmaker and poet who works on unsettling ideas of nature through live music and live cinema; she also makes films with Delphine Dora, with whom she is currently on tour, and is a doctor of GeoHumanities at Royal Holloway, University of London. www.sylviahallett.co.uk / www.amycutler.net