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'of The Brilliant And The Dark' Ellen Southern And Ensemble

Sun 20 November 2011 // 14:30

Support from Fiona McAlister and Nichola Richards

(Sun 20th Nov / 2:30 – 4:00pm / £4.00 or £3.50 cons on the door)

Enter a haunting world of atmospheric vocal harmonies in this début song-cycle by former Bristol based artist-turned-vocalist, Ellen Southern. Weaving together entrancing music and visuals, the piece transports the audience through a collective life-cycle ‘embroidered’ together though song, and encompassing wide musical influences from early polyphony to trip-hop. This highly original ensemble is made up of female vocalists, double bass, guitar, flute and percussion, which features a bellow-powered drone and pitched glasses.
Of The Brilliant And The Dark’ was composed response to an invitation by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White to create a creative commons licensed manuscript remixing the original 1969 score ‘The Brilliant and the Dark’ for a project at the Women's Library, Aldgate, in September 2010. Also invited to re-work the original was Gaggle, and both resulting pieces were performed at the Library.

The original Women’s Institute commissioned opera, until then forgotten in obscurity, was performed 42 years ago by 1000 volunteer female voices at the Royal Albert Hall. Simpson and White also assembled and projected photographic documentation of the original performance and costumes, which visually inspired Southern’s own projection and headpieces, featuring the singers, or ‘The Embroiderers’, in a thematically related archetypal visual poem.

Ellen Southern’s original ‘remix’ score, from which this performance grew, will be available at the performance for artists and musicians to take away and further re-invent.

"Of The Brilliant and The Dark walks an impressive tightrope line
between modernist classical composition, folk, improvisation and ambient. One might hear shades of Morricone one minute, Benjamin Britten the next, the piece’s restless musical journey encompassing an enormous range of textures, styles and moods all within the space of its thirty minute running time. In an age when the ersatz and the commercial are the dominant idioms (rather than) any concerns with the spirituality or meaning of music, artists with singular vision, and tenacity in realising that vision, are to be applauded. Southern has a vision…artfully mixing music old and new, in the search for a music that both expresses inner truth as it challenges the ear. Brilliant and dark indeed." David Solomons, http://freq.org.uk

Voices: Fiona McAlister, Ellen O’Driscoll, Namvula Rennie, Nichola Richards, Holly Anne Rolfe, Ellen Southern and Kelly Thompson. Instrumentalists: Tom Bush (guitar), Adel Sahnoun (flute), Alex Scatturo (double bass)

Digital download now available
More info: http://www.ellensouthern.co.uk