Six artists have been announced for the return of Opera North’s Resonance residencies this spring, the Leeds-based opera company has revealed.
Launched in 2017, Resonance offers time, space and resources to professional artists from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds working in any genre of music and based in the north of England. The programme will help the chosen artists to take their work in new directions and experiment with collaborators and new ideas.
Hull-based British-Egyptian mezzo-soprano Camille Maalawy will bring the traditions of Arabic song and western opera together, informed by her professional experience which ranges from opera, oratorio, lieder and contemporary composition to Arabic and Sephardic traditional song.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be part of Resonance 2020,” commented Camille. “Being awarded the time and space to explore the possibility of fusing Arabic and Western classical song is such a wonderful opportunity for me to delve more deeply into my cultural heritage.”
Born in South Africa and now living in Manchester, award-winning cellist Abel Selaocoe will work on original solo music for cello that reimagines or is influenced by different stringed instruments from the African continent, including the gonji (Ghanaian violin), the berimbau, a single-string percussion instrument, the West African kora and the Ghanaian kologo lute.
Pariss Elektra is a Leeds-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer working with a blend of nu-jazz, neo-soul, and New Age music. Her work in progress is The Velvet Room, a live music performance triptych that features her band, Pariss & The Presence. She said: “I’m excited to see an idea that I have had since I began my singer-songwriter career take shape.”
Sheffield-based composer, vocalist and film-maker Dan Loops will continue his journey into theatre-making with the lives of three characters – a rapper, a poet and an actor – charted through an overlapping combination of hip-hop, acoustic and classical score. “My Resonance residency will give me the chance to explore musical storytelling further in the form of a new theatre show loosely based on my life,” he said.
“The resulting show will play with form, and follow the intertwining stories of three distinct characters, whose narratives will be mirrored by their musical journeys, culminating in an exciting clash of genre, styles and perceptions.”
Leeds-based tabla player, producer and educator Bhupinder Chaggar will develop his unique vision for a coming together of Indian classical kathak dance, tap dance, percussion and electronic production. Also from Leeds, writer-director Omari Swanston-Jeffers will develop a narrative centred on music, dance and community. 3NEGUS stages the story of three young men, Azizi, Lara and Kareem, through their struggles to bring up a baby, keep a roof over their heads and stay in full-time education.
Jo Nockels, head of projects at Opera North, said: “As Resonance comes into its third year, it has been wonderful to build longer-term working relationships with some of the artists involved, both here at Opera North and further afield, by supporting them to access other opportunities. This year’s group of artists is inventive, ambitious and eclectic and we are really looking forward to getting started.”
Pariss Elektra will use her Resonance residency to expand her approach to performance with visuals and set.