WA creative collective Curate is smashing structures and expanding the concert experience.
Responding to overwhelming demands to pivot since COVID-19 reached Australia’s shores, Curate is making music more accessible with exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and lunchtime live-streamed performances with collaborating musicians.
Gigs and shows are increasingly happening online around the world, and Curate is using this opportunity to expand the concert-going experience.
Thanks to funding from the City of Subiaco’s community development grant program, Curate is partnering with a variety of musical performers. Starting 31 July, Curate is offering six weeks of behind-the-scenes interviews and demos with collaborating musicians, and a full length, live-streamed concert on 11 September.
Curate’s collaborators are following the Doctrine of Affections: music that moves the audience. Performing sir William Leighton’s ‘The tears or lamentations of a sorrowful soul’ (from 1614) it’s a set of Renaissance and early Baroque Elizabethan music and song.
While Western Australia is enjoying easing restrictions, current east coast outbreaks show Phase 5 is uncertain, and another lockdown is possible. Because music is a critical factor in sustaining people’s mental health and overall wellbeing during difficult times, Curate is providing music as a necessary service.
Andrew Tait is a member of Perth Viol Consort, collaborating with Curate on the lunchtime sessions, and is passionate about Perth’s arts.”Music brings people together. It’s a socialising force, giving them an emotional outlet,” Tait says.
“The Gurrumul concert opening the Perth Festival, Bunggul, was a compelling piece of work,” he says. “Bringing together themes about modern life, a way of musically expressing a path forward that we are dealing with in contemporary Australian society, in terms of racism and forming a cultural language.”
“Because it was a collaboration between Aboriginal culture and Western art there were a whole lot of art forms – including storytelling, dancing, and music, all put together in a way that expressed a new form of cultural identity, encapsulating a reconciliation and a path forward.”
Tait plays bass viol in the Perth Viol Consort and says he is “excited for the opportunity” to perform this Elizabethan music as part of Curate’s lunchtime sessions.
“This music was written in the first part of the 17th century, when the Bubonic plague was kicking around Europe (1348 – 1665),” Tait says. “It’s worth thinking about, alongside the question of arts and health pandemics, mainly since the arts are so poorly supported right now.
“Music is a part of what we do. It occurs to me that what I find appealing about that particular musical period is the flowering of that Renaissance expression, suppressed during Cromwell’s time. It was one of those particular moments in history, and we’re going back to that oppressive phase.”
Curate’s director, Patricia Alessi, says “Our lunchtime events are strengthening the community and significantly contributing to its health and wellbeing.
“With these live-streamed events, we’re ensuring the community’s identity and local history is continued and celebrated, and that it remains accessible and inclusive for everyone: anyone with an internet connection can access these virtual performances.
“Curate is providing a much-needed service to currently isolated communities: music and social interactions that help to broaden the range of opportunities available, and all at a safe social distance.”
Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, only small groups can perform together – with musicians relying on the opportunities to keep in touch with others in their profession.
Alessi says Curate’s goal is to lift the community and continue its great public art tradition in the face of a worldwide crisis.
“We shall overcome, and we know that music and the arts will be an important player in our success as a community,” Alessi says.