FIKA, the critically-acclaimed new release by Elysian Fields (Australia’s only electric viola da gamba band) will have its official live launch with two performances on Sunday 1 November at Mary’s Underground, Circular Quay (formerly The Basement) as a proud participant in the Sydney Women’s International Jazz Festival.
The ten-day festival starting 30 October also features live music from Mahalia Barnes, Gai Bryant, Melody Riviera and many more, as well as Brazilian bossa-nova singer and nylon string guitarist Anna Setton streaming in from São Paulo.
Other festival venues include Foundry616, Joynton Ave Creative Centre, the Australian Institute of Music and Venue 505.
A big crowd gathered last Sunday afternoon for the performance of Elysian Fields, an off-shoot from the Marais Project created by Artistic Director Jenny Eriksson, composer / pianist Matt McMahon and Sax-specialist Matt Keegan. Being a part of the infamous “A Prelude in Tea” series at The Independent Theatre drew many regular sweet tooth subscribers to the large cake buffet but, there were plenty of new faces attending as well.
The stage featured a unique mix of classic contemporary band instruments (drums, bass, sax and keys) mixed with violin and Eriksson’s stunning electric viola da gamba. The ensemble took a relaxed meander through a diverse program from re-arranged folk songs, jazz and new works. The starring piece was a World Premier written especially for the group “I dreamed I moved among the Elysian Fields” based on a poem of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Edna St Vincent Millay. The composer Gordon Kerry is much in demand in the classical music world and was there to read the poem before his composition began. The piece flowed in a dream like creation expertly interpreted by singer Suzie Bishop and was very well received. Continue reading ELYSIAN FIELDS : A SINGULAR PATH→
To say the least, an electric viola da gamba is an uncommon instrument. Consequently, I had little preconception of what Thursday’s CD launch would entail. The simple answer is that it is all about exceptionally creative and innovative music and extraordinarily skilful performers that display their considerable talents with complex and intriguing compositions.
Jenny Eriksson’s electric viola da gamba is at the heart of Elysian Fields and she is joined by the impressive contributors: pianist Matt McMahon, saxophonist Matt Keegan, vocalist and violinist Susie Bishop, bass guitarist Siebe Pogson and Dave Goodman on drums. Their diverse backgrounds might seem at odds but it is fascinating how the classical, baroque, jazz and folk sensibilities can complement each other when the compositions, arrangements and skills of the musicians are all of such a high standard. The delicate interplay of styles and the impeccable harmonies are some of the features that make this unlikely mixture very entertaining and enriching. Continue reading ELYSIAN FIELDS CD LAUNCH @ THE FOUNDRY→
A most enchanting concert, strikingly combining Baroque and contemporary musical styles. Evergreen Ensemble’s SNOW IN SUMMER at the Independent was part of the theatre’s delicious Prelude in Tea series and launches their CD of the same title. Some of but not all the tracks of the CD were played in the concert.
Evergreen Ensemble combines three female musicians from Melbourne – Shane Lestideau (baroque violin), SamanthaCohen (theorbo and baroque guitar), Claire Patti (Celtic harp and voice) together with Sydney viola da gamba virtuoso Jenny Eriksson. There was wonderful, intense rapport between the ensemble who obviously greatly performing together.
The concert began with the pulsating Twist Ye, Twine Ye & Blooms Like Stars .Twist Ye, Twine Ye was learnt by Lestideau, from the great Australian fiddler, Chris Duncan. It forms the introduction to Blooms Like Stars which was composed over the famous La Folia ground bass.It is an aching lament , led by the violin , with ominous rumbles on the electric viola da gamba. Continue reading EVEREGREEN ENSEMBLE SNOW IN SUMMER INDEPENDENT THEATRE→
The tension between master and student is a complex and fascinating one as the upcoming generation learns from, and sometimes pits themselves against, the established leaders of their field.
The famous French novel and film Tous les matins de monde (All the mornings of the world) which starred the legendary actor Gérard Depardieu and featured virtuoso viola da gambist Jordi Savall on the sound track, is an acutely sensitive, fictional exploration of the relationship between two great artists: Marin Marais, after whom The Marais Project is named, and his distinguished mentor, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. The latter was a composer, teacher and innovator without peer, while the former became known as perhaps the greatest viola da gambist of all time. Adding spice to the mix was a “love triangle” between Sainte-Colombe’s two musician daughters and the ambitious Marais. Continue reading THE MARAIS PROJECT 2016 CONCERT 1 : MASTER AND PUPIL @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE→
It’s not often that a totally new instrument enters the Sydney improvised music scene but in what is believed to be a local and a national first, band leader Jenny Eriksson is proud to launch Elysian Fields featuring the electric viola da gamba and a star line up of local jazz artists including: Matt Keegan, Matt McMahon and Steve Elphick.
Eriksson is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading acoustic viola da gambists – a 7 string, bowed instrument about the size of a cello with frets – and one of her instruments great risk-takers. She has performed and recorded with jazz and world music artists for many years alongside, and as a part of, her highly regarded classical chamber music performances. Continue reading Elysian Fields – Australia’s first electric viola da gamba band→
Founded in 2000, The Marais Project recently turned 15, and each year presents Early Music with a number of highly regarded concerts making it Australia’s longest continuously running “viola da gamba” ensemble.
2014 is a special year for viola da gambist, Jenny Eriksson as her group The Marais Project celebrates 15 years of continuous operation. The theme for The Marais Project’s anniversary year is Re-imaginings, which is also the title of their final concert for 2014.