We the pacific

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The Pacific as a peace force is a powerful idea for me: an oceanic body named for its energetic flow and Activist potential where others are known only for their territory.

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This month I am exploring pacifism and carriage in a devised piece for The Joy Offensive ocean. I will conduct Ruthless Jabiru in Liza Lim Gothic, one of six mixed media performances considering the UK’s ethical and social intersections with the Asia Pacific.

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We meet the humanity of ocean in the ujjayi breath: the great regulator and bringer of prana, dissolver of fear, stress and battle armour, carrier of treasures and toxins. We open our bodies to the ocean spirit and are unlocked; healed and polished by its wave rhythms. And yet- why do we feel humanised when we should feel humbled? Why so blinded by our supremacy?

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The biosphere makes its appeal: a borderless Gothic temple to the salty gods but we still resist the antiphon. So confounded are we by our socalled needs, we forget we too can be pacific.

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This is a timely project for me: a thought study towards Ruthless Jabiru’s next major programme honouring tidal forces. The long-awaited premiere of Andrew Ford’s orchestral song cycle The Drowners will sit alongside works by Nicole Lizée, Rosalind Page, Wolfgang Rihm and Fausto Romitelli. But for now, ocean.

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Kelly Lovelady, conductor

Originally posted at Meet the Artist:

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Who or what inspired you to take up conducting and pursue a career in music?
Conducting felt inevitable for me as a teenager: a natural evolution despite my oblivion at the time to everything it would eventually entail! The realisation was unceremonious- not really a dream or desire but a moment of clarity. I was lucky to find my two conducting teachers in the years that followed and both continue to mentor me almost 18 years on.

Who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?
I think my tastes and philosophies are largely the result of producing my own work. When you find yourself responsible for every detail you start to reconsider the possibilities. If your self Continue reading

Refuelling: Ethics in cultural sponsorship

Originally posted at Musochat:

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Host: Kelly Lovelady (@KellyLovelady)

How do we perpetuate our projects in austerity conditions? Should we dull our originality and politics to attract commercial branding and government grants? Fossil fuel companies are buying into our performance venues to bury their social and environmental crimes. Can the uprising towards an oil-free cultural sector start with us: the artists?

I’ve called a session on refuelling- ideas of powering, nourishing, sustaining ourselves, our projects, audiences and comrades #Musochat
— Kelly Lovelady (@KellyLovelady) March 20, 2017

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On International Women’s Day – Meet Ruthless Jabiru

Originally posted at Artisan Accounts:

Template.jpgAs part of our endeavor to support International Women’s Day we begged some of our most inspiring female clients to contribute a blog: here Kelly Lovelady from the inimitable Ruthless Jabiru explores change and power.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that ye olde worlde of conducting is overwhelmingly male. The pride and prejudice of the orchestral podium is, to collate the many confounded observations I’ve collected over the years, a beaming anomaly even to those with little or no concert-going experience.

Gender biases in so-called “classical” music are ultimately borne of a performance ritual which reveres and respects its own history so deeply that it continues to perpetuate the quirks of concert culture as it stood in its infancy almost 200 years ago.
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Celebrity Soft Spot Kelly Lovelady

Originally posted at Noted:

Template.jpgKelly Lovelady is a Perth girl now based in London where she is founder and artistic director of the Australian orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. She drinks tea with Sir Colin Davis, conducts concerts for Greenpeace and lives in a house boat on a canal. This is someone you need to know about!

What music gets your heart racing?
I do a lot of different types of listening these days. Sometimes I’m listening to the musicians, sometimes the repertoire, the interpretation, the program, the chemistry, the venue, the sound of a composer, the sound of an instrument, the strength of a piece, the impact of a conductor, the list goes on. My ear responds differently to music I know well compared to something I’m hearing for the first time. I do get excited about discovering new composers and their music. At the moment I can’t get enough of Counterstream Radio which is the online Continue reading

Answers on a postcard

Last month the first anniversary of Peter Sculthorpe’s passing quietly slipped by. Some of you may remember back in 2012 when Peter accepted my commission to write a collection of miniatures for my chamber orchestra Ruthless Jabiru. Although Postcards from Jabiru was never completed, Peter’s sketches for the piece still leave us with something rich – his own impression of where we should go from here.

Peter spoke to me years ago of the gentle jabiru and its mesmeric leggy gait but through this project I think he wanted me to see the duality of Jabiru – as equally a pin in the map, a land, a people, a place from which postcards are sent – and a conversation starter about open pit uranium mining within Kakadu.

I often think we could do worse than to reconnect with some of our words. A wise friend taught me this year that the job of the humanities is to communicate the specific humanity of a place; to create the space of humility abandoned by politics and that true contextualisation is to find empathy with both sides. 

For me, a culture is a living cell we hothouse under the microscope. Currency is a tender of presentness. To play is to improvise on ritual. And cultural Activism is a creative genre: a projection, an alternative, an Active reimagining of a landscape to light a firecracker under its audience. My programmes are about exploring these stories, using the music of today’s composers to trigger the ideas, struggles and victories relevant to us here and now. Peter’s sketches leave us with glimpses of the truths of Jabiru’s land and life that he thought we should stand up and fight for. Recast from a bird’s eye view, trailing off into empty bars, the ear leads our imagination.

I’ve launched a crowdfunder to support a unique realisation of Postcards from Jabiru here in London in late 2015. My programme will reflect Sculthorpe’s palette and his quiet engagement as a cultural Activist in music of Kaija Saariaho, Liza Lim, Eugene Birman and John Luther Adams. I appeal to your generosity in bringing this project to fruition in Peter’s memory – no contribution too small!