Monday 13 February 2023

Opera North's 2023 Resonance residences, genres from jazz and R&B to ambient, and rooted in traditional music from across Africa and Asia

Artists taking part in Opera North's Resonance residencies 2023
Artists taking part in Opera North's Resonance residencies 2023

Opera North has announced the latest round of Resonance residences, its programme for music-makers of colour working in all genres. Over the next two months, Rob Green, Ni Maxine, Babak Mirsalari, Madeline Shann, Kaviraj Singh and Marco Woolf will each spend a week at Opera North's central Leeds base, developing new ideas in workshops and work-in-progress performances. 

2023 marks the scheme's sixth year and several alumni have gone on to major commissions for Opera North’s mainstage; sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun is now the company’s artist in residence, with credits as composer, co-music director and soloist on last year’s cross-cultural opera Orpheus, whilst rapper and playwright Testament developed his acclaimed Orpheus in the Record Shop. 

  • Rob Green is a singer-songwriter from Nottingham who has been writing, performing and touring his music for over 10 years. In his residency he will blend spoken word and music to flow between tracks, and work with Leeds-based filmmakers and videographers to create a single-take visual document of his performance of acoustic songs exploring identity, masculinity and mental wellbeing.
  • Neo-jazz singer Ni Maxine will use Resonance to continue work on The Life Movement, her “space for expression and storytelling through music”. She will draw on her West African heritage, the legacy of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, and the power of storytelling in song.
  • Babak Mirsalari is an Iranian composer, collaborator and performer, working in genres as varied as contemporary and nu-jazz, progressive electronica, world fusion, post-rock and spacey ambient. He plans to bring his experience as an Iranian immigrant to bear upon his Resonance residency, using south-western Iranian rhythms to reflect on his childhood; his transition from Iran to northern England’s music scene; his years spent in the “maze” of Home Office bureaucracy in the UK; and finally the beautiful Yorkshire landscapes surrounding his new home in Hebden Bridge.
  • Madeline Shann works across music, dance, theatre, screen and live art, with a long cv of collaborations in each. "For the Resonance residency I will be returning to my collaboration with Xavier in a new project called Flood the Field”, says Madeline. “It’ll be an opportunity for me to branch out from my usual songwriting practice, and delve deep into the world of voice and sound, experimenting with layers, textures, structure and duration."
  • Santoor (hammered dulcimer) player and singer Kaviraj Singh shone among a stellar ensemble as the ferryman Charon/Caronte in Opera North and SAA-uk’s Orpheus in 2022. The only professional practitioner in the UK to combine santoor and vocals, he is also a trained sound engineer, and for Resonance he plans to bring all these skills together in developing a narrative about migration and nature.
  • Malawi-born, Manchester-based singer-songwriter, composer, and storyteller Marco Woolf grew up listening to his elders’ folk tales, and as a performer he weaves improvised stories and poetry into his sets. During his residency, Marco and collaborators will spend one day each concentrating on storytelling, music and dance, before two days with a dramaturg to help develop the narrative and creative language.

Full details from the Opera North website

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