The return of The Tune In Festival will feature more than 30 artists and ensembles over four days, coming together to pay respect to the time-honored tradition of music and poetry as sources of resilience, protest and inspiration. Curated by performance poet J. Ivy and pianist Lisa Kaplan in close collaboration with CAP UCLA Creative Advisor Kristy Edmunds. Day Two of the festival features the work of Karim Sulayman, the Furies, Eighth Blackbird, Julia Wolfe and Mariee Sioux.
Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman is the 2018 Best Classical Solo Vocal GRAMMY® winner for his debut solo album, Songs of Orpheus. He has garnered international attention as a sophisticated and versatile artist. He is consistently praised for his sensitive musicianship, riveting stage presence, and beautiful voice. His latest album, Where Only Stars Can Hear Us: Schubert Songs, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart and was included in The New York Times’ Best Classical Music of 2020.
Continuing their pandemic collaboration, Sulayman and Eighth Blackbird members Lisa Kaplan and Matthew Duvall are joined for this performance by renowned oud player and multi-instrumentalist Ronnie Malley. Sulayman curates a short program which highlights the intersections of Latin American, Spanish and Arabic music. From Argentinian composers like Gustavo Santaolalla and Atahualpa Yupanchi to Egyptian songwriter Sayed Darwish and Lebanese superstar Fairuz (based on the music of Spaniard Joaquin Rodrigo), each song delivers a message of love: romantic love; a love for one's culture; for one's fellow humans; for one’s work; and the proud, fierce and unwavering love of home. These artists send a message of solidarity with the struggles and joys of humanity worldwide.
The Furies is a contemporary violin duo whose mission is to bring intersectional feminism into the concert hall through immersive performance experiences. They work to educate audiences about the histories of women and encourage them to demand more diverse programming from their musical institutions. The Furies draw from elements of theatre and performance art, developing an interdisciplinary approach. Not ones to limit themselves to their primary instruments, the duo perform and arrange works incorporating singing, speaking, percussion and electronics.
Beginning with a question, “Did he promise you tomorrow?,” their Tune In program encompasses human history, starting with our nomadic ancestors looking to the night sky with wonder. It then fast forwards a few millennia, with a worksong passed down orally from women harvesting cacao in Ilhéus, Bahia (Brazil), still sung to this day. This highlights the way culture has been carried forward by women: worksongs, which were initially used to comfort and distract during a hard day’s work, end up representing entire civilizations, of which women become the guardians. The program ends with a postlude offering hopeful advice.
"Singing in the Dead of Night"
By Julia Wolfe
Filmed in Chicago (8/18-20/2021)
"Singing in the Dead of Night," written specifically for the performers of Eighth Blackbird, conjures images of the primordial void from which creation takes form. Composer Julia Wolfe says the piece is inspired by “the still and surreal experience of being the only one awake. Out of silence often comes inspiration — finding one’s way to human song, a symphony of sound.” Eighth Blackbird percussionist and Artistic Director Matthew Duvall describes it more bluntly as “a brutally emotional tidal wave. Art takes us where linear thinking cannot.” The co-founder of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can, Julia Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. According to The Wall Street Journal, Wolfe's music has "long inhabited a terrain of its own, a place where classical forms are recharged by the repetitive patterns of minimalism and the driving energy of rock". In addition to receiving the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music, Wolfe was a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, received the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in Music and was named Musical America’s 2019 Composer of the Year.
Mariee Sioux was raised in a small gold mining town in Northern California and is of Indigenous and Polish Hungarian ancestry. She prefers to be known as an abstract storyteller, and a voice for the natural world and trials of humanity through song. Growing up with a father in a bluegrass band, she was exposed to melody, harmony, and the way music brought community together since childhood. She deeply values the medicinal qualities of music and believes that gathering to share her songs serves a healing purpose. Her finger picking guitar has been compared to Nick Drake and Bert Jansch, while her high ethereal voice bends in realms of the sacred and aches with haunting sensitivity.
The Tune In Festival is supported by a generous gift from composer Rachel Fuller (Animal Requiem) and musician Pete Townshend (The Who). Additional funds provided by the Henry Mancini Tribute Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant Endowment.