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Resonance 2021 artists announced

We’re excited to announce four lead artists selected to develop new work in this year’s Resonance programme for minority ethnic music-makers, supported by PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partnership.

Azizi Cole

Raised in Handsworth, Birmingham and now based in Leeds, Azizi is an accompanist at Northern School of Contemporary Dance. During his Resonance residency he will develop his multidisciplinary piece, Body Clock, which employs the body as an instrument to compose and perform music as well as to dance, using rhythmic techniques and technology in the form of microphones placed around and underneath the performance space. He will collaborate with NSCD alumni Akeim Toussaint Buck and Chris Radford, with costumes by Jamaican-born, Chapeltown-based seamstress Audrey Mae.

“During these challenging and turbulent times for the arts, it’s vital for us to maintain our sense of creativity”, says Azizi. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge and skills with some truly talented artists.”

Supriya Nagarajan

Vocalist, composer and Artistic Director of the Dewsbury-based South Asian arts organisation Manasamitra, Supriya will work with the distinctive and rich tradition of Tamil poetry and music, a heritage that she shares with Sri Lankan-born poet and translator Shash Trevett.

“With COVID disrupting our routine as artists and changing the way we work, Shash and I have had many discussions about going back to our cultural roots and exploring our identities through art”, says Supriya. “We will use the Resonance residency to create four new musical works based on the ancient South Indian Tamil poetic metre, the Yappu.”

José Guillermo Puello

A composer from the Dominican Republic now based in Manchester, José will explore the process of constructing an identity through music, soundscapes and performance. He will work with poet and playwright Zodwa Nyoni, winner of Channel 4 Playwrights’ Scheme and former Artist in Residence at Leeds Playhouse, and Isobel Algar, who performs as a clown under the name Miserabel.

“With so much talent and so many great ideas, competition for any artistic opportunity is fierce”, says José. “I was surprised, and obviously delighted, to find out that I had been selected for Resonance 2021. Identity has always been a part of my compositional practice and the idea for Persona has been simmering for a couple of years. It’s great to have the time and space to explore different ideas and reflect how the concept of identity has evolved since we first conceived this project.”

Keisha Thompson

The Manchester-based writer, performance artist and producer will work with singer Yvonne Shelton and musician, sound designer and poet Xana to develop the musical component of her new play, which has been commissioned by Eclipse Theatre, York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre.

“The Bell Curves looks at the ethics of DNA hacking technology”, Keisha explains. “It juggles big themes like religion, politics, scientific experimentation and how that interacts with the Afro-Caribbean, LGBTQ+ and disabled communities. I want to use sound and song to communicate the emotional elements of the story. I want to know what happens when you put gospel song, scientific language and field recordings into a petri-dish. How will it grow?” 

The four lead artists will receive a week of free rehearsal space in central Leeds, a grant of up to £3,500 to cover fees for those involved and other costs, and support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists. There are also options for a short film to document the project, and a work in progress performance or live stream.

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