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Resonance 2022: Meet the Artists

We’re excited to announce the five lead artists who will develop new work at residencies in Leeds over the next three months in this year’s Resonance programme.

Part of PRS Foundation’s Talent Development Partnership supported by PPL, Resonance was launched in 2017 to offer professional musicians and composers from minority ethnic backgrounds working in any genre the opportunity to develop new ideas, to collaborate with performers from other disciplines, and to take their work in new directions.

Azizi Cole

Born and raised in Handsworth, Birmingham, Azizi is an accompanist at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. During his Resonance residency he’ll develop his multidisciplinary work Body Clock, which employs the body as an instrument to compose and perform music as well as to dance, using microphones to amplify the composition. He will collaborate with NSCD alumna Shahada Nantaba and London-based dance artist Issac Ouro-Gnao, with costumes by Jamaican-born, Chapeltown-based seamstress Audrey Mae.

Azizi Cole

Naomi Perera

York-based flautist Naomi uses electronics and alternative performance contexts to radically expand the possibilities of her instrument. She’ll work with award-winning saxophonist, improviser, producer and composer Lara Jones on an album detailing the experiences of female music-makers in their own words and performance. Naomi and Lara will improvise around recordings of each musician’s playing together with their oral testimony, assembling a soundscape of flutes and electronics in response. The completed album will give voice to the stories of women who are under-represented and routinely discriminated against in the music industry.

Arian Sadr

Manchester-based Persian percussionist Arian will develop The Wind, a work in three movements exploiting the extraordinary range of sounds produced by the daf (circular frame drum) and the tonbak (goblet drum), to reflect the journeys and upheavals of his life. “I am so pleased and excited to be part of the Resonance project”, says Arian. “This is a unique opportunity for me to share my musical ideas with the open-minded musicians of the Orchestra of Opera North, to experiment together, and to record the outcome”.

Hannabiell Sanders

Hailing from New Jersey and currently based in Newcastle, composer, bass trombonist, percussionist and mbira player Hannabiell will weave storytelling, visuals, electronics and percussion through the music of her duet with Yilis del Carmen Suriel, Ladies of Midnight Blue.  “The residency will allow me to continue exploring the different ways in which Ladies of Midnight Blue can tell stories through our music by adding electronics and visuals”, says Hannabiell. “I will co-create a portable stage set with Yilis and the artist James Davoll that will add a new visual experience for our audiences, and we’ll use the residency to practice with it and test out its capabilities”.

Mendi Mohinder Singh

Picking up the tabla at the age of three was the first step in a career that would take Mendi around the world, performing with artists ranging from Peter Gabriel to Take That. Offstage, the percussionist has delivered educational workshops for Birmingham charity Sampad for over 20 years. For Resonance, he will work with four visually impaired people via Leeds BID Services, creating a new body of music that will bring his tabla together with electronics, the sounds of everyday objects, and the rhythms and voices of his collaborators. Mendi hopes that his project will unlock the power of the imagination in music-making, allowing people without specialist training, or even conventional instruments, to take part in a beneficial artistic exchange.

From the end of February, each artist 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 each project, and a work in progress performance or live stream.

Jo Nockels, Projects Director, Opera North, comments:

“It is fantastic to welcome another group of artists to spend time developing their ideas and trying out new areas of work here at Opera North. While they come from vastly differing musical backgrounds, this year’s artists share a concern with contemporary experiences, and the primacy of rhythm and percussion. With collaborators ranging from sight-impaired, non-professional musicians, to dancers and players from Opera North’s own Orchestra, we can’t wait to share what happens next!”

The Resonance scheme has been enabled by Opera North’s membership of the PRS Foundation’s network of Talent Development Partners, supported by PPL. The UK’s leading funder of new music and talent development, PRS Foundation supports organisations working at the frontline of talent development with a broad range of individual music creators. This reflects PRS Foundation’s commitment to supporting composers and songwriters of all backgrounds and genres, through direct investment or by helping organisations which nurture artists and promote their music.


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