Working in genres from folk, jazz and soul to electronic club and improvisation, and rooted in traditional music from across Africa and Asia, Ellen Beth Abdi, Balraj Samrai, Rory A GreenJonas Jones, and Satnam Galsian have been announced as the latest artists to be awarded an Opera North Resonance residency starting later this month.

Resonance offers time, space, and resources to professional music-makers from the Global Majority, working in any genre and based in the north of England. It seeks to develop talent by enabling them to take their work in new directions, to experiment with collaborators and fresh ideas, and to try out the results in front of audiences. Each artist spends a week in Leeds, with the sole remit of exploring a project of their choice in workshops and work-in-progress performances. Resonance is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner supported by PPL.

Marking its seventh year in 2024, the scheme already boasts an impressive legacy: several alumni, including Testament and Hannabiell Sanders, have gone on to secure major commissions, sitarist Jasdeep Singh Degun is Opera North’s current Artist in Residence following his work as composer, co-music director and soloist on the acclaimed cross-cultural opera Orpheus, while Abel Selaocoe, a 2020 Resonance recipient, composed the popular Leeds As You Are soundwalk as part of LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture.

This year’s lead artists are set to use their musical talents to explore issues such as social justice, race, identity, gender, migration and how the past continues to impact the present.

Ellen Beth Abdi

A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, singer and multi-instrumentalist, Ellen Beth Abdi has toured across Europe and recently completed her debut album. Ellen will be taking up her Resonance residency at the end of January.

An exponent of electronic soul with a social conscience, she will use her time at Opera North to develop an idea that explores gender, race, class, Afrofuturism and how elements of the past continue to linger and haunt us in the future, particularly when considered through the lens of Black feminism. Keen to incorporate other art-forms in her work, Ellen aims to invite dancers to respond to her musical narrative.

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Ellen Beth Abdi

Balraj Samrai

Balraj Samrai is a musician, DJ, facilitator and co-founder of Swing Ting and SEEN Magazine. Balraj originally worked with Opera North as part of the Resonance Lockdown Edition in 2020 combining South Asian sounds with electronic sonics.

In June last year, he released his debut album reflecting on the experience of first-generation Punjabis in the UK who were denied the chance to travel until their senior years. Balraj is keen to explore these themes further, turning the spotlight on the complexity of migrant experiences. Collaborating largely with other artists from Global Majority backgrounds, he hopes to adapt his residency project for live ensemble settings and compose new works featuring live and electronic sounds.

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Balraj Samrai. Photo credit Hark1karan

Rory A Green

Born in Ghana and raised in Manchester, Rory A Green is a guitarist and songwriter who cites his major influences as jazz, West African music and improvisation.

Rory is looking to spend his residency developing a project on multi-heritage backgrounds and individual experiences of being mixed race. By focussing on the performer’s interpretation of music and working in a largely improvisational way, Rory aims to compose music that will underscore a collection of stories, poetry, photography and recorded interviews to shine a light on the problems and hurdles that mixed race people face in society.

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Rory A Green

Jonas Jones

Jonas Jones, who has written and produced music under the name Stolen Velour for the last three years, was discovered online by the Dirty Hit record label when he was just 18 years old. Delving into the esoteric realms of the online experimental club scene, his sonic journey revolves around sound design, genre-bending and digital aesthetics.

Of East African and mixed white heritage, Jonas will use his residency to shift his focus from music production to songwriting in the hope that, in so doing, he will inspire other people, especially those of mixed heritage or with complex identities, to be themselves and share their stories without fear.

Listen to Jonas

Jonas Jones

Satnam Galsian

A British Asian folk singer based in Leeds, Satnam Galsian is interested in the interplay between the North Indian and western music traditions and portrayals of women in Punjabi folklore.

Satnam will be using her Resonance residency to challenge pre-conceived notions about women’s roles in Punjabi folklore through a feminist retelling of Mirza-Sahiban, a tragic love story from the Indian subcontinent. By reimagining the tale through song, she is looking to challenge pre-conceived notions and cultural expectations around women’s roles in South Asian culture.

Listen to Satnam

Satnam Galsian. Photo credit Aoife Foxley

From January to April, each of these artists will be given free rehearsal space for a week in Leeds with a grant to cover fees and costs, and support and advice from technicians, producers and other specialists. They will also be given the option to give a work-in-progress performance at the end of their residency.

The Resonance scheme has been made possible by Opera North’s membership of the PRS Foundation’s network of Talent Development Partners. 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.

Opera North is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner supported by PPL.


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