Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Half The Sky

I know it's a deadly sin and everything, but I can't help feeling proud of my role in this. Yumi Hara Cawkwell just got in touch to say that she'd recently got together a band called Half the Sky to play the music of bassoonist/composer Lindsay Cooper. This turns out to have been the direct result of me contacting all the musicians I was in touch with requesting covers of Henry Cow's miniature "Slice" (an LC composition) for my special edition of Canterbury Sans Frontierès paying tribute to Lindsay after she passed away in 2013. The band has played some gigs in Japan and at Rock in Opposition 2016 in France (see videos below). Excitingly, Chris Cutler's on drums and Knifeworld's Chlöe Herington is handling the bassoon parts.

This is from the RIO2016 programme notes, written by Yumi:

"In 2013, soon after Lindsay Cooper passed away, Matthew Watkins made a call for arrangements of ‘Slice’ for a special edition of his podcast ‘Canterbury Sans Frontières: Episode 8’. I made a transcription of the piece and recorded it for solo clavichord. Chris Cutler and I also played it a few times when we were both in Japan and NY. Soon after, inspired by the three memorial concerts Chris organised in 2014 with the original bands, I put together Half the Sky (‘Women hold up half the sky’) to play Lindsay’s music in Japan. In its constitution, Half the Sky follows her general practice and the example of the original bands, Henry Cow (50% female) and News from Babel (75% female).

With the exception of Slice, it was only after, and because of, the 2014 concerts that any working scores for the Henry Cow pieces, painstakingly assembled from Lindsay’s notebooks, original band-members’ surviving parts and a careful analysis of the recordings, become available. A handful of the News from Babel songs — none of which had never been performed live — were reconstructed by Zeena Parkins, the rest I had to do from scratch, also rearranging everything for a mixture of occidental and oriental instruments. This concert is conceived very much as a music of the present, and not an academic reconstruction."


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