Riga, Latvia’s Skaņu Mežs festival for adventurous music will host its 21st edition on October 6-8 and September 30. October 8 is the date for its free-entry event at Hanzas Perons (Hanzas street 16a). It will be entirely devoted to LYRA, a project for kids and teens that is supported by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The evening will see concerts and premieres of new works.
Athens-based musician and vocalist Evita Manji is connecting the dots between the human experience, climate change, quantum physics and death, in an attempt to dig deeper into the primordial truth of existence. Through their carefully constructed practice of synthesis and sound design led by choir-inspired vocals, they fabricate musical worlds consisting of ever-expanding sonic organisms and shapeless solid non-materials. In 2021 Evita launched their platform myxoxym, releasing the singles “OIL/TOO MUCH” and “EYES/NOT ENOUGH”, as well as curating the first edition of the fundraising compilation series “PLASMODIUM I”, aiming to raise environmental awareness and provide support to relief efforts for wildlife affected by forest fires in Greece. Since their debut performance at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) alongside Eartheater and Soho Rezanejad (Athens, September 2021), Evita has performed in cities across Europe including London, Prague, Krakow and Zurich, and at festivals such as Unsound, Borderline, Rhizom and Lunchmeat — where they shared the stage with Amnesia Scanner at the Convent of St. Agnes. They have collaborated with numerous artists across various media and exhibited sound pieces at galleries like Kunsthalle Basel (in collaboration with Young Boy Dancing Group) and Saigon Athens.
Nídia is an internationally acclaimed Afro-Portuguese electronic producer and DJ, based out of Vale da Amoreira, south bank of River Tagus, across from Lisbon. As part of the Príncipe Discos record label and artistic collective, she has been having a decisive role, both as an individual artist and as within the community, in bringing inspiringly progressive aesthetics and ethics to the contemporary alternative dance infrastructure across the globe, and the kuduro culture in particular. “Danger” was her first physical record released on Príncipe in 2015, when she was still signing as “Nídia Minaj”, followed by the debut LP “Nídia é Má, Nídia é Fudida” in 2017, both enthusiastically acclaimed. In 2020 she launched a celebrated trilogy attack with the “Badjuda Sukulbembe” 7”, the “Não Fales Nela Que A Mentes” LP and the “S/T” EP. Among her favorite accolades ranks winning a Grammi – the ‘Swedish Grammys’ – for her production work contributed to Fever Ray’s ‘Plunge’ album, and the string of inspiring remix flexes for Yaeji’s ‘One More’ hit, Kelela’s ‘Take Me Apart’ album, even winning Best Independent Remix on UK’s AIM Awards for her Lafawndah’s ’Tourist’ rework. She also thrived in collaborating on The Honey Colony show at London’s Southbank Centre with Bonnie Banane, Kelsey Lu, Lafawndah, Tirzah and Mica Levi, and has performed extensively in events and festivals such as Sónar Barcelona, Red Bull Music Festival São Paulo, MoMA PS1 Warm Up series, Just Jam at the Barbican in London, an epic NYE at Tokyo’s WWWβ, etc.
It has been said that Stian Westerhus has little, or no respect for his guitar, but it can surely be argued that he has no respect for music in general!
Stian Westerhus has been at the tip of the spear of his generation for the last twenty years pushing boundaries and stretching the perception of our musical heritage.
Intimately played, like a part of his own body, Stian’s expressive playing and vocals breaks down the barriers of the electric guitar and the lone performer and bends musical meaning.
Westerhus is best known for his solo performances, but has also been a highly sought after musician for many years and has played with Ulver, Pale Horses, Monolithic, Supersilent, John Paul Jones, Puma, Jaga Jazzist, Nils Petter Molvær, Sidsel Endresen, Punkt, Arve Henriksen, Warped Dreamer, Motorpsycho, Fire!, Colin Stetson, EX EYE, Thomas Lehn, Marcus Schmickler, Jennifer Walshe, Maja Ratkje, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Philharmonie Zuidnederland and many many more.
Westerhus has released highly acclaimed solo albums on Rune Grammofon and House of Mythology with several releases receiving awards and norwegian grammy nominations.
Presentations of new works
Alexander Rishaug & Ingrid Bjørnaali
Alexander Rishaug (b. 1974) is a sound artist and composer that operates in the expanding field of sound art, visual art and natural science. He focuses on site-specific studies, listening and acoustic ecology. How sound and listening transforms our experience of place, time andspace. Heis a graduate from NordlandKunst-og Filmhøyskole in Kabelvåg (1991-1993) and NTNU, Kunstakademiet in Trondheim (1996-2000). From 2018-2021 he was an artistic research fellow in the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme at the Academy of Arts, UIT-The Arctic University of Norway. He’s been teaching workshops in listening practice,sound recording and audio editing at theAcademy of Arts, UiT The Arctic University of Norwayin Tromsø and NordlandKunst-og Filmhøyskolein Kabelvåg.
Ingrid Bjørnaali (b. 1991) is a multidisciplinary artist from Norway, based in Oslo. In her video practice, she explores specific biotopes with digital camera technologies, and proceeds to work with these bits and pieces of nature based on their virtual outcome. Bjørnaaliis interested in various processes of learning from-and interpreting our surrounding nature and co-existing species through e.g. photogrammetry that relates to satellite mapping and mediation of anthropocentric spaces and monuments. Her works explore the omnipresence of the digital in our experience of the world as well as the inability of technology to adequately articulate matter’s complexity. She obtained an MFA in 2021 from the Oslo National Academy ofthe Arts, with parts of the studies spent in Helsinki at the Taideyliopiston Kuvataideakatemia’s “Time and Space Arts”.Works have been exhibited in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Croatia, Romania, Canada, Malta and in international online biennials.
The initial stages of the sonic part of this performance were conceived as part of Alexander Rishaug’s LYRA workshops for kids and youth in Riga, Daugavpils and Tromsø.
Anna Fišere, Miķelis Fišers and Andris Kalnozols
Composer Anna Fišere, visual artist Miķelis Fišers and writer Andris Kalnozols will present a new work at Skaņu Mežs’ free entry event on October 8 at Hanzas Perons. It is a work with elements of theater, new music, sound art and sculpture. But, above all, the authors insist it is a “pneumatic therapy session”. The initial stages of this work were created when Anna and Miķelis Fišeri held LYRA workshops in Riga, Liepāja and Tromsø. Some of the children they met at these events will participate in this performance as well.
“Soul Cleansing Device” is a pneumatic therapy session. Norwegian writer Erlend Loe has said: “Laughter and play cleanses the soul.” The pneumatic device is constructed from a wide range of childrens’ toys that share a demand for air: balloons, inflatable animals, recorders, flutes and others. Joined in a smartly designed system, they are able to produce various unexpected sounds and movements, encouraging the listeners and spectators to free the air of their spirit and have a good laugh.
Peter Ablinger, Sylwia Zytynska and LYRA workshop team
Composer Peter Ablinger and percussionist Sylwia Zytynska will present their works together with young people and children who learned them during the “LYRA” workshop in Riga.
Peter Ablinger teaches composition at the Berlin Academy of Arts, while from 2012 to 2014 he was a lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, and has also served as guest conductor for prestigious ensembles including Klangforum Wien, United Berlin and Insel Musik Ensemble. Ablinger’s music has been performed by celebrated contemporary music performers and groups including Irvine, Arditti, JACK Quartet, Quatuor Diotima and Wet Ink.
Silvija Zytynska was born in Warsaw and learned to play piano, cello and percussion in Poland and Sweden. She plays both contemporary music and its free improvisation. She has taught students how to play percussion instruments at the City of Basel Music Academy since 1985, as well as being a member and co-founder of Zuhören Schweiz, an organisation dedicated to music education. For over 10 years, she has been one of the presenters of the radio programme Musik unserer Zeit on the Swiss station SRF2, where she joins colleagues in commenting on the latest contemporary music recordings.
This concert is part of LYRA, a project for kids and teens that is supported by the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway.
LYRA receives grants in the amount of EUR 206,256.00 within the framework of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants funded by Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway. The project aims to introduce kids and teenagers to experimental music and to get them involved in its creation. As it is democratic and non-hierarchical in essence, experimental music gives trained and untrained kids the chance to take part in making music. Since the project crosses social and ethnic divides, it is also socially inclusive.
Total LYRA eligible costs: EUR 202,510.00, European Economic Area financial instrument programme Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Culture Cooperation support sum: 85% or EUR 85,000.00, of which:
- European Economic Area financial instrument co-financing: 85% or EUR 175,317.60;
- State Budget co-financing: 15% or EUR 30,938.40.