We got there just as the 'pre-show talk' was ending and the Q+A beginning. After one woman's question regarding the collaboration with musicians of the cultures portrayed in the evening's performance in which the lecturer (a music theorist) admitted he knew nothing about and confessed he headn't done his homework before proceeding to check the program in order to answer her question. The answer was: there wasn't any collaboration with native musicians - just a 'borrowing' of their music which was disappointing as I, like her, had hope to see some musicians from the various cultures performing to add authenticity. I think Talisker Players need to have one of the musicians do the lectures from now who can actually speak about the performance and not a music theorist as most attending the talk could care less about theory and want to know more about the show (it's not the first time this has happened and a reason to skip their pre-talks).
Lovely concert combining cultural creation myths from around the world set to chamber music. Works from Native American, Australian, Finnish, as well as North and South American cultures were featured including inspiration taken from Ravel and Villa-Lobos for some pieces.
Actor Andrew Moodie did all the spoken word lead-ins to the music. He was a great 'story-teller' when reading the myths. Particular favourites were "How Raven Brought Light to the World" (Native American - north west coast tribes) and "Finding the Night" (Melanesia). I'd already heard the Raven story many times since I really love Native myths stories.
The concert opened with Kuyas (narration from the Plains Cree Indians) sung by soprano Ilana Zarankinaccompanied by flute and percussion. It fell short and it had nothing to do with the singer's voice. Having been to several Native cultural events where the vocals and drumming are a main feature of their culture's storytelling, trying to sing a native vocal operatically just doesn't work! However the rest of the concert was amazing. Particular favourites were the Finnish Saamelaislaulua (Sami Songs) with poetry by Aslak Guttorm and Island Dreaming (Aboriginal peoples of the Torres Strait). The soprano vocal accompanied by flute & piano just fit with the Finnish myth. While mezzo soprano Laura McAlpine's voice transported you to an island in the south pacific with it's rolling waves and warm breezes. I wish I could get an mp3 of the Island Dreaming song, it was that beautiful!
Our next concert by the Taliskers is not until May called Cross'd by the Stars featuring "Selections from the letters, diaries and memoirs of great lovers through the ages". They're going to be doing Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman - a poem I've always liked despite its dark themes. If you haven't heard Loreena McKennitt's haunting vocal rendition of The Highwayman you've missed out.