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Sharon Gal, Nik Rawlings, Phil Minton + Feral Choir, Dali de St Paul + artist collaborator, and a new collaborative ensemble piece by Calling Calling vocalists.

Calling Calling is an artist-led project exploring collaborative vocal ecologies through non-traditional voice and expanded vocal techniques. Running through 2023, it has been initiated by members of Bristol artist collective The Brunswick Club.

A gathering of voices brings together performers working at the edges of experimental vocal practice, with a new piece specially developed by members of the Calling Calling group.

Sharon Gal will perform ‘Ghost Song’ – a new performance piece, visceral sound poem and incantation, responding to a text composed by writer and visual artist Oliver Smith, after her performance at Xposed Club/University of Gloucestershire in 2017.  

Comprising pre-recorded audio and live improvised performance, it brings together breath, voice, electronics, field recordings, bells and objects, to explore trace memories, hidden emotions and the interplay between order and chaos. Smith’s words act as a gravitational wave, a faint pulse directing and inspiring a sonorous journey from within the resonating body, engaging the primary voice, beneath and beyond language. Ghost Song emerges in whispers and thunder to penetrate the fabric of the world.  

Sharon Gal is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, vocalist and composer, specialising in free improvisation, experimental music and collaborative, participatory compositions. She works with voice, electronics, extended techniques, field recordings, found audio, video and collage; exploring presence, listening, embodiment, and the relationship between people, sound and space.  Sharon’s music has been released by many labels, including five solo albums and various collaborations. Past performances include The V&A, ICA, The Whitechapel Gallery, Tate Modern & Tate Britain, MACBA, and Colour Out Of Space, BorealisSupernormal, Supersonic, TUSK, and Tectonics festivals.

Nik Rawlings is a Counter Tenor vocalist, composer, artist and DJ. They make work that considers experiences of networked presence, polymorphous bodies and vocal transformation. Situated between song, collective performance and dance, their practice explores the complex relational quality of sound in space, while creating spaces of shared connection, confrontation and joy.

They are resident at Pervasive Media Studio, based at the Watershed arts centre in Bristol, and was a recipient of the Expanded Performance Prototype grant from Bristol + Bath Creative R+D. They have shown sound works and performances at Trinity Centre in Bristol, LUMA Foundation in Zurich, Guest Projects, The Surrounding and DIY performance spaces around London. They contributed recordings of renaissance vocal works to artist Bryony Gillard’s work I Dreamed I Called You on the Telephone shown at Jerwood Space in London, and sang on Colin Self’s record Siblings alongside Lyra Pramuk.

Phil Minton is a British avant-garde jazz/free-improvising vocalist and trumpeter. For the past forty years, he has collaborated with groups, ensembles, orchestras, musicians and artists internationally including Roger Turner, John Butcher, and Audrey Chen. 

Phil also leads the Feral Choir, voice-conducting workshops and concerts for anyone who wants to sing, and which has performed in over twenty countries. 

“Phil has been a totemic presence in British improvised music for over 50 years, a distinctive presence first on trumpet and in the decades that followed as an untamed, outrageous vocalist exploring every facet of human expression with his voice”. The Wire, 2020.

Dali de St Paul is a prolific collaborator and a prominent figure in Bristol’s improv scene. “I want to explore different collaborations to see how I can make dialogue with people within different genres”, she says. 

Dali has worked with US noise artist Moor Mother, is a member of feminist improvising collective Viridian Ensemble, the long-running group Domestic Sound Cupboard, and a part of the recently conceived industrial duo Harrga with Miguel Prado. She also founded The Ephemeral Project 64, which invites different musicians to improvise with her until the ever-changing group has completed 64 separate performances.

Calling Calling: new collaborative ensemble vocal piece is devised and performed by participants from the Calling Calling vocal workshop series, which took place earlier this year. Following the workshops, the group spent a weekend in residence at Arnolfini to bring together their learning and to use their voices to create something new, ambitious and expansive. Workshops were led by invited artists Alwynne Pritchard and Hannah Silva, as well as by members of BEEF and Brunswick wider community: David Hopkinson, Tina Hitchens, Phil Owen, Dali de st Paul, Shirley Pegna. 

This programme is made possible with funding from West of England Visual Arts Alliance (WEVAA) and Arts Council England, with support from Arnolfini.

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