Transcender 2015
Transcender 2015
Thursday 24 September – Sunday 27 September 2015
Barbican Hall, Union Chapel, Village Underground, LSO St Luke’s
Tickets £17.50-£45 (plus booking fee)

Transcender – the Barbican’s acclaimed series of transcendental and psychedelic music – returns this autumn for the sixth time, with concerts taking place between 24 and 27 September 2015 in the Barbican Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Union Chapel and Village Underground. The series includes musicians from countries as diverse as The Netherlands, Bulgaria, Iran, China, Germany, Pakistan and Australia, and explores links between traditional devotional music and contemporary styles which share a common impulse to transport listeners beyond the here and now.

Transcender 2015 features:

· The UK premiere of Double Vision, created by Atom™ and Robin Fox, at Village Underground
· Arifa: Voices from the East and The Lyre Ensemble perform at Union Chapel
· The world premiere of Lost in Thought – the world’s first mindfulness opera
· An innovative concert performance of Brian Eno’s album Discreet Music
· Laraaji presents The Peace Garden Yoga Session
· Acclaimed Pakistani musicians Sain Zahoor and Faiz Ali Faiz

Double Vision: Atom™ and Robin Fox
Thursday 24 September 2015 / 19.30 / Village Underground
Tickets: £20 (plus booking fee)

Transcender kicks off with the UK premiere of Double Vision, an audiovisual spectacle created by chameleonic German producer Uwe Schmidt (Atom™) and Australian visual artist Robin Fox. As part of this curated evening of complementary experiences, the pair combine stage lasers, video, experimental sounds and their own deconstructed take on pop music. The evening also features German electronic musician Pole, renowned for his contributions to the Berlin glitch and dub scene, presenting a new collaboration with video artist MFO (Marcel Weber), plus DJ sets curated by Italian festival Club To Club throughout the evening.

Robin Fox returns to the Barbican following the success of his RGB laser show in 2014. He has spent many years investigating the relationship between sound and image. More recently he has focused his attention towards phenomena such as vibration, electrical voltage and light. The Australian artist has created several energy devices for scientific use at the Bionic Ear Institute in Melbourne; released a handful of experimental electronic records both solo and partnered with Anthony Pateras; designed dance visual aspects and has amazed audiences with his immersive laser shows.

Uwe Schmidt’s varied musical career includes remarkable versions of electro latin vibes (under the name Señor Coconut), concept albums under various aliases (Lassigue Bendthaus, Atom Heart, Atom™), collaborations with Bill Laswell, Burnt Friedmann and Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), and a whole host of vinyl material on labels like Raster-Noton, Sähkö and Editions Mego.

Produced by the Barbican in association with Unsound and Club to Club
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Arifa: Voices from the East / The Lyre Ensemble
Friday 25 September 2015 / 19.30 / Union Chapel
Tickets: £20 (plus booking fee)

On 25 September, Union Chapel will see a double bill from the Amsterdam-based Arifa Quartet and The Lyre Ensemble, led by composer and musician Stef Connor, otherwise known for her work with The Unthanks and as composer-in-residence for Streetwise Opera.

Following their acclaimed London debut as part of the 2014 London Jazz Festival, the Arifa Quartet will perform their new project Voices from the East. The quartet, which transcends musical genres and national boundaries, comprises Alex Simu (Sax, Clarinet & Live Laptop), Michalis Cholevas (Tarhu, Ney), Franz von Chossy (Piano) and Sjahin During (Afro Anatolian Percussion), blending ancient musical traditions from the Middle East and Balkans with jazz and contemporary improvised music. They are joined here by Meng Xiaoxu, Niusha Barimani and Vanya Valkova who combine mastery of stringed instruments from China, Iran and Bulgaria with the vocal traditions practiced in these countries.
The performance will meld Arifa’s instrumental timbre with the sounds of these three exceptional female artists from three different cultures, to create rich contemporary compositions, rooted in ancient sounds.

The Lyre Ensemble will perform music from their new album ‘The Flood’, the first ever CD of new music sung entirely in Sumerian and Babylonian. Contemporary music, based on academic research into Mesopotamian modes and the playing of lyres today in the Middle East and Africa, is paired with texts from as early as the 4th millennium BC which are either written from a female perspective, or relate to the role of women in Mesopotamian society. The project is composed for voice and the Lyre of Ur (a reconstruction of a 4500-year-old instrument which was excavated in the early 20th century from the Royal Graves at Ur).

Produced by the Barbican
Supported by The Embassy of The Netherlands
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Lost in Thought: A Mindfulness Opera
Friday 25 – Sunday 27 September 2015 / LSO St Luke’s / 18:00 (Fri) & 12:00 (Sat & Sun)
Tickets: £45 (plus booking fee)

As part of this year’s Transcender, the Barbican and Mahogany Opera Group present the world premiere performances of Lost in Thought – the world’s first mindfulness opera. Directed by Frederic Wake-Walker and with music and concept by Rolf Hind, Lost in Thought is a ground-breaking new work which is based on the classic structure of an extended meditation, exploring the points of contact between sound and silence. During this immersive musical four-hour performance, audiences will go on an inner journey of mindfulness, with periods of meditation, rest, communal eating and a gentle yoga session guided by mezzo-soprano and meditation leader Lore Lixenberg and seven musicians. Created for an intimate setting, boundaries between performers and audiences are set to blur in this genre-bending reconceptualisation of opera. Music and meditation combine, bringing a new intensity to every sensation - the inner drama of mindfulness.

Composer Rolf Hind introduced mindfulness meditation practice at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and continues to play a leading part in the School’s pioneering development and research on mindfulness and its relationship to the arts and performing artists. Lost in Thought emerges from that work
as the culmination of Hind’s interest in combining music and mindfulness meditation into a dramatic form. Rolf Hind said: “This project is based on my fundamental beliefs and questions about human experience. How do we humans interact with moments of experience and sound? Can we do that in each moment, with a deep and real response? And can music help us?”

Lost in Thought has been created collaboratively with Mahogany Opera Group’s artistic director Frederic Wake-Walker and Professor Paul Chadwick (Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London). It encapsulates Mahogany Opera Group’s commitment to creating new opera in new ways, and extending the possibilities of how it can be experienced. Frederic Wake-Walker said: “I believe that in any piece of theatre, the true drama exists in the imaginations of the audience. Everything that I put on stage, therefore, must act as a trigger for the audience’s internal yet shared experience.”

Speaking of her experiences with the Lost in Thought project, singer and meditation leader Lore Lixenberg said: “For people who already meditate, it will deepen that experience – for people doing this for the first time, the music helps to form a kind of bridge to explore meditation and mindfulness.”

The Lost in Thought performances are complemented by a public programme from the Guildhall School featuring a Symposium on Mindfulness in Music & Art ( 28 Sep ) and a Mindfulness Taster Session ( 13 Sep ). Following its world premiere as part of the Barbican’s Transcender series, the Lost in Thought production continues on tour with performances at The Lowry, Salford Quays (18-19 October 2015) and further venues nationally and internationally in early 2016.

Co-produced by the Barbican and Mahogany Opera Group with the support of the Nicholas Berwin Charitable Trust and the RVW Trust.
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Discreet + Oblique: The Music of Brian Eno
+ Laraaji (ClubStage)
Saturday 26 September 2015 / 19.30 / Barbican Hall
Tickets: £20-25 (plus booking fee)

1975 saw the release of Brian Eno’s pioneering album Discreet Music, a landmark in the development what he came to refer to as “ambient music”. To mark the album’s 40th anniversary, musical directors Leo Abrahams and David Coulter have devised a richly-imaginative live performance of this breathtaking work.

Producer and guitarist Leo Abrahams has a long-standing working relationship with Eno, while David Coulter has produced a series of innovative performances for the Barbican including In Dreams : David Lynch Revisited and Beck : Song Reader. With Discreet and Oblique they aim to create an authentic recreation of Eno’s original concept, while also suggesting ways that it can develop musically. A specially-assembled ensemble - electronic musician Benge, saxophonist John Harle (whose previous Barbican performances include The Tyburn Tree with Marc Almond), violinist Emma Smith, cellist Oliver Coates and experimental jazz trio The Necks – will incorporate original equipment, including EMS synthesiser and Eno’s “Frippertronic” long delay echo system, to summon a unique realisation of Discreet Music’s magical sound-world..

Eno’s original liner notes for Discreet Music described “a new way of hearing music – as part of the ambience of the environment, just as the colour of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience”. This concert performance – incorporating various visual and sonic surprises – aims to pay tribute to, and give new life to, that initial, incredibly fertile vision.

Please note that Brian Eno is not performing.

Long-time Eno associate and fellow ambient pioneer Laraaji will give a post-show performance of his “celestial music” on the Barbican clubstage.

Discreet + Oblique: The Music of Brian Eno was commissioned for Supersense: Festival of the Ecstatic, presented by Arts Centre Melbourne 7-9 August 2015.
Produced by the Barbican
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Laraaji presents The Peace Garden Yoga Session
Sunday 27 September / LSO St Luke’s / 10.00
Tickets: £10 (plus booking fee)

The Peace Garden is an integrated workshop/performance combining yoga exercises and deep listening, led by ambient music pioneer and meditation practitioner Laraaji.

Assisted by sound-healing Reiki channel Arji Oceandanda, Laraaji guides audiences through call-and-response chanting, exploratory language, gentle stretching, laughter and breathing postures, working towards the meditation pose known as Savasana – a posture of total relaxation where participants begin to become more aware of their breath and mind itself.
The Peace Garden yoga session culminates with Laraaji performing a set of enveloping ambient music, where electronic zither, mbira, gong, chimes and vocals combine to transport the audience on an inner journey to places of deep release, rest and harmonisation.

The session is open to participants of all abilities; previous yoga experience is not required. Participants should bring a bottle of drinking water and make sure they dress comfortably.

Initially working as a stand-up comedian and actor, Laraaji began playing music on the streets of New York in the 1970s, improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. Brian Eno saw him playing one night in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series (Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, 1980). He went on to release a prolific series of albums for a wide variety of labels, many of which he recorded himself at home and sold as cassettes during his street performances. Today Laraaji’s music has been embraced by a new generation of musicians and his career has been celebrated with the Warp/All Saints retrospective Celestial Music 1970-2011, which was released in 2013.
Produced by the Barbican
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Sain Zahoor and Faiz Ali Faiz
Sunday 27 September 2015 / 19.30 / Barbican Hall
Tickets: £17.50 - £30 (plus booking fee)

Transcender concludes with a double-bill from two of Pakistan’s most acclaimed artists: pre-eminent Qawwali singer Faiz Ali Faiz and award winning Sufi musician Sain Zahoor.

Sain Zahoor has spent his life singing at shrines across Punjab and came to wider prominence in 1989 with his first appearance on the concert stage at the All Pakistan Music Conference. Subsequently he has emerged as a leading musician in Pakistan and has gained international renown for his ecstatic performances on the one-stringed ektara, inspired by themes of devotional love. In recent years he has released the album Awazay ("Sounds") through Matteela Records and contributed to the soundtrack of British comedy drama West Is West, in which he also appears.

Following his collaboration with Carmen Linares as part of Transcender in 2013, Faiz Ali Faiz returns to the Barbican Hall with his special brand of Qawwali, inspired by the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. With his six-piece ensemble of fellow singers and percussionists, Faiz Ali Faiz performs many of the pieces associated with Nusrat, influenced by the Punjabi doaba style and the Shams-chaurasi school of light-classical khyal singing.

Marshall Allen's The Magic Science Quartet will give a free performance before this concert (6.30-7.15pm, Barbican Freestage), mixing frantic free jazz with international instrumentation and experimental audio visual installations.
Playing together with Guildhall musicians and young people from East London, The Magic Science Quartet will be performing new work created during a two day collaboration.

Produced by the Barbican
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Complementing Transcender will be Head Trips: Films for The Inner Eye (1–6 October 2015, Barbican Cinemas), a week of repertory screenings of abstract and psychedelic films including Moroccan music documentary Trances , Paul Sharits’ stroboscopic collection The Mandala Films , and a rare screening of the uncut version of Gaspar Noe’s Enter The Void .

On 13 October, there will also be a double-bill of unconventional and beautiful vocal polyphonic singing traditions featuring the Georgian Rustavi Ensemble and Corsican singing group A Filetta , two of the genre’s most revered ambassadors, who will tell the stories from their respective homelands through song.


Notes to Editors
Barbican Box Office: 0845 120 7550

Press Information
For any further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact the Barbican’s music media relations team:

Annikaisa Vainio-Miles , Media Relations Manager
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7090
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Sabine Kindel, Senior Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6199
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Eleanor Nimmo, Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6196
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Sagar Shah, Media Relations Assistant
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6138
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About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.5 million people pass through the Barbican’s doors annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, the Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

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Press enquiries:
Annikaisa Vainio-Miles, Media Relations Manager
t - +44 (0)20 7382 7090
e – annikaisa.vainio-miles

Sabine Kindel, Senior Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6199
e – sabine.kinde

Eleanor Nimmo, Media Relations Officer
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6196
e – eleanor.nimmo

Sagar Shah, Media Relations Assistant
t - +44 (0)20 7382 6138
e – sagar.shah