Gelareh Pour and Garden Quartet

Gelareh Pour’s Garden Quartet album launch and national tour 2019

Talented Australian-Iranian musician Gelareh Pour is launching Garden Quartet, her band’s self-titled debut album, with a national tour beginning in July.

Gelareh formed Garden Quartet in 2016 in collaboration with Brian O’Dwyer, Arman Habibi and Mike Gallichio, creating and performing music which Gelareh describes as Iranian-Australian contemporary music fusing elements of world music, avant garde, alternative/indie post-rock, dark ambient and romantic, sung in Farsi.

Having studied in Iran and then obtained her Masters of Ethnomusicology at the University of Melbourne, she is a respected composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist master of Persian/Iranian instruments including Kamancheh (spiked fiddle) and Qeychak Alto (Iranian bowed lute). She has previously released three albums to widespread acclaim, and is a contributing member of Boite World Music Café and Victoria’s Iranian House of Music. Gelareh is now based in Melbourne where she regularly performs with some of Australia’s most innovative experimental musicians.

The theme of the album Garden Quartet is “more than one place”, drawing on Gelareh’s experiences and stories about living and creating music in two very different cultures, together with her bandmates’ differing cultural backgrounds and the stories they’ve carried along their personal journeys.

Gelareh also incorporates the stories of women who have had to flee from war-torn countries inspired by Gelareh’s academic research work on The Lives of Iranian Women Singers in Diaspora.

Celebrated as a vocalist of rare and ethereal skill, the 34-year-old has nonetheless experienced hardship as a female singer in Iran. There, she was only able to perform covertly in underground venues, as women are forbidden to sing solo in public under Islamic law. Women’s voices are viewed as “too provocative” and their hand movements when playing instruments deemed “too erotic”. As a result, Iranian women can only play instruments in male-led bands, or perform to all-female audiences, who must also obtain permits for all performances via an arduous bureaucratic process. By contrast, singing as a woman solo singer with no restrictions on the stage and in recordings is very special to her. In Australia, for the first time in her life, Gelareh feels she has true musical and creative freedom—a feeling of exhilaration that is beautifully expressed in the compositions on Garden Quartet.

Media release written by Diana Wolfe and Gianna Huesch

Wang Zheng-Ting (Sheng) and Adam Simmons (saxophone). Photo: Kevin Peterson.

Wu Xing (The Five Elements)—Adam Simmons’ Origami national tour 2019

Jazz virtuosos to tour nation with joyous, magical ‘auditory spectacle’
Adam Simmons and Origami join forces with Wang Zheng-Ting

One of Australia’s finest jazz/art music saxophonists, composers and band leaders Adam Simmons is launching his first national tour with his trio Origami, accompanied by world-renowned Sheng player Wang Zheng-Ting, through August—October this year.

Critics say Simmons is producing some of the most “breathtakingly beautiful” jazz in Australia or anywhere else. Electrifying both recorded and in concert, Origami’s music is quite unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

Hailed as one of Simmons’ strongest projects, the trio formed in 2010 and has wowed at festivals ever since. Origami’s sold-out concert at Stonnington Jazz Festival this year was described by Australian Book Review as “the standout performance” of the Festival.

Their album Wu Xing—The Five Elements was deservedly nominated for The Age Music Victoria Awards Best Jazz Album 2018, with its mesmerising exploration of the Wu Xing—the five elements  (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) that underpin Chinese philosophy, drawing parallels between music and nature.

The Wu Xing tour comes hot on the heels of Simmons’ critically-acclaimed five-part concert series and CD box set, The Usefulness of Art, which drew four-and-five-star reviews from The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Arts Hub, and Australian Book Review.

The tour features longtime Simmons collaborator Wang Zheng-Ting on Sheng (Chinese mouth organ). Ting is a world-renowned musician, musical director, lecturer, author and ethnomusicologist whose “exceptional artistry” sees the Sheng “flutter and dance with the delicacy of butterfly wings, though it can also pulse with rhythmic vitality” (Sydney Morning Herald).

Simmons is known for stretching the boundaries of modern jazz composition and performance, and infusing a sense of wonder and playfulness into musical art forms better known for their gravitas. With Origami, his alto saxophone is perfectly complemented by virtuoso bandmate Howard Cairns’ gentle strength on double bass and Hugh Harvey’s exuberant drumming style.

The Wu Xing tour takes in major cities and regional centres including Sydney (Sound Lounge), Canberra (Drill Hall Gallery), Newcastle’s Grand Hotel, Melbourne (Jazzlab), Adelaide (Nexus Arts), Mildura, Geelong (Courthouse Theatre), and Hobart (MONA), with more dates being added.

The tour concludes with a celebratory concert at the Melbourne Recital Centre with the Australian-Chinese Music Ensemble, commemorating both the MRC’s 10th anniversary and the ACME’s 30th anniversary.

Workshops will also be available in a number of towns, offering a rare opportunity to learn from these masters (supported by Forestone Japan and The Music Place).

WU XING NATIONAL TOUR DATES

Sat Oct 5 Uniting Church Hall, Wangaratta, tickets

Thu Oct 10 Courthouse Youth Arts, Geelong, tickets

Sat Oct 12 Christ Church Longford, Tasmania 

Sun Oct 13 MONA, Berriedale, Tasmania, details

Media release written by Diana Wolfe and Gianna Huesch