Motel de Nowhere is very excited to showcase ‘Of the Brilliant and the Dark’ by Ellen Southern

Showcase and CD launch


                                              8pm, July 23rd 2011


 ‘Of the Brilliant and the Dark’ is a composition by Ellen Southern made in a response to an invitation by artists Eileen Simpson and Ben White to create a creative commons licensed manuscript remixing the original 1969 score ‘The Brilliant and the Dark’ for a project at the Women’s Library, London, in the summer of 2010. Female choir Gaggle had also been invited to ‘remix’ the original, and the two distinctive pieces were performed in the library at Simpson and White’s live event.

Since then, Southern has developed her composition and performance further, forming the atmospheric and hushed song-cycle for 7 female voices now to be showcased. She embraced traditional, experimental and extended techniques to weave an emotive arc or collective ‘lifecycle’, allowing the individuality of each voice and instrument to be heard.

The composer interwove her own stories and those of the singers with fragments and themes from the original score and libretto by Ursula Vaughn Williams, which she intensively studied while creating the ‘remix’ score. Transformative experiences-in-common are relayed by the singers, who represent the ‘embroiderers’; the small choir who sat at the side of the stage in the original opera and stitched together a women’s history through song. To Southern this remains a poignant metaphor, as women’s voices in the arts are, and historically have been, under-represented.

Inspired by a projection made by Simpson and White of performance photographs from the original ‘The Brilliant and the Dark’ archives, Southern has also created a poetic visual narrative to accompany the live performance, photographed by Namvula Rennie.

In this special showcase event to launch the CD recorded by Danny Bright, ‘Of The Brilliant and The Dark’ will be performed in full, with support from singer / songwriter Namvula Rennie (plus guests TBC). The copyleft ‘remixed’ manuscript from the initial collaboration with Simpson and White will be also distributed for the first time.

 Previous audience reactions;

Magical and nourishing’

‘I was transfixed’

‘Experimental and accessible, with beautiful melodies’

‘Truly new, beautiful and inspired’

‘The visuals and music together transported me into another world’

***Pre-booking essential due to limited spaces***

Please email to reserve a place. You will receive confirmation and directions in reply. Pay on entry – £6 (suggested) includes CD.

 Ellen Southern (b. London 1977) is a visual artist who in the last 5 years studied music theory and vocal practice at Morley College. This is her debut composition, a first exploration into combining voice, visual art and performance. Southern is due to begin a Masters in Performance and Visual Practices at the University of Brighton in September 2011.

Sneak preview webclip –


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