Monday, September 21, 2015

"Devil Moon" on the Grand Canal: Lisa E. Harris Takes a Break from "Work Songs" at the Biennale

Devil Moon on the Grand Canal from Lisa Harris on Vimeo.

Quite literally at the center of the Central Pavilion of this year's Biennale is a large beautifully-designed performance space by David Adjaye where a series of live performances, films and discussions have been held throughout the run of the exhibition.

The most interesting of all these I've found to be the long-running musical piece "Work Songs", created by the jazz pianist, composer, and Blue Note recording artist Jason Moran, and the singer, artist and actress, Alicia Hall Moran. Taking traditional work songs as their starting point, they've created a 40-minute piece within which a changing cast of truly excellent American singers (sometimes singing as duos, sometimes solo) have the opportunity to improvise, as much or as little as they choose. It's a piece that changes not only from singer to singer, but from day to day with the same singer.

I actually have quite a lot to write about this piece, but for now I wanted to use the above video recorded in a little sandolo sanpierota on a recent trip across the bacino of San Marco and down the Grand Canal to introduce readers to the current star of the piece, Lisa E. Harris: a classically-trained singer, artist, and filmmaker. You can check out her website for more information on what she's been up to:

And you can catch her live (as part of your entrance ticket into the Venice Biennale) performing "Work Songs" every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 4:40 in the Arena performance space of the Central Pavilion until the end of October.

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