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A musical and visual collage of the 20th century in an hour and a quarter is an ambitious project. Jonathan Trew speaks to the masterminds of the scheme.
It's a pretty safe bet that you will never have seen anything like Klil/(llS/l before. Named after the Jewish prayer for the dead. it is a multi-sensory piece ofexperimental film and music theatre that has been forming. and is indeed still evolving. over eleven years.
Using three cinema screens. fifty projectors. banks of lights. electronic samples and almost every imaginable musical form from Hungarian folk to thrash metal. it attempts to hypnotise the audience into entering a dream state relay of the history of the 20th century. with particular emphasis on the Holocaust. It will mess with your head.
Klil/(llS/l s composers and performers. Londoners Richard Wolfson and Andy Saunders. spent eight years touring Eastern Europe. Austria and Germany with a live ambient. avant garde show. On their travels they built up an archive of material which they had filmed on Super 8 film. These images. together
Towering Inierno's itaddlsh takes the Holocaust as a central theme
with rare footage of torch-lit Nazi rallies. forms the basis of the performance's visual stimuli while the duo's genre-surfing musical output coalesces with the lilm to create a continually-changing dialogue between sight and sound.
According to Saunders. Kat/dish came about ‘through analysing our music and realising that some of it came from stuff that we used to hear in the synagogue when we were children. We realised that a lot of tnodern musicians in this country weren‘t doing music about their roots. We wanted to try and
journey back to where we came from.‘
The composers' families have their roots in Eastern Europe but history has shattered any sense of home for them. ‘Kar/(lish is about the fragmentation of
European culture as a whole and the Holocaust is a pan of that. its most extreme manifestation.‘ says Wolfson. ‘lt explores the contradictions inherent in nationalism — the importance of identity on one hand and the darker extremes ofexcluding and discriminating against other people on the other.‘
The composers insist that K addish is not a political piece and it operates on a more subconscious level. ‘People are usually stunned at the end of the show and they ﬁnd it unsettling.‘ says Saunders. ‘They‘re not told how to react.‘
I liaddish (Fringe) Towering Inferno. Assertiny Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. 9—3l Aug (not l9) 9.30pm. £9/£l2 (£8/L' l0). £7 previer Aug.
JAZZ RAP PREVIEW
Gil Scott- Heron
When the antecedents oi rap and hip hop come up ior discussion, the name oi Gil Scott-Heron is invariably included. Along with the more iiery militancy oi The Last Poets, the singer is ielt to be a vital iorerunner oi the movement, both as a stylist and as a social and political commentator.
Iiis hard-hitting songs and deep, semi-spoken vocals broke new ground in the iazz-iunk world oi the 70s, and he has continued to receive respect irom both artists and tans, despite long periods oi relative
~.. 7‘ i .193?“ .‘ . a. _ , .3: i ' " a ,:: .. ‘ fat-3 I \ .1. in g ' .. \ . (ill Scott-Heron: invoking the spirits
inactivity and some truly dreadiul live periormances (down, in many cases, to what used to be euphemistically described as ‘personal problems’).
When he’s in good shape though, he is a compelling perionner, and the release oi the Spirits album in 1994, his iirst genuine new record since 1982’s Moving Targets, suggested a return to iorm. Its characteristic mix oi biting iazz (check out the title track, based on John Coltrane’s ‘Equinox’), laid back funk and soul grooves underpinned his thoughts on iamiliar topics, irom world peace (‘Work For Peace’) to the destructiveness oi addiction (the lengthy mini-drama ‘The Other Side’), as well as an address to the current generation oi rappers in ‘Message to the Messengers’. (Joe Alexander)
Gil Scott-Heron (Fringe) Queen’s Hall (Venue 72) 6682019, 10 Aug, 9pm, £9-£12.5o.
I Bryn Tonal/Malcolm Martineau The Welsh baritone joins forces with the world class pianist for a selection of works by Schubert. lbert and Vaughan Williams. The duo are likely to bring the roof down.
Bryn TetjleI/Maleolnt Martineau (Festival) Usher Hall. 228 I I55. I5Aug. 7.30pm. £5—[l 7.50.
I Unplugged And linrugged The Bootleg Beatles cast off their uniforms and whip off their wigs for an hour of Fab Four faves in an acoustic format. One of the better tribute acts on the circuit. the chances are that tickets will be vanishing fast. Given the acoustic setting. it‘s odds on that ‘Norwegian Wood‘ will get an airing.
Unplugged Am! Unrugged (Fringe) George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 650 200/. 12-17 Aug. / l.30prn. £8.50 ( [6.50).
I Big Country The mid-80s Celtic rockers settle in for a four-night stint to announce the launch of their new semi-unplugged album. Et‘let‘tit'.
In The Seud (Fringe) Big Country. Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428. ll-l5 Aug. 7pm. [IO/£9.
I The Beggar’s Opera The acclaimed National Youth Music Theatre take on John Gay's l8th century ballad opera set to popular tunes ofthe time. Martin Best arranges the music.
The Beggar 's Opera (Fringe) George Square Theatre (Venue 37) 650 200/. ll—26 Aug. various times. [3 -£8. 50 ( [5.50).
I Russian National Orchestra Mikhail Pletnev conducts one of the globe's best orchestras in a two night aural stuff-up of Haydn.
‘ Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.
The first night sees cellist Natalia Gutman playing Shostakovich‘s Cello Concerto No l .
Russian National Ore/testra (International Festival). Usher Hall. 228 / I55. l3—l4 Aug. 8pm. [Ii—£27.50.
The List ‘)-l5 Aug I996 79