ABRA is a vocal performance ensemble led cooperatively by its four members, vocalists/composers Chanan Ben Simon, Noa Haran, Yifeat Ziv and Faye Shapiro.
The name ABRAcomes from the Aramaic phrase
“ABRA KA DABRA” -
“I shall create what I speak” –
a potent spell that grants power of creation to the vocal act of speaking…
Through the art of improvisation, ABRA expands the existing limits between experimental virtuoso vocal expression and the immediate accessible humanencounter with the audience. As an ensemble of composers, ABRA draws from various musical and artistic backgrounds: different ethnic vocal traditions, American minimalism, modern avant-garde, popular music and common speech of daily life.
Throughout the two years of its existence, ABRA has performed at a wide range of venues and spaces, each time creating works that relate to the specific spatial, acoustic and historical conditions.
ETUDES OF PURIFICATION - IN JULY 2015 WE WERE INVITED TO CREATE A SITE-SPECIFIC VOCAL PIECE FOR FILTER4 - A SPACE WHICH WAS FORMERLY USED AS A WATER FILTERIZATION FACILITY. ENCOUNTERING THE SPACE UNIQUE ACOUSTICS AND APPEARANCE, WHILE TAPPING INTO IT’S HISTORY INSPIRED US TO CONNECT TO THE ANCIENT AND ACTIVE CONNECTION BETWEEN WATER AND SINGING. SINGING AND SINGING TOGETHER, IS NOT JUST A REFLECTION OF THE PERSON’S STATE OF BEING BUT MAY ALSO ACT TO TRANSFORM IT. THE FINAL WORK TOOK THE FORM OF MINIMAL YET ACCESIABLE VOCAL MEDITATION WHICH UTIIZED SPREAD THE PROCESS OF PURIFICATION IN THE SPACE. LEAVING US AND THE AUDIANCE TUNED TO RECIEVE THE INSPIRATION NEEDED FOR THE FINAL OPEN IMPROVISATION SESSION.
NESHEF - COMES FROM THE HEBREW ROOT ASSOCIATED WITH EXHALATION - IT IS INDEED THE FRUIT OF A YEAR-LONG INTENSIVE RESEARCH. NESHEF IS OUR SECOND FULL LENGTH PIECE AND DEALS DIRECTLY WITH THE RELATIONSHIP WE PERSONALLY HAVE TO SINGING AND TO THE VOICE. IN THIS PIECE WE WERE LOOKING FOR MOMENTS OF DEPARTURE FROM EXPECTED AND RIGID PATTERNS OF VOCALS EXPRESSION - HOW CAN CRYING BECOME SINGING, A VOICE LESSON TURN INTO A MOMENT OF EXTREME SELF REFLECTION, HOW CAN THE VOICE REPRESENT THE MANY FACES WE HAVE, HOW CAN WE MOVE FAST BETWEEN IDENTITIES AND STORIES, AND HOW CAN THE VOICE ULTIMATELY BE A VEHICLE FOR AUTHENTICITY. THE IDENTITY-ORIENTED POSITIONS AND GESTURES EACH OF US THEN BLEND AND MIX TOGETHER TO CREATE THE A FOUR VOICE, CREATION-ORIENTED IMPROVISATION, WE FEEL IS THE ESSENCE OF OUR ENCOUNTER AS ABRA. PREMIERED ON JULY 2015 AT THE CCA, TEL-AVIV.
WEEP - A FULL-LENGTH MUSICAL PROCESS, BASED ON THE DECONSTRUCTION OF AN ENGLISH RENAISSANCE MADRIGAL THAT GRADUALLY BECOMES A DIRECT CONVERSATION WITH THE AUDIENCE. THE AUDIENCE IS SITUATED IN THE CENTER OF THE SPACE AS ABRA MOVES ABOUT AND CREATES DIFFERENT SOUND PICTURES. PREMIERED AT BARBURGALLERY, JERUSALEM (2014). PERFORMED AT THE JERUSALEM FRINGE FESTIVALAND AT THE OPENING OF 3:0 PERFORMANCE FESTIVAL, SCHOOL OF VISUAL THEATER, JERUSALEM.
Oo ii aa - Improvisation retreat - In this piece, abratook time off from their daily lives and spent two days sleeping and living a structured, monk-like life in a gallery. They improvised every four hours, beginning with a four-minute improvisation and increasing each improvisation by four minutes. Their forty-minute finale ended 10 sessions and 220 minutes of improvisation, all documented by curator tzION Abraham Hazan. hayarkon 19 Gallery, Tel Aviv.
Tilda- A collaboration with electronic musician Amir Bolzman, exploring unexpected vocal mutations and poetic content evoked by the electronic sound palette.The piece premiered in The frontier experimental music festival as part of Jerusalem Season of Culture and again at the Khanut Gallery together with Double Bass player Orr Sinai.
Weather Vane - ABRA, equipped with portable microphones, use their bodies and voices to map and fill Rabin Square, the most central and stately square in Tel Aviv, which holds political speeches and demonstrations but also functions as a casual meeting place. The work echoes the history of the place, illustrates its urban soundscape and reflects its impromptu human encounters. RABIN SQ. (2014), PLACE DEPENDANT FESTIVAL,Tel-Aviv.
Hotel Angles - A private ceremony in a Jerusalem hotel room where each individual guest has the opportunity to echo his or her most intimate wishes to be uplifted to the heavens with the aid of Michael, Raphael and Gabriel.Premiered at Prima Royale hotel (2014), as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture festivities.
ALBUM REVIEW | "ALLABOUTJAZZ" MAGAZINE | 15.8.15 | Written by: Eyal HareuveniCLICK HERE TO READ