Arts + Culture,
Amirtha Kidambi: Elder Ones
Mar 26, 2019 - Mar 26, 2019 | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
City of Asylum
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Elder Ones fuses classical and jazz music with international influences to create a symphony of avant-garde sound. Kidambi was formally trained in classical music but felt the pull of free jazz drawing her toward a different path. Influenced by Carnatic music of the Indian subcontinent as well as avant-gardists like Nono and Stockhausen, she creates drones on the harmonium — an old, air-powered keyboard — and coaxes her bandmates into musically ripping this foundation apart.
The forthcoming release From Untruth builds upon the bedrock foundation of Kidambi’s previous compositional and conceptual work with Elder Ones, while forging uncharted territory. After a journey into wordless abstraction on Holy Science, Kidambi felt the urgency of the political moment required a direct and verbal call to action. The lyric fragments in “Eat the Rich”, “Decolonize the Mind”, “Dance of the Subaltern” and “From Untruth” critique power structures of capitalism, racism, colonialism and fascism, distilling heavy post-colonial theory into concentrated visceral battle cries.
As Ben Ratliff wrote in the New York Times, “the aggressive and sublime first album by the band Elder Ones, Holy Science, is a kind of gauge for how strong and flexible the scene of young musicians in New York’s improvised and experimental music world can be.”
Amirtha Kidambi (Vocals, Harmonium, Synthesizer, Compositions)
Matt Nelson (Soprano Saxophone)
Nick Dunston (Bass)
Max Jaffe (Drums and Electronic Sensory Percussion)
Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the creation and performance of subversive music, from free improvisation and avant-jazz, to experimental bands and new music. As a bandleader, she is the creative force behind Elder Ones, featuring rising New York stars Matt Nelson (Battle Trance/GRID) on soprano saxophone, Nick Dunston (Tyshawn Sorey Trio/Jeff “Tain” Watts) on bass and Max Jaffe (JOBS/Peter Evans’ Being and Becoming) on drums and electronic sensory percussion. The purposeful compositions are spiritually ecstatic and politically charged, influenced by her native South Indian Carnatic music, Alice Coltrane and free jazz, classical modernism, harsh noise, metal and punk. Rooted in harmonium (Indian pump organ) and synthesizer lines and drones, Kidambi draws a line from the ancient to the modern in her eclectic band. Elder Ones’ debut album Holy Science released in 2016 on Northern Spy Records, drew critical praise internationally from such publications as the New York Times, Pitchfork, Wire Magazine, Jazzwise and Music Magazine Japan. Kidambi will premiere her composition Lines of Light in 2018 inspired by Muhal Richard Abrams and Hildegard von Bingen, with an improvising vocal quintet for Emilie Lesbros (Darius Jones Quartet), Jean-Carla Rodea (Cecilia Lopez), Anais Maviel (William Parker) and Charmaine Lee (Nate Wooley duo).