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avec Ensemble Paramirabo et Thin Edge New Music Collective

avec Ensemble Paramirabo et Thin Edge New Music Collective

Montreal’s Ensemble Paramaribo and Toronto’s Thin Edge New Music Collective are in Montreal tomorrow night to present their second collaborative touring project: Raging Against the Machine : Coming Together. This project brings together musicians and composers from various cultural, geographical and linguistic backgrounds and addresses current political reality. We asked the musicians a few questions on the themes addressed in the programme and on their roles as artists and curators.

Q: You’re performing Frederic Rzewski’s “Coming Together” a piece based on a letter written in 1971 by Sam Melville. Melville was an inmate at Attica State Prison who died in an uprising in the New York facility later that year. How does your programme reflect on his struggle and broader themes of resistance?

A: Resistance is definitely a central theme of the Raging Against the Machine concert programme. This concept of oppression and resistance is also displayed in Colin Labadie’s new work ‘From the Horse’s Mouth.’ In the current political climate, we (EP + TENMC) strongly believe that as artists and creators we need to examine and question the direction that our society is taking.

Q: In your promo video you superimpose a quote by Donald Trump – “you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families”- on images of your musicians. Is this a reference to a rising tide of authoritarianism? Do you feel a threat to your community, your “family”?

A: Yes. As creatively-minded people, we think it is difficult not to feel under attack at the moment. World-wide we are seeing a rise of the far-right and all the restrictions on our personal rights that go with that. The performing artists on stage for RATM are from varied cultural backgrounds and identify with other marginalized groups – we hope that this programme sends the message that we are stronger together. The RATM project itself has been about building bridges across linguistic and cultural boundaries from the very beginning as it reunites performers from two of Canada’s biggest cities with composers from across the country. The concept of sharing our ressources is also a pivotal part of the programme as represented by the ‘composer exchange’ between the two groups.

Q: Classical music is often perceived as an art form of privilege, meant for the elite. Do you agree with this? What kinds of impacts do networks of privilege have on your work as a group?

A: Classical music has historically been an art-form associated with the elite (aristocracy and academia). We choose to view our role differently, believing that there is a way to connect with a larger audience without compromising our artistic integrity. Our version of Yannis Kyriakides’ ‘Karaoke Etudes’ clearly displays this desire to branch out and bring a more whimsical note to the programme.

artist2017 - Paramirabo-ThinEdge

Find out more about the March 2 2017 concert Raging Against the Machine : Coming Together with Ensemble Paramirabo and Thin Edge New Music Collective.

Image credit: Lou Scamble / Video editing: Laurent Aglat

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