Mycale at Pizza Express Dean St. 18th October
(Georgia Mancio’s ReVoice! Festival. Preview By Rob Edgar.)
Mycale are a New York based a-cappella vocal group who have been working closely with composer/saxophonist Jonh Zorn since 2009. Zorn has written a number of Klezmer based compositions of late starting with the first (and vast) Masada book for the Masada String trio and the Bar Kokhba Sextet among others and the second (equally huge) Book of Angels.
Continuing in a similar vein, Mycale will be performing their new commission from him. The 18th will feature: Israeli-American Tammy Scheffer, Israeli singer/composer Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, Argentinian Sofia Rei and Moroccan Malika Zarra
The night will consist primarily of Zorn’s compositions but the group have extemporised and arranged the music in their own way. As Ayelet Rose Gottlieb tells us: “we’ve been told that we have managed to create our own “language” within this a-cappella quartet… At the foundation is our music are the compositions of John Zorn, which in this case are melodic tunes, based on the “jewish scale”… but always with a twist that sends the pieces off to another place, beyond straight klezmer…on top of that are our arrangements, and text choices.”
The group themselves are from diverse musical and cultural hinterlands: “One of my favorite things about this group is that each of us brings her cultural background into it. it expresses itself in use of our native languages, but also in uses of text materials… Sofi brought Fernando Pessoa, Basya often draws on traditional Jewish texts, I love finding sources in contemporary poetry and Malika often prefers to write her own texts.”
Mycale are an extremely close band who rehearse often. Gottlieb explains “The A-cappella setting is one of the most challenging ways to make music… There are no masks, nowhere to hide… you are naked on stage every night, with a large spotlight to highlight your virtues and your flaws… YOU are IT! you are the bass, and the violin, and the guitar, and the cymbal… if one person gets lost for a moment or goes flat or sharp – there is true danger of the whole thing falling to pieces… so the responsibility is immense… we have to “hold each other” on each song. I guess to me that is the con and the pro of working in this setting. I love the challenge of it, and the intensity of it.
Mycale will be performing at Pizza Express Dean St on 18th October, the final night at Pizza Express in Georgia Mancio’s ReVoice! Festival. The action then moves to the Union Chapel. Support is Georgia Mancio and Pete Churchill.