May 15, 2013
Greetings from Antwerpen, Belgium. We’ve finally begun the rehearsals for YOU US WE ALL, the baroque opera that Shara is (still) composing. Many thanks to deSingel International Arts Campus (one of our producing partners) for providing us with rehearsal space for the next 2 weeks and for hosting a couple of readings (please come!) on May 28 & 29.
Inspired by the elaborate 17th century court masques, YOU US WE ALL begins with ultimate theatrical extravagances: the music, costume and stage are rich with a contemporary baroque – exaggerated decorative flourishes, allegorical and historical references. Everything is maximalist. Even the language is a hyper-hybrid of Middle English and contemporary colloquialisms.
The work unfolds in a series of episodes in which the characters reflect on the meaning of their everyday existence. As the characters LOVE, DEATH, HOPE and VIRTUE parade through the masque of their lives, TIME destroys everything. Gradually facades are stripped away until, ultimately, the performers are without clothes, architectural context or linguistic flourishes.
music: Shara Worden
text, direction, design: Andrew Ondrejcak
performed by Shara Worden, Helga Davis, Bernhard Landauer, Loten Namling
with BOX – baroque orchestration X
March 31, 2013
This is a busy Spring in Shara-land!
Check out all of the goings-on by jumping to the Tour Dates page. Amplified descriptions follow:
1) She will be performing 2 solo MBD sets at Rhthym n Blooms in Knoxville on April 5th.
2) She has just finished arranging new music for the marching band (Detroit Party Marching Band) that will be joining MBD for their gig in Detroit on April 10th as part of the Opening Night of Art X (a FREE event, which requires registration).
3) She will be singing with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at MusicNow in Cincinnati on April 13th.
5) On May 12th, she will be singing David Lang’s “death speaks” at the Barbican in London as part of their Nico Muhly extravaganza: A Scream and an Outrage.
6) Finally (and currently), she is knee-deep in composing the music for You Us We All, a baroque opera co-produced by deSingel International Arts Campus (Antwerp, Belgium) and the Hamburg International Summer Festival. The libretto has been written by Andrew Ondrejcak, who will also be directing. The performances will feature the instrumentalists of BOX Collective and vocalists Helga Davis, Bernhard Landauer, Loten Namling and, of course, Shara Worden. Additional choreography and acting by Jessica Dessner. Previews will be staged in the Theatre Studio at deSingel on May 28 & 29.
January 30, 2013
Penelope goes West Coast!
For those in the Portland, OR area, FearNoMusic presents Sarah Kirkland Snider’s acclaimed song cycle, Penelope, with Shara Worden at The Alberta Rose Theater on February 2, 2013 at 7:30 pm.
A New Sounds Live Presentation hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer
Shara has been busy punching piano keys, learning new music for the concert at Merkin Hall on Feb. 6th. She sings 9 new songs by Sarah Kirkland Snider & 3 new jams with Clogs (singing very high notes! oh my!), as well as 3 brand new My Brightest Diamond songs arranged for orchestra. Here’s more details:
Sarah Kirkland Snider presents her new work for seven vocalists and chamber orchestra,Unremembered, a 13-song cycle set to poetry (and with accompanying projected artwork) by New-York-based poet/writer Nathaniel Bellows, featuring vocal performances by DM Stith, Shara Worden andPadma Newsome. A cycle about memory, innocence and the ways we cope with an unpredictable world, the poems recall strange and beautiful happenings experienced during a childhood in rural Massachusetts.
Newsome will also appear with Clogs, the legendary hybrid band/chamber ensemble whose latest album was called “one of the most evocative and appealing records of the year, in any genre” (NPR).
(Please note it’s an “upper west side start time” ya’ll! 7:30 p.m.)
November 25, 2012
Tickets are here.
November 10, 2012
In the spirit of the Modernist motto “Make It New!”, the brilliant string quartet Brooklyn Rider returns to Chapel Hill with a carefully curated evening of music.
The program reflects on the influence of the great 20th century Modernists Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók, and features new works including world premieres composed by Colin Jacobsen, Shara Worden and John Zorn, and a recent new work by Gabriel Kahane.
Hailed as one of the most exciting and unconventional musical groups today, Brooklyn Rider explores the creative possibilities of the present through the lens of the historical quartet tradition and reimagines the string quartet as a vital 21st century ensemble.
Stravinsky Three Pieces for String Quartet (1914, rev. 1918)
Bartók String Quartet No. 2, Sz. 67 (1915-17)
John Zorn The Alchemist (2011)
Gabriel Kahane The Fiction Issue (2012) with Shara Worden
Colin Jacobsen Chalk and Soot, with Shara Worden with choreography by John Heginbotham (2012)*
Shara Worden Disconnect, Delay, Lean and Release, with choreography by John Heginbotham (2012)*
*Commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts
Classical music performances are made possible by The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust. We thank the Trustees for their visionary generosity and for encouraging others to support Carolina Performing Arts.
September 27, 2012
Shara has written the music for The Kings of Macedonia, a play by Andrew Ondrejcak. The compositions include brass quartet (featuring the amazing CJ Camerieri of yMusic), drums (the amazing Ted Poor) & choir (the amazing Khorikos). Shara will also be acting & singing in the role of The Whore. Other special guests include singer Helga Davis (Einstein on the Beach) and Tunde Adebimpe (TV on the Radio).
The play will be presented at The Prelude Festival in New York on October 4th at 8pm. It’s a FREE show!
Conceived as a modern telling of “The Canterbury Tales,” the “Kings of Macedonia” is a collection of moments from everyday life, in which ten characters search for meaning while en route to destinations they cannot quite pinpoint. Individually, they reflect on their own aptitude for inciting meaning within their lives and the lives of others; collectively, they look to the impulses within (and the vast unknown above) in the search for something, anything, to hold onto.
August 20, 2012
This Thursday, August 23rd, Shara will be performing a solo concert from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the garden of the MOMA in New York. This is concert is included with the price of admission to the museum! Come dressed as your favorite sculpture. Shara will be working in black and white themes in keeping with the colors of the marbled garden.
In other news, we are really excited to play on ”Soundcheck” with host John Schaefer on WNYC, this Friday at 2:30. Brian Wolfe will be on drums, along with Chris Tarry on bass, and the chamber ensemble yMusic!
July 16, 2012
In other news, we are coming to Italy & France next week! So we hope to see you there!
April 19, 2012
This Saturday, April 21st is Record Store Day! To celebrate, we are releasing ‘I Have Never Loved Someone’ 7″ in stores. The a side features ‘I Have Never Loved Someone’ recorded with Shara playing electric guitar. This version was inspired by the blogotheque video she recorded back in August. The b side is a version of Leonard Cohen’s song ‘Bird on a Wire’ which Shara recorded with the amazing guitarist, Marc Ribot.
After Record Store Day, it will be available online. You can buy direct from the label, see nowherefastrecords.
November 5, 2011
“Be Brave, dear one. Be ye changed or be undone.” Since I have several friends who are working with non-profits to raise awareness of this reality, and try to help prevent human trafficking, I decided this was a small thing I could do to help. I’ve known the founders of Love146 for 10 years and I trust them. I believe in their work. So I thought for starters, I could make a tee shirt, a little prayer, a hopeful wish for those people who are trapped, to trust that change will come.
If you would like to purchase this shirt, please visit Ink In Bloom. All proceeds go directly to Love146.
October 17, 2011
“All Things Will Unwind” is finally here on Asthmatic Kitty Records! Hooray!!! Party time! Last Friday we had a good celebration at Littlefield in Brooklyn with yMusic and our special guest, Marc Ribot. Detroit DJ Waajeed spun some hot records to get us in the mood for dancing and throwing pom poms.
Just FYI, iTunes is doing a special deal for the first week of sales where you can get the album for 30% off, so that’s $7.99 for each of the albums in the MBD catalog.
You can also find the CD or LP at your local record store, or order it from AK’s humble mail-order website by clicking here. We also have new Detroit-made MBD t-shirts that include an MP3 download for sale right here.
Thanks for the support everyone.
October 3, 2011
New Amsterdam label says, “Beautiful Mechanical, the group’s focused and stunning debut album, features compositions by indie- classical all-stars Annie Clark (St. Vincent) – a piece commissioned by the MusicNOW Festival, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Ryan Lott (Son Lux), Gabriel Kahane, and New Amsterdam Records co-founders Sarah Kirkland Snider and Judd Greenstein. The compositions are assured and fervent yet tender and humane, the performances delicate yet fiercely virtuosic, making for a cohesive album that stands as a manifesto of what music-making in the 21st century can – and should – be.”
When I first started “A Whistle, A Tune, A Macaroon”, I recorded myself whistling an improvised tune. Then I notated the melody for cello harmonics and began shaping the rest of the tune around it. Written for dancer Jessica Dessner, I imagined her graceful Butoh style movements, and the tune seemed to unfold itself.
September 27, 2011
If you live in the Detroit area and want to be in the next MBD video, please email us with a photo if possible!
mybrightestdiamond at gmail.com
We will be shooting on Saturday, Oct. 8th from 12:30-4:30 in Detroit.
Bring a friend! Bring your grandmother! (we need all ages, shapes and sizes!) Come join the fun!
September 20, 2011
The year 2010 was not the most joyous one for me to get a smart phone and start reading the news. Maybe I was sheltered before, or maybe I was recovering from my own tragedies, so that I couldn’t take in what was happening on a larger scale. But I broke down & traded in my old phone for a screen slider and started to look around. Environmental disasters were in the headlines everyday- a tsunami in Chile, an oil spill in the Gulf, a flood in Pakistan, an image of Adelie penguins hovering over their eggs which were submerged by snowmelt caused by global warming. Human injustices also seemed to increase. The numbers of child sex slavery were astounding. Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo was held under house arrest and not allowed to take the prize awarded for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. In November, the great composer Gorecki died and I remember that weekend clearly, listening to the work and reading the lyrics in his beautiful Symphony No. 3, the lament of a mother who has lost her son in war. In listening to his music, I began weeping over human injustice. This was the context in which I started writing.
At first the song “Be Brave” began with a chant “I do dear Dodo I do dance for you”. Yes, a terrible lyric, but that was the sentiment I was reaching for. I wanted to make my own rain dance, a way of calling upon the gods to bring change. I started researching (and by “research” I mean, watching YouTube) the traditions of prayer dances, watching wise old Cherokee chiefs talk about nature, about our relationship to the earth and to one another. Finally, the lyrics started to come for the song- a lament, a lecture to myself for behavioral change, a demand for bravery and for hard work.
I am a bird in water, a whale on sand, I am the flood, the fire, the oil spill…
August 27, 2011
After meeting on a tv show in Manchester, England, Stateless frontman, Chris James decided to write a duet for Shara. This he did, then hopped on a plane to New York where the two recorded the song “I’m On Fire” and filmed the video, directed by Anne Paas, in a ship graveyard. Yes, there were crabs, spiders and bloodsucking critters, and Shara lost a pair of Wellies, but it was worth it.
Shara said, “Singing with Stateless’ Chris James was a truly effortless musical experience. Rarely do two singers share so much in feeling and phrasing. “