Re:Vision – Penn Kemp and Anne Anglin

 

Penn Kemp and Anne Anglin

Penn Kemp and Anne Anglin

Photos by Larry Steel

Re:Vision – Ruth Douthwright, Brenda & Robert Menegoni

 

Ruth Douthwright (dancing) Brenda and Robert Menegoni

Ruth Douthwright (dancing) Brenda and Robert Menegoni

Photos by Larry Steel

Re:Vision w/ Penn Kemp Aeolian Hall, Aug. 15 ’09

Brenda and Robert Menegoni

 

Re:Vision, Brenda and Robert Menegoni

Re:Vision, Brenda and Robert Menegoni

Photos by Larry Steel

Great Review of our Seasonal Song Cycle with Poet Penn Kemp!

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Poetry of Penn Kemp: participating in “a seasonal song cycle of ecco poetry” 

When a poetry reading is accompanied by choric chant, dancing and audience participation, it creates, as owner and director of “Aeolian Hall” Clark Bryan says, a “sacred place”. And it did. And when the poet is Penn Kemp, activist, publisher and artist who’s known for taking the “textual & aural boundaries” of language into a uniquely Canadian avant-garde, the poetry reading can sing to its own sacred energies. And it did. 


This “Summer Soirée Festival Event” at London’s “Aeolian Performing Arts Centre”played to a full audience, privileged (as Maria and I were) to view “a seasonal song cycle of ecco poetry”, the lyrics of Penn Kemp wonderfully transformed into music and dance accompaniment. The tempo (as how could it not) alternated with great skill and precision between the dithyrambic, lyrical and elegiac: every stage in the cycle drew on the powers of language, movement and sound to tell the tale (‘epic’ in scope) of seasonal growth, the world’s present disaster-course and the hope of regeneration. Both social awareness and healing that lie at the basis of Penn’s sound opera and her poetics, both at one incredible reading. 

Ruth Douthwright’s interpretive dance evoked the very primal motions of living and dying, hands, arms and feet shaped into seasonal winds, rains, while artists Anne Anglin, Brenda McMorrow, and Rob Menegoni created through vocals, music and percussion the “paeans of praise or rant” necessary to give essential voice to what Penn describes as a “MotherWorld’s enChantments”. From the striking of the Keiso through the rhythmic refrains and to the exotic Djembe and cymbals, Penn’s reading was designed to elicit response, at one moment holding an audience in reverential silence and the next releasing it to the poem’s wildest impulses. 


I celebrate the ‘ecco’ in her ecco poetry, enjoying the playful senses of language, sound-effect and ecology activism that inform Penn’s work, as also the whole Art-and-social change impetus of “The Aeolian Performing Arts Centre”: for I believe the two are of a piece. The website announces “Aeolian” not just as a Heritage site but a place where culture lives in partnership with the local community. Since it’s run for profit, undistracted by the politics of funding, it meets a real need for the type of Art that matters: one that’s self-generated, innovative and sensitive to social change. Marion Drysdale’s Black Madonnas and AIDS art hang on the walls as a visual representation of the Art and social activism nexus which”Aeolian” was created by Clark Bryan to promote. I celebrate Clark as true cultural entrepreneur


And, of course, I celebrate Penn Kemp, artistic spirit of MotherWorld poetics whose work in Sound Opera and videopoetry will form the subjects of a later blog post. Meeting her for the first time only confirmed my impression of her as visionary, artist and one of Canada’s greatest literary innovators. As I saw Penn after the performance move gracefully among a crowd of friends and supporters, receiving thanks, embracing everyone she met, I couldn’t help thinking that the words of the third Chorus served appropriately as homage to someone who’s been for many years an active, engaged and always inspiring presence in Canadian poetry: “There you are in moments, between friends, among many. (There you are, again).” 

August Happenings!

18More info about this and more August events here: Brenda’s August Newsletter

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We invite you to a magical whirl of poems set in song and dance to the interplay of call and response. Come celebrate enChantments that embrace the art of co-creation and several creative art forms as we recreate the wheel of a year, weaving vocals, electroacoustic composition and dance!

Saturday, August 15, 2009, 8 pm.  An Aeolian Summer Soirée Festival Event

Re:Vision, a seasonal song cycle of Penn Kemp’s Ecco Poetry with musician and composer Brenda McMorrow; dancer Ruth Douthwright; drummer Rob Menegoni; second voice Anne Anglin; electroacoustic composers John Magyar and Chris Meloche.  We invite you to join us in a participatory performance that will raise the roof of the beloved Aeolian and reverberate through realms of possibility… Come celebrate our MotherWorld in sound and song!  This evening will be recorded for a forthcoming Pendas CD,Spinning Possibilities.
The Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. E., London.  Contact and more info: 519 672-7950,  info@aeolianhall.cawww.aeolianhall.ca

Penn Kemp and Brenda McMorrow

Rehearsing Re:Vision (Performance Aug. 15, Aeolian Hall, London)

 

Penn Kemp, Ruth Douthwright, Lilly, Brenda rehearsing for Aug. 15 performance

Penn Kemp, Ruth Douthwright, Lilly, Brenda rehearsing for Aug. 15 performance

Brenda and Ruth Douthwright rehearsing for Re:Vision w/ Penn Kemp

Brenda and Ruth Douthwright rehearsing for Re:Vision w/ Penn Kemp

The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual – namely to You. ~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1892

Re:Vision – A Season Song Cycle w/ Penn Kemp, Brenda McMorrow & Pals at Aeolian Hall, London, Sat. August 15

 

 

Re:Vision - A Seasonal Song Cycle with Penn Kemp and Brenda McMorrow

Re:Vision - A Seasonal Song Cycle with Penn Kemp and Brenda McMorrow

 

 

Press Release:

Saturday, August 15, 2009, 8 pm. An Aeolian Summer Soirée Festival Event

Re:Vision, a seasonal song cycle of Penn Kemp’s Ecco Poetry with musician and composer Brenda McMorrow; dancer Ruth Douthwright; drummer Rob Menegoni; second voice Anne Anglin; electroacoustic composers John Magyar and Chris Meloche. We invite you to join us in a participatory performance that will raise the roof of the beloved Aeolian and reverberate through realms of possibility… Come celebrate our MotherWorld in sound and song! This evening will be recorded for a forthcoming Pendas CD, Spinning Possibilities.
The Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas St. E., London. Contact and more info: 519 672 7950, info@aeolianhall.ca, www.aeolianhall.ca 

Anne Anglin is a Dora Award winning actor and director. This year, she directed Bill Gilliam’s radio drama/new music concert at the Music Gallery in Toronto. She has directed and performed in many Sound Operas with Penn since their first production, Trance Dance Form, in 1976.

Ruth Douthwright is a contemporary dancer originally from London. She performs and choreographs with companies and producers worldwide, including L’Inattendue Compagnie (Belgium), Frey Faust’s Ardent Body Communications Dance Company, Florence Figols, Sarah Bild (Montreal) and Noh Theatre- Kyoto Arts Center.

Penn Kemp is Western’s writer-in-residence for 2009-10. Since Coach House Press published her first book in 1972, Penn has been pushing textual and aural boundaries, often in participatory performance work. Among her publications are twenty five books of poetry and drama, ten CDs of Sound Opera and several video poems.

John Magyar is a recording engineer, producer and long-time collaborator on most of Penn’s CDs and Sound Operas, starting with What the Ear Hears Last in 1999.

Brenda McMorrow, our Devotional Chant artist, began her musical career as a singer/ songwriter, co-founding the London folk/rock band, Julia Propeller. Brenda’s rich musical exploration led her from folk to jazz and now, in her debut Kirtan album, Ameya, to her unique blend of original melodies, world beats and sacred chants from India.

Chris Meloche is an electroacoustic composer and radio show host/producer of Wired for Sound on CHRW. His most recent project, Communication Breakdown, is a spoken word multi-media alt.opera.

Robert Menegoni has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years, touring with many different artists. Robert plays percussion with Barenaked Ladies and recently has performed Kirtan with Brenda McMorrow, Lila, and Todd Norian.