Arkora is a new music collective dedicated to contemporary vocal chamber music in its many forms. The concept for the group was born in 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia at the premiere of Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge, a production involving co-founders Kathleen Allan and Benton Roark that came to symbolize the collective's multi-faceted vision. At once hybrid and interdisciplinary, this vision was refined over the following years into a mission of collaboration, commissioning, recording, and innovation in concert production that led to the group's official debut at Newfoundland's Sound Symposium XVII in 2014. Their inaugural season has continued with a performance at Roulette in Brooklyn (presented by Ear Heart Music), the release of Roark’s Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge on Redshift Records, and cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists such as Austin-based film-maker Jeanne Stern. As an ensemble, Arkora is made up of a rotating cast of affiliate artists fluent in genres as diverse as early music, indie rock, contemporary chamber, and black box opera based in locales throughout North America such as Toronto, New Haven, Vancouver, St. John's, New York, and Atlanta. Next season, the collective looks forward to collaborating with Vancouver's Fugue Theatre in the premiere of the darkly comic music theatre work, Off Leash.
Debut EP released: Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge
On March 24th, Arkora released Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge (Redshift Records) at Roulette in Brooklyn with a performance presented by Ear Heart Music. Described as an “intense inward journey” (Vancouver Courier) and a "dream-like state" (Musetta Stone), this five-part cycle is a mythopoetic journey across the threshold of psychic rupture and back again. The evening also featured the premiere of Austin-based artist Jeanne Stern's hauntingly exquisite film created to complement the piece. Written and premiered in Vancouver, BC in 2012, Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge is a delicate and evocative melding of poetry and instrumental timbre that creates a shimmering world of questions and bittersweet nostalgia. Exploring the psychological phenomenon of depersonalization, the poetic impetus stems from the rainshadow (the elusive shadow of sun in the rainy Northwest) as a metaphor for relativism in perception of self and the world. With sung poetry by the composer punctuated by spoken passages on the subject by authors such as Huxley, Carroll, Amiel, and Sartre, the arc of the music and text leads the listener through diverse perspectives on the subject from existentialist, Buddhist, and Jungian philosophies.
Arkora: Songs from the Rainshadow's Edge
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Fall 2015: Off Leash (with Fugue Theatre)
Studio 16, Vancouver, BC