Something Else! Festival First Artists Announced

Source: ZULA Presents.

Since its inception in 2014, Zula Presents’ Something Else! Festival has rapidly become a vital and important presence in the North American experimental music circuit. Its curious outlook is rooted in jazz, yet its reach continues to extend in a dizzying array of different directions, boasting energetic performances in intimate and unique settings, including unforeseen one-of-a-kind collaborations between major musical innovators. This year’s event takes place from June 18th to 21st at Rock On Locke (Church of St. John the Evangelist), Whitehern Garden, Hamilton Public Library, and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. And even though most acts have yet to be announced, the preliminary roster of its seventh edition already holds tremendous promise.

Pianist/ composer Matthew Shipp is defned by defantly unclassifable approach, swerving gleefully between out-jazz, electronics, modern classical, and hip-hop. He’s played alongside everyone from David S. Ware to DJ Spooky, wayward rappers Anti-Pop Consortium to Roscoe Mitchell. He’ll be heard solo and with one of his most frequent collaborators, Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman, another player of restless reinvention who has worked alongside Paul Bley, Rashied Ali, Joanne Brackeen and Elton Dean (of the Soft Machine). His remarkable synergy with Shipp is documented across numerous recordings on the famed Leo imprint.

Hailing from rural Niger, Les Filles de Illighadad have risen to international prominence as some of the foremost ambassadors of Tuareg music worldwide. Founder Fatou Seidi Ghali is alleged to be the frst professional female guitarist to have emerged from the cultural group. Since their 2016 self-titled debut on Sahel Sounds, they’ve continued to cultivate their own singular take on the Saharan guitar sound described “heavy, meditative, and tender” by the New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich. We’re teaming up with fellow Hamiltonians Strangewaves to bring you this exciting co-presentation!

Chicago’s Mars Williams might be most visible as a member of the Psychedelic Furs, but his career as a saxophonist is a total anomaly, spanning recordings with Hal Russell on ECM to appearances with Ministry, a featured artist slot at fable free jazz institution the Moers festival, to Grammy nominations with Liquid Soul. His duo with Norwegian drummer Tollef Østvang is suitably dynamic and peculiar, juxtaposing spacious sonic exploration with duo electricity that nods in the direction of Interstellar Space.

Canadian pianist Eve Egoyan is one of the most celebrated interpreters of the music of living composers. Known for her collaborations with the composers spanning John Oswald to Linda Catlin Smith, Maria de Alvear to Michael Finnissy, her recording of the late Ann Southam’s Simple Lines of Enquiry garnered glowing appraisals from the Wire, Maclean’s, and the New Yorker’s Alex Ross, who listed among 10 Exceptional Recordings of 2009. She’ll be joining this year’s festival to offer a program that draws upon her fascinating and idiosyncratic repertoire.

Trumpeter Ellwood Epps’ Togetherness! is nothing short of a Montréal supergroup, offering bold uplifting renditions of repertoire by Abdullah Ibrahim, Dudu Pukwana, Don Cherry, and, among others, Epps himself. Featuring lauded saxophonist and musique actuelle innovator Jean Derome, Guelph Jazz Festival artistic director Scott Thomson (trombone), bassist Stéphane Diamantakiou and drummer Ivan Bamford (Land of Kush), collectively they steer their driving grooves in toward surprising destinations.

The singular and slyly virtuosic trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud was EVERYSEEKER’s (fka OBEY Convention) inaugural composer-in-residence last year. Her keen textural imagination is a major part of outfts like Brodie West’s Eucalyptus and c_RL with Allison Cameron and Germaine Liu. Brass Knuckle Sandwich is her duo with brilliant keyboard colourist Marilyn Lerner, one of Canada’s most imaginative and eclectic performers. Lerner’s music was touted by the Penguin Guide to Jazz as demanding “a far wider hearing than it has so far received… Brilliant!”