Women From Space Festival 2022

Source: Women From Space Festival.

The four nights of this year’s event are bursting with a huge variety of boundary-pushing talent.

Legendary Torontonian polymath Sook-Yin Lee has done everything from VJing on MuchMusic to directing films. Lee brings her unbridled imagination to the Women From Space stage with a solo set in the festival’s closing slot. Sisters Tiffany Ayalik and Inuksuk Mackay, better known as PIQSIQ, merge ancient traditions and innovative atmospherics in their singular exploration of Inuit throat singing.

Endlessly versatile pianist Marilyn Lerner has collaborated with everyone from Sonny Greenwich to Jane Bunnett and performed in idioms such as jazz, free improv, klezmer, and contemporary music. One of Lerner’s closest collaborators, New Brunswick-based trumpet player and composer Nicole Rampersaud is an equally engaging soloist. She will offer up her seemingly endless vocabulary on the instrument.

Montréal bass clarinetist Lori Freedman has also gathered considerable acclaim for her vast, expressive technical lexicon and here she’s matched with noted trombone improviser Scott Thomson, who shares her profound sonic curiosity. Seven-piece mutant disco powerhouse TUSH promises a propulsive burst of dancefloor-friendly groove. Singer-songwriter Ronley Teper channels a vast array of peculiar characters as she performs alongside her band the Lipliners.

Noted flautist and contemporary music interpreter Sara Constant has performed an expansive array of work all over the globe and will distill her rich experience in focussed solo engagement. Meanwhile brilliant performers Isabelle Clermont, Grace Scheele, Kathryn Merriam, and Elysha Vorstenbosch join forces in what promises to be a momentous and mesmerizing sonic occasion: a harp quartet.

Discipline-defying content has always been central to Women From Space, and this edition continues to merge music with other media. Kim Farris-Manning and An-Laurence Higgins’ ongoing collaboration Paramorph Collective employs a dynamic creation process to generate works that embrace sound, poetry, performance and visual media. Shadow puppeteer Kristine White, dancer Bee Pallomina, and percussionist Germaine Liu perform an ambitious large-scale work aimed at exploring ecology, plant mythology, and the more-than-human world.

The Toronto Star once characterized multi-dimensional musician Lisa Conway, AKA L CON as “bound for greatness, even if she doesn’t realize it yet” and this year she performs alongside multidisciplinary artist Emma Ongman. Vibraphonist Racha Moukalled will be debuting a set of homages to the paintings of Hilma Af Klint with violinist Aline Homzy and Beth Brown on oboe. Meanwhile artist, Ilyse Krivel will obliquely connect the music back its source through realtime visuals.

Following their riveting online team-up under the auspices of Understory last year, festival co-founder Kayla Milmine (saxophone) and stalwart Nova Scotia guitar improviser Geordie Haley will intertwine behind the visceral work of celebrated performance artist Peter Morin. Voice-and-movement artist Susanna Hood’s trio will also feature Milmine’s playing as well as gifted Toronto pianist Tania Gill. Together they’ll perform Hood’s idiosyncratic arrangements of songs written by Judith Malina and composed by Steve Lacy.

This year’s programming also includes a co-presentation with the aforementioned remote-collaboration series Understory. Said event features the unusual partnership between vaporwave practitioner Dot Starkey, operatic vocalist Neema Bickersteth and flautist, dancer and choreographer Jessica McMann. The festival will also partner with coexisDance to present a collaborative program from two revered multidisciplinary artists: Aisha Sasha-John and Brenda Joy Lem.