Resolution of Sound

speaks to Samra Mayana – one of the organisers behind an innovative evening that fuses music, poetry and art


Image: Samra Mayana

Putting creative, talented people together and giving them an evening to to improvise and innovate, Resolution on Sound is event that fuses and poetry, music and art. And it’s all based in York, in the starkly beautiful Stained Glass Centre on Micklegate.

Samra Mayana, a third year economics student, and Sapphire Littler, third year music, are the force behind all of this, and have managed to balance the organisational onslaught with a slew of exams and dissertation work. But if anyone could handle it, well, these two could – they’re creative whirlwinds. bopping around brimful of enthusiasm and vision. Sapphire is heavily involved in the contemporary music scene at York and Samra has organised various spoken-word poetry events but Resolution of Sound is set to be the thrilling culmination. As Samra herself says: ‘In some ways, I suppose this is really what I’ve been working towards. I started off with a few Slay on Words poetry nights, and that made me realise just how much is possible.’

Sapphire and Samra’s friendship them realise the potential in pooling creatives interests. As Samra said, ‘Sapphire knows so much about contemporary music and really introduced me to it, so I’ve learnt a from from being friends with her, and she’s learnt a lot about spoken word poetry from me. It was just staring at us all along: this need to combine our skills and interests and formulate a project. So that’s where Resolution on Sound came from.’ The evening revolves around seven contemporary composers who have each created a piece of music with a local spoken word poet, with the final result reflecting the process of collaborative inspiration and ingenuity.

When someone is enthusiastic about they do and create, it’s exhilarating to get caught up in it and learn from them. That’s exactly what Samra and Sapphire shared, and they’re hoping to extend that to others. In addition to unveiling new creativity, Samra also notes ‘For me, it’s really important to try to bring people together who wouldn’t otherwise meet. The poet and composer elements come from that, and so do the workshops for over 60s and under 19s. There are so many people in the community who have similar interests and ideas, but have to find a way to get them together and get it all flowing. Ideally, people end up formulating something they could never have imagined doing.’

So Sapphire and Samra, with a healthy dose of DIY spirit, worked out a way to bring these people together. And in doing so, they’ve laid the groundwork for different creative people to collaborate and see what blooms when their diverse talents are amalgamated. Samra reckons, ‘The reason why this project matters and will hopefully offer something different, is because, apart from us selecting the composers and poets involved, it’s an entirely organic process. The result, what actually comes out of it, that’s something we haven’t directed at all. It’s a very organic process, using the dialogue between composers and poets to create something completely unique.’

And this uniqueness isn’t just reserved for the performances on the night. The whole concept of the night is completely unique – it simply doesn’t appear to be happening anywhere else! Although Samra’s been to an event in London that featured both contemporary composers and some spoken word poetry, there was no fusion. ‘It was like two separate events really, music with some poetry dropped in at the end. A real combination of the two just isn’t happening – in York or anywhere else. Not in Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, London. So although this isn’t the first ever time contemporary music and spoken word poetry have been considered together, it does seem to be the first they’ve been properly combined to make something original – totally fresh and new.’

However, the night isn’t exclusively focused on the performances. Riding high on this effervescent spirit of collaboration, they’re also displaying visual artwork. Six artists, students at the university, have created a poster series in response to buildings in York. ‘We had to choose some buildings, places we felt represented various aspects of York. So we went for Stonebow, which, apart from the university, is the only example of Brutalism. But even that’s changing now because they’re redeveloping it. And with that imminent change in mind, we saw it reflected in St Mary’s Abbey. It’s a gothic, benedictine monastery, even larger than the Minster, but it was demolished during the Reformation. So, we’ve got a parallel between something that is a ruin, a relic of history and a place like Stonebow, which is effectively on its way to becoming a ruin, and another relic of a moment in British history.’

With poems ranging in subject matter and music composed directly in response to these poems, Resolution of Sound is certainly set to be a richly varied night. And don’t forget the art, improvised performance, a well-stocked bar and similarly curious and enthusiastic audience members. Wh wouldn’t want to witness organic, creative forces come together and go with the imagination-fuelled flow.

Resolution of Sound: tonight, 7.00 pm, Saturday 3rd June, at The Stained Glass Centre, Micklegate.

Tickets can bought here: https://www.resolutionofsound.com/tickets

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