Zorras in Cobourg!
October 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
I’m getting used to this thing of living in a town where only occasionally do interesting artistic things occur publicly. And then you really embrace them.
Tonight, the music/poetry/video performance troupe Zorras is appearing at Cathy Thomson’s amazing and tiny gallery, 22 Kings, at 22 King Street East. Cathy opened up just a couple months ago, but she’s already enriched this town immensely.
I hooked her up with my friend Sandra Alland, of Zorras, when I heard Zorras were coming from Scotland to do an Ontario/Quebec tour. I joined Zorras on the road for their Kingston gig at the Artel on Tuesday evening, and though I’d seen Zorras on video and heard Zorras on CD, I’d never experienced them live. They were fantastic. Personable, talented, spontaneous, and crowd-pleasing.
Here’s a little email interview I conducted with Sandra this week. Looking forward to tonight’s show! It starts at 8 pm. Previous to the show, Cathy is opening a really amazing photography exhibition by local artist Gary Mulcahey, at 7 pm.
Who is/are/am Zorras?
Zorras make poetry-music-video-weirdness fusion. With megaphones. Zorras are Sandra Alland (me) and Y. Josephine. Sometimes we also collaborate with Ariadna Battich. I compose and read/perform the poetry (and a few stories), and create most of the video work. Y composes the music; she also sings and plays guitar, electric bass and percussion. Ariadna makes some of our videos and assists with technical details.
Tell me about the genesis of Zorras.
Zorras formed in late 2007 in Edinburgh. Basically Y and I saw each other perform at an event and really dug what the other was doing. In December we met in a bookshop to rehearse, and had our first performance at Edinburgh’s Forest Cafe in January. At the beginning, we had the impulse to collaborate but little idea of exactly what we wanted to create. Surprisingly, though, we set the groundwork for our style quite early on. Over the years we’ve worked on better combining different media, so that now we’re creating work that’s more integrated.
How has Zorras enjoyed its Canadian tour so far: Toronto, St. Catharines, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa…
We have loved every minute of the tour so far. Grey Borders is a wonderful poetry series in St. Catharines at the Niagara Artists Centre — which is a gorgeous gallery with great tech and a lovely staff. We were fortunate enough to read with Aisha Sasha John, Shannon Maguire and Camille Martin. And we were piped in!
Toronto highlights include The Art Bar (after which some amazing guy ran down the street after us and handed us money), Inglenook High School (what a dream school), a secret patio concert with lovely old friends, the ever-fabulous Toronto Women’s Bookstore… and the amazing LAL, who came through for us with their beautiful space when The Ossington kicked out Toronto New School of Writing for a higher-paying customer. Rosina and Murr of LAL also joined us for one of our pieces, which was a huge honour. I also got to teach at Influency at U of T (Margaret Christakos’class). That was my first real experience of having my work studied, wow.
In Montreal we played Casa del Popolo thanks to VInce Tinguely… and the sizzling Gord Disley joined us onstage for one piece (he will again in Ottawa, ye-haw). Last night in Kingston was grand; Artel has another to-die-for space with a huge screen and excellent sound. The audience was small, but a downright dreamy group of people who we wouldn’t trade for a full stadium.
In short, we have been spoiled. Seeing old friends and meeting new ones, getting to experience some new work from old and new colleagues too. Next we rock Cobourg, then Ottawa.
Why Zorras in Cobourg?
Zorras in Cobourg because it’s a pretty cool town. It has bookshops, art galleries, a whole lot of artists and writers, at least one punk band, several tattoo shops, good coffee, a drive-in, a beach, many poodles, and Stuart Ross. And my lovely parents!
We’re really grateful to Cathy Thomson of 22 Kings Gallery for putting us up. And we get to perform near the works of Gary Mulcahey.
What does the future hold for Zorras?
We’re performing at Birmingham SHOUT in November, hosted by Amy Lame. I also have a photography/film/zine exhibition at Midlands Art Centre (Birmingham) for the month of November, in collaboration with the LGBTI Disabled & Deaf artists’ collective “b)other”. Then Zorras run off to Liverpool to perform at Homotopia. Then we sleep for a month. When we wake up, we call Ariadna and plan our intermedia performance/gallery installation for spring 2012 in Edinburgh.
Why, thank you, Zorras. And Hello, Cobourg.