It’s hard to believe that women make up approximately 20% of the professional jazz world. From composers, instrumentalists and singers, this music genre has an unhappy imbalance in the male-to-female ratio. It’s stats like that which prompted the good folk at Birds Eye Film to raise the profile of some of the ridiculously talented women striving for a successful career in jazz.
The Birds Eye View Festival takes flight from 8th – 13th April 2014 at the BFI, ICA and Barbican in London. As well as a hefty selection of films of all genres hailing and illuminating the wonderful work women do in cinema, they are deepening their exploration into the music that makes the movies with their Sound & Silents 2014: Women In Jazz project taking place throughout the festival. Beyond this, their celebration of women in jazz will extend to events touring at Watershed – Bristol and Hyde Park Picturehouse – Leeds plus more to be confirmed in April and May.
If you love the class of black and white silent movies and the style of modern jazz, this will be music to your ears. Sound & Silents features three new live music commissions by cutting-edge female musicians to accompany classic silent films featuring key female creatives.
This includes a newly-commissioned full-length song cycle by acclaimed singer/composer and former Perrier Jazz Vocalist of the Year Niki King (pictured above), accompanying the 1920s sophisticated love triangle comedy Why Change Your Wife? featuring a radiant performance by Gloria Swanson. Niki King sings Wild Is The Wind below.
The programme also sees the return of the 2013 sell-out score by jazz / East African artist Amira Kheir (2011’s ‘View from Somewhere’) providing the score to the Arabian Night-based Sumurun (One Arabian Night) – a fantasy-drama of forbidden love based on the ‘Arabian Nights’ with a multi-instrumental ensemble and is a pioneering collaboration between director Ernst Lubitsch and star Pola Negri.
Watch Amira Kheir in performance below.
To round off the trio of events, pianist-composer Lola Perrin’s jazz and minimalist influenced score will accompany the pyschosexual drama The Wind – a visually-stunning gothic drama of suppressed sexuality starring ‘first lady of the silent screen’ Lillian Gish.
Full details and tickets
Niki King: live score for Why Change Your Wife?
Premiere: Thu 10 April 2014, 6.10pm, BFI Southbank, London
Tickets £15 / £11.50 concs. Box office: 020 7928 3232 / bfi.org.uk
Lola Perrin: live score for The Wind
Wed 9 April, 7pm, Electric Cinema, London
Tickets £18. Box office: 020 7908 9696 / electriccinema.co.uk
+ Wed 30 April 2014, 6pm, Watershed (Bristol).
Tickets £8.00 / £6.00. Box Office: 0117 927 5100 / watershed.co.uk
Amira Kheir: live score for Sumurun (One Arabian Night)
Fri 11 April 2014, 7pm, Barbican, London
Tickets £11.50 / £10.50 concs. Box office: 020 7638 8891 / barbican.org.uk
+ Hyde Park Picturehouse, Leeds (call for confirmed details)
Tickets £8.00 / £6.50 concs. Box office: 0113 275 2045 / hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk
Check out the Birds Eye View Festival site for full program and ticket details.
Birds Eye View is supported by Arts Council England and the PRS for Music Foundation.