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Uncharted: Dana Lyn, Charlie Burnham + Marika Hughes: Songs About Communal Living
Wednesday, May 18
Doors at 7:30 PM, Show at 8:00 PM
DANA LYN, CHARLIE BURNHAM + MARIKA HUGHES:
Songs About Communal Living
Composer, violin-viola player and bandleader Dana Lyn’s COVID years were undeniably, frustratingly productive. “On one hand, I got a lot of writing done and I tackled some overdue animation work I would never have fit into my schedule otherwise. But as an active musician who is accustomed to and grateful for a full performance life in the city, I really missed playing with people and being a part of the community of artists that develops when you’re creating new work. As soon as we were able to meet in person, I reached out to Charlie and Marika to make music together. We’ve been friends for over a decade, so the project came out of an impulse of recovery.”
Lyn and her bandmates, cellist Marika Hughes and vocalist-violinist Charlie Burnham, are all busy and much-in-demand session musicians. Their friendship provided the backbone of this collaboration. “Charlie asked me to write a few duets so we would have some basic structures to play around with,” Lyn says. “We asked Marika to join us, which was an organic choice given how much time we spend together, just as friends. The hunger that I had for community during the pandemic imbues this music with a feeling that any listener could relate to as genuine and heartfelt. We’re not aiming to impress. We play to engage, firstly with each other and now with our audiences.”
This recently-created trio is a step into the spotlight for these superstar side-people. “None of us present as traditionally ‘classical’ musicians, with all of the baggage and presumption that comes with that label,” Lyn tells us. “Charlie hails from a blues and jazz background; Marika and I both were classically trained but ditched that path long ago to become improvisors and creative musicians. I wouldn’t classify what I write as ‘new music’ in the classical sense, and contrary to a lot of contemporary classical music, I still write melodies and harmonies. I also wrote this music specifically for Charlie and Marika, to highlight their respective skill sets, so there is also a great deal of improvisation written into these pieces. I think our notion of a string ensemble is likely to sound different from what many might expect.”
“For our Uncharted show, we will be performing a set of my compositions, mostly written during the pandemic. A few of them are meditations on the weirdly quiet New York City landscape we suddenly found ourselves in, but most are explorations of reconnection: being closer friends and co-creators, reclaiming our lives again as social beings and finally back to our roles as live performers. We have plans to record at the end of the summer, so this will give us a chance to try these songs out in front of an audience, some for the first time.”
Multi-instrumentalist and composer Dana Lyn has been commissioned by Brooklyn Rider, A Far Cry and Palaver Strings and regularly performs with Stew, actor Vincent D’Onofrio, and performance artist Taylor Mac. She is a 2020 NYFA Women’s Fund Grant Recipient and a 2021 Sundance Composer Fellow.
Violinist and singer Charlie Burnham is legendary for his thick, soulful sound. He has graced albums by James Blood Ulmer, Living Colour, Cassandra Wilson, MTO, and Medeski Martin & Wood among many others.
Native New Yorker, cellist, singer and storyteller Marika Hughes “makes a joyful noise at the intersection of classical, jazz and experimental avenues (Mark Corroto, All About Jazz).” She has worked with Whitney Houston, Anthony Braxton, Adele, Henry Threadgill, Idina Menzel, and Taylor Mac.
All three are improvisers and active participants in the vibrant Brooklyn musical community. Their respective friendships stretch back for over fifteen years. In 2021, Lyn, Burnham and Hughes came together as a string trio when Lyn was inspired to write music that contrasts the frenetic energy of pre-pandemic life with the eerie calm that settled over much of New York City during the spring of 2020.