MadMimi News from Alison Blunt

Hello dear friends, I hope this message finds you in good spirits. Here are some news and ramblings for your delectation/rumination. You can check this news page for updates, I'll add to the page intermittently. Thanks so much for reading this, I appreciate your time and interest. Love, Alison created 17.7.17, updated 20.9.17

Honoured to be part of Riot Ensemble director Aaron Holloway-Nahum's podcast series ‘Chest of Toys’ exploring the “cacophonous stories from the world of new music.” This one is about why I make the music I make. #ChestofToys 11 mins, 56 secs
A short written interview for Cumbria Music Hub
*Female Improvisers in London: Interview with Alison Blunt

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Alison Blunt, Afla Sackey and Yaw Asumadu leading a Creative Futures event for 0-5s and their adults. Photo credit Julian Knight 2017

For me, being a creative musician doesn't make sense without opportunities to explore and create with diverse groups...
One of my favourite one-off workshop engagements in the last few months was with master musicians Afla Sackey and Yaw Asumadu. Yaw, Afla and I are old friends and colleagues and together we led vocal, movement and instrumental workshops with families and nurseries for a special event in an Under Fives programme managed and run by Creative Futures in Queen's Park, London. It was really fun to work together again and share music, song and culture from around the world with children and their adults <3

'Steps into Music' is an Early Years family music drop-in programme that I've been facilitating at a Children's Centre in Hackney for many years, the last few years brilliantly co-managed with Creative Futures. Together, babes-in-arms, toddlers, pre-schoolers, parents, carers, grandparents and other family members, we explore multicultural and multilingual song, movement & music each Monday morning. Actually, we only have 1 more morning of sessions before the council/government cuts-driven summer break (just when families most need weekly free-of-charge activities to continue [sigh]) before we resume in September. Last week's we had an incredible experience with one of our parent artists Francisco Amoscotegui who soothed us all playing his flute, didgeridoo and huge gongs. FANTASTIC.

Internationally renowned musicians and teachers, Yaw Asumadu and Yousuf Ali Khan have been guest music artist/teachers this term at the primary school I mentioned in my news earlier this year. The combined input from these two master drummers hailing respectively from Ghana and Bangladesh has had fantastic effect on the children's musicianship from Nursery right through to Year 6. I cannot compliment Yaw, Yousuf or the children enough on their work together. An essential ingredient of this success was the school agreeing to hire nagara drums, djembes and congas from World Beaters Arts and Cuture, brilliant! Thanks for these amazing instruments!

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Keynote presentation by the fantastic Raymond Macdonald; "Space is the Place: Improvisation as site for children's creative development.

My 1 day attendance of the annual MERYC EU conference, this year held in Cambridge, was kindly enabled by Sound Connections' London Early Years Music Leader Network. I was delighted to contribute to World Beaters' presentation - Luton Roma Music Project: A multi-agency approach to music delivery to disenfranchised communities by World Beaters Arts and Culture, Luton Roma Trust and Building Blocks Children's Centre. Our mini workshop and presentation was well-received and I found some other presentations really thought-provoking and inspiring, but easily, the highlight of the day for me was the Keynote presentation by the fantastic Raymond Macdonald; "Space is the Place: Improvisation as site for children's creative development." To witness the overall excited reaction and to hear how inspiring conference colleagues found Raymond's presentation was truly life-enhancing for me...something about my artist and educator/facilitator identities coming together <3

Alison Blunt rehearsing with Berlin Improvisers Orchestra. Photo c Norbert Artner 2011

Alison Blunt rehearsing with Berlin Improvisers Orchestra. Photo c Norbert Artner 2011

Some teaching and workshop programmes continue through the summer, some stop and resume in September. There are one-off or short term music facilitating/training engagements too and I'm really happy to be exploring creative music with conservatoire students again soon...

22/23 September Free improvisation and collaborative composition workshops & concerts at Conservatorio di Musica "Nino Rota" di Monopoli

13-17 November Free improvisation and collaborative composition workshops & concert Die Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz – kurz Kunstuniversität Graz

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December, 2016 AMRN047

It was a real honour and pleasure to contribute to the recorded realisations of these beautiful musical maps. Prossime Trascendenze is a body of compositions written by Gianni Mimmo in 2014/2015, consisting of graphic scores intended as formal structures and improvisational strategy for Quintet and Sextet ensembles.

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Recent review in celebrated music magazine, Rockerilla

Alison Blunt violin
Angelo Contini trombone
Benedict Taylor viola
Fabio Sacconi double bass
Gianni Mimmo soprano sax
Marco Clivati percussion
Mario Arcari english horn
Mario Mariotti c trumpet
Martin Mayes french horn
Michele Marelli basset horn

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April, 2017 AMRN049

Sestetto Internazionale is an utter joy to play with. Wild imaginations and deep listening are integral aspects of each performance, it's a trippy experience every time. Quoting website info: Sestetto Internazionale features some of the most original and sincere voices in contemporary improvised music scene. The tremendous 2015 Finland tour set up by Harri Sjöström took this band to play in several venues and theatres. The recordings of the two concerts at Kanneltalo theatre in Helsinki and at Sibelius Museum in Turku are on this album. Take a listen to an excerpt of Aural Vertigo on soundcloud
Harri Sjöström sop & sop'nino saxes
Gianni Mimmo sop sax
Alison Blunt violin
Achim Kaufmann piano
Veli Kujala 1/4 tone accordion
Ignaz Schick turntables
Another great review of this album in All About Jazz and in Il Manifesto... woohoo!

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Il Manifesto...

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Quest + Barrel + Abe Gibson Photo altogether at Tottenham Soundscapes at All Hallow’s Church, Bruce Grove, Tottenham 21.5.17

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BARREL Hannah Marshall - cello, Ivor Kallin - viola, Alison Blunt - violin. Photo from Tottenham Soundscapes at All Hallow’s Church, Bruce Grove, Tottenham 21.5.17

This year celebrates Barrel's 10th anniversary as a band and amongst a few choice performances since January, we performed at the fantastic Tottenham Soundcapes in May. This remarkable series is the brainchild of composer and producer Verity Lane. Many thanks to Kevin Le Gendre for reviewing the really fabulous event in Echoes Magazine. Quoting...
...Barrel proves a compelling proposition due to the way the players stretch and subvert the vocabulary of their instruments and interact with unbridled spontaneity. Violinist Alison Blunt, viola player Ivor Kallin and cellist Hannah Marshall won many plaudits for their 2011 album Gratuitous Abuse, and this relatively short set shows exactly why. Working within mercurial, mutable forms, both harmonically and rhythmically, the musicians are grippingly adept at pushing what is traditionally an intimate ‘chamber’ sound towards focused tonal assault, as the higher pitches they produce often approximate electric textures, whirring like theremins made of wood rather than metal. They also fashion dense, sombre chords – by way of fingers clamped right across the bridge of their instruments – that bring a deliciously brooding resonance to the set. The finale features all artists on stage in an improvised piece that conveys the essential community spirit of Tottenham Soundscapes.
Kevin Le Gendre

Barrel at Sonic Imperfections 2-14h

Barrel at Sonic Imperfections. Photo credit Beibei Wang.

Announcement from Ambrosia Rasputin: _Dear People of Ears,
I will be doing a series of shows on Resonance FM on Saturdays this month, from noon till 1330. July 15th BARREL.
Barrel is Alison Blunt violin - Ivor Kallin viola - Hannah Marshall cello.

rsz 1solo duo trio white collon image july

Click here to listen to the set on soundcloud

The 2nd of this new series curated by musician John Macedo. Sue and Graham & I have never played together before, totally new adventure - come with us!
SOLO: Lucia H Chung
DUO: Alex Ward & Michael Speers
TRIO: Alison Blunt, Graham Dunning & Sue Lynch
@ Cafe OTO Project Space, doors open 19:15, music starts 20:00 ish.
18-22 Ashwin St, Dalston, London, E8 3DL
£7 on the door

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Pat Thomas. Photo by Dawid Laskowski

Pat Thomas is one of my musical heroes, a huge inspiration to me on so many levels. Looking forward very much to collaborating with Pat, Black Top and fellow stringers on this date, hope to see you there!

Pat Thomas studied classical piano from aged 8 and started playing Jazz from the age of 16. He has since gone on to develop an utterly unique style - embracing improvisation, jazz and new music. He has played with Derek Bailey in Company Week (1990/91) and in the trio AND (with Noble) – with Tony Oxley’s Quartet and Celebration Orchestra and in Duo with Lol Coxhill.

Cafe OTO, 18–22 Ashwin street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL


HANAM 'exteriors and interiors'

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JAZZ UND MEHR - DAS FESTIVAL Eine Insel; eine Woche; feine Klänge; milde Brise... [An island; one week; Fine sounds; Mild breeze ...] "Hiddensee is a car-free island in the Baltic Sea, located west of Germany's largest island, Rügen, on the German coast..." can't wait to play here, bliss!!
HANAM’s music is what happens when five long-standing friends play music together – deep listening and risky, playful challenges. Based in Berlin and London, HANAM builds a bridge between two metropolises of improvised music. With great intensity the group looks into open sound spaces between jazz and contemporary music creating a transidiomatic conglomerate in a lively and highly communicative culture of improvisation. They have performed at various European festivals and venues since 2011 and have 2 albums both released with Berlin-based label Aut Records; Hanam at Piggotts (2015) and HANAM QUINTET FEAT. TRISTAN HONSINGER (2013).
"The art of making improvised music with a deep reciprocal attention between the musicians expressed at its best." Aut Records
Horst Nonnenmacher (double bass), Anna Kaluza (alto sax), Niko Meinhold (piano), Alison Blunt (violin) and Manuel Miethe (soprano sax) but we will be Manu-less [sob] for this festival date, making us HANA(M).

European Jazzechoes A3

Jean Demey Bass (B) - Gianni Mimmo Sop sax. (IT) - Nuria Andorra Perc. (ES) - Ove Volquartz Bass clarinet (D) - Alison Blunt Violin (GB)

We are living in times of enormous turmoil and transition. However powerless we feel, I believe that how things 'turn out' will be strongly affected by each individual's hopes, dreams, attitudes and thoughts. The brilliant biologist Dr Rupert Sheldrake said in his lecture 'Psychedelic Experience And Morphic Resonance', 'Morphic resonance is a hypothesis about memory and nature...the basic idea is that there's an inherent memory in all nature. That the so-called laws of nature are more like habits. Each species has a collective memory and every individual tunes into that collective memory and in turn contributes to it." This makes an awful lot of sense to me and perhaps morphic resonance can help us understand how cultural and political situations appear to be as they are and also, provide clues as to how they might change.
On that note, I'm looking forward with great delight to playing 2 concerts in Germany with a group comprising old and new collaborators, we continue our shared cross-cultural adventures, YES!
What was once a matter of course has almost become a risk in times of Brexit and nationalism. Under the motto European Echoes, five European top musicians from five countries celebrate the art of free improvisation.
Alison Blunt Violin (GB) - Jean Demey Bass (B) - Gianni Mimmo Sop sax. (IT) - Nuria Andorra perc. (ES) - Ove Volquartz Bass clarinet (D)
Sponsored by KUNST e.V. and Fachbereich Kultur der Stadt Göttingen
St. Marien Kirche, Neustadt 21, 37073 Göttingen - 10 €


Boat-Ting hostess with the mostess, Sibyl Madrigal

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Eventbrite booking page

Tickets are on sale at £25 each or £15 concessions. The is also a special Discovery ticket priced at £100 which will include the entire Weekertoft (the label hosting the event) catalogue and some rare posters.
Eventbrite ticket booking link
The festival line-up includes: Lee Boyd Allatson, Steve Beresford, Alison Blunt, Mark Browne, Nigel Coombes, Viv Corringham, Claude Deppa, Jim Dvorak, John Edwards, Satoko Fukuda, Kay Grant, Rick Jensen, Ivor Kallin, Stefan Keune, Anders Lindsjö, Hannah Marshall, Marcio Mattos, Ian MacGowan, Yoko Miura, Mopomoso Workshop Group, Jordan Muscatello, Rachel Musson, Maggie Nicols, Steve Noble, Michele Paccagnella, Evan Parker, Ola Paulson, Sonic Pleasure, John Russell, Enzo Rocco, Mark Sanders, Sebastian Sterkowicz, Paul G. Smyth, South Leicestershire Improvisers Ensemble, Luisa Tucciariello, Dave Tucker, Roger Turner, Anders Uddeskog, Alex Ward, Armorel Weston, Veryan Weston, Alan Wilkinson and Mia Zabelka.

On 16th September Walthamstow's gorgeous Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub will host a full day of free improvisation at an event called Discovery curated and organised by the iconic British guitarist and improviser John Russell. Looking forward very much to participating - I'll have the brand new adventure of playing in duo with visiting Japanese pianist Yoko Miura and a brand new adventure with 10yrs old Barrel...
Hope to see you there!!

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Yoko Miura - photo by E_Rébus

Visiting Japanese pianist Yoko Miura and I will play together for the 2nd time ever at this *Mopomoso date, looking forward to performing in duo with this extremely idiosyncratic special artist!
Full details here Mopomoso, Sunday 17th September web page

with Alison Blunt London 17th Sept 2017

Doors 2pm, music 2:30pm at The Vortex £8 /£6 conc
11 Gillett Square, London N16 8JH
Nearest stations: Dalston Kingsland & Dalston Junction
*MOdernismPOstMOdernism SO what?

NB I had an unexpected pleasure of also playing in duo with visiting Italian maestro guitarist Enzo Rocco!

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Due serate con Alison Blunt, nel segno dellla musica improvvisata e della sperimentazione.

Venerdì 22 settembre 2017 ore 20,30 Salone del Conservatorio “Nino Rota” di Monopoli

Alison Blunt, violino
Gianni Lenoci, pianoforte
Michele Ciccimarra, batteria

Un incontro fra due voci originalissime per stile e autenticità tutto giocato sul filo dell’improvvisazione totale.
Un'attitudine marcatamente contemporanea e selvaggiamente cameristica, che attraversa disinvoltamente le frontiere, capace di un rigoroso senso formale e al tempo stesso di violenti abbandoni.
Echi di Schönberg, Lacy , Braxton, Stockhausen, Waldron, Cage, blues e musiche tribali: tutto ciò che la vasta cultura di Gianni Lenoci e Alison Blunt ha assimilato in una vita di ascolti e pratiche viene restituito nel processo della creazione istantanea, in asimmetriche sintesi, in cluster di memorie inconsce e nuovi verbi.

Sabato 23 settembre 2017 ore 20,30
Salone del Conservatorio “Nino Rota” di Monopoli

formato da studenti dei corsi di jazz e musica da camera del Conservatorio “Nino Rota” di Monopoli

Facebook page for both

A three-day celebration of amazing performances at the renowned Over The Top, to help Mick Beck towards his 70th birthday which is but days away in October. Wisdom, because it’s maybe the age of….. or folly! And ecstasy is aspirational. The participants here may generate it!
Venue: OVER THE TOP, 78 Kingfield Road, Sheffield S11 9AU
Starts 8.00pm (prompt start)
Bring Your Own Drinks
facebook event page
Day 2 Saturday 30th September
BARREL Alison Blunt (violin), Ivor Kalin (viola), Hannah Marshall (cello)
MICK BECK (saxophone solo)
Neil Carver (soundmakers, shells, wind & water), Beatrix Ward-Fernandez (violin & sanshin), and Charlie Collins (waterphone & percussion)
ABITABOUTBARREL... The first performance bringing Barrel members together was in 2007 at Freedom of the City Festival in London. It was so enjoyable that the musicians decided to form a band and called themselves Barrel, as it involved a lot of scraping. Barrel has since gained a formidable reputation through mainland and international performances and recordings. Their 1st album ‘Gratuitous Abuse’ was in the Wire Magazine's annual critic’s choice list of improv’ releases and both this and Barrel - Live At Artacts '12 have received excellent reviews.
"Barrel sound unlike anything else" Stewart Lee, Sunday Times
“They range far and wide over a vast equilateral triangle of territory with avant-garde ‘art music’, total improv and Dada as its three really, really need to track this astonishing combo down toot sweet. Your glee muscles with bless you for it.” Hipster Uncle.
“To the uninitiated, this trio of string virtuosos might sound like musical terrorists...revolutionary, funny and breathtakingly audacious." Raul D'Gama Rose, All About Jazz
"You've gotta go and see this lot ... especially if you're fond of music full of jack-in- the-box surprises. Barrel are a phenomenal multi-brained organism- lightning fast, bonkers free- improv full of sudden comic eruptions, astonishing changes of tempo and texture, nutty, cranky little, stumbling micro-journeys to the chicken shed then quicksilver atomisations and frantic cartoon back-pedalling. Last time I saw them the audience were in a state of open-mouthed awe. Never seen anything like 'em before.” Musician, composer Kev Hopper.
A Barrel performance recording:

Festival Brochure Cover

Festival brochure cover

Barrel Final WMM Poster

Poster for 1st October concert

BARREL photo credit Beibei Wang

Barrel (Ivor Kallin/Alison Blunt/Hannah Marshall) at Sonic Imperfections. Photo credit Beibei Wang

Looking forward to playing with Barrel in the last event of this excellent festival. If you're in or near Newcastle, please come - or even make a trip especially for the date, be crazy! This 1/10/17 concert is presented as part of Jazz North East's 'Women Make Music' series in association with Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music.
Trio 1: Julie Kjær + Hannah Marshall + Rachel Musson (7.15pm)
Trio 2: Laura Jurd + 'Leafcutter John' + Julie Kjær (8.15pm)
Trio 3: Barrel (9.15pm)

Doors 7.00pm (Music starts 7.15pm)
Upstairs at The Bridge Hotel
£10 / £8 Concessions (Students / MU / Benefits / OAP) Tickets at the door subject to capacity. Book tickets at
facebook event page

To play a concert alongside so many of my dear friends, can't wait!
City of Women Festival concert 12.10.17
Ute Wassermann
Elisabeth Harnik / Nina Polaschegg
Luisa Tucciariello / Hannah Marshall / Alison Blunt
Thursday 20.00, 12th October, Klub Gromka
Klub Gromka, Masarykova 24, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
(Presented by FriForma & KUD Mreža in collaboration with Defonija)

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Veryan Weston - Alison Blunt - Hannah Marshall - Trevor Watts. Photo by Mark French 2017.

Playing our first concert together a few weeks ago was a wonderful experience and Trevor has been incredibly busy working intensely on mixing and mastering the recording from this concert. You are welcome to listen to a little bit, here's a 7 mins & 16 secs film clip - huge thanks to film maker Mark French for filming the concert and for editing the film clip that's staying up on the BBC website, we all really appreciate your amazing work!
Looking forward to playing together at Ad Libitum Festival in Warsaw on the 13 October, what an absolute pleasure and honour. Further details here.

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Albums available for purchase
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Contact alisonjblunt at gmail dot com

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