In exciting arts and culture news, Nexus Arts has launched its 2020 Interplay performance series: a musical celebration of intercultural Australia, the series showcases ten extraordinary artists who now call Adelaide home.
Nexus’ Interplay artist development program fosters an interconnected and supportive network of contemporary musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds living and working in South Australia. Interplay develops industry-specific skills and abilities, providing advice and support to artists, while accelerating engagement with Australia’s contemporary music industry.
Throughout 2020 – including via Zoom throughout lockdown – Nexus’ Interplay program facilitated artist development across a collection of contemporary music skills including creating promotional materials, brokering performance and publicity opportunities, providing grant-writing assistance and industry- specific advice, as well as one-on-one professional guidance and support.
The culmination of the Interplay program will see each artist take part in a live performance series hosted at Nexus Arts Venue from October to December. Alongside this, five of the ten participants will release an original song and accompanying live music video, recorded by Nexus staff, filmmaker Aaron Schuppan and head technician Noni Espinosa.
The first track and music video as part of the Interplay program is ‘Thank You, Australia’ from Syria’s Zuhir Naji.
Before moving to Adelaide in 2016, Zuhir Naji lived in Damascus, Syria, where he ran a music school. Zuhir is a remarkable oud player and singer, whose passion for music shines strongly through every note.
Zuhir’s track, ‘Thank You, Australia’, follows his journey of fleeing war and fearing for the lives of his children in Syria, to seeking refuge in Australia. It expresses how impressed Zuhir was by the respect and welcoming kindness Australia showed him and his family. ‘Thank You, Australia’ was written as a gesture of gratitude to his new home.
Zuhir says, “My aim is to share Arabic music, both traditional and my own original compositions, with all Australians. I am so happy to present this beautiful video and to share this song written for Australia with Australian people.”
Nexus Arts’ Artistic Director, Emily Tulloch says, “This year’s Interplay artists are incredible musicians and extraordinary people. The engagement that they showed throughout lockdown, particularly their warm and generous solidarity as a group, was wonderful. It is a delight and a privilege to be able to present this performance series for Adelaide audiences, live and in person!”
Other artists joining Zuhir Naji in the Interplay 2020 series include:
Noni Espinosa, who fled the military dictatorship of Chile for Australia at the age of nine and proudly grew up performing Latin American folkloric music.
Colombian guitarist, Juan Muñoz, who travelled throughout Asia working as a performer in Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Singapore before making Adelaide home.
Filipino-Australian musician Jennifer Trijo who honed her stagecraft performing on the Sydney cabaret circuit and presents a musical-theatre-meets-pop ensemble with soaring melodies and dynamic arrangements.
Ronak Sarani who is a Gujarati vocalist, singing in Hindi, Gujarati, and Urdu. His live shows are an explosive exploration of Sufi traditions, contemporary Bollywood and Indian-Gujarati folk.
Drawing inspiration from permaculture and scientific practice, open-source philosophy, song-forms and improvisation in his creative practices, Constantine Stefanou is a Greek Australian multi-instrumental musician and agronomist, who works at the intersection of music/sound, ecology and civilization design.
Serving dreamy good vibes, Leni is a powerful and inspiring positive force forged by the rich talent and creativity of this Chilean singer, songwriter and guitarist, who delivers an infectious and dynamic mix of Soul-RnB-Funk.
Sorna Ensemble performs Persian music and song, deeply entrenched in the of this historic and remarkable region, bringing together ancient Persian traditions and instruments alongside beautiful male and female vocals.
Isabelle da Sylveira and Mike Bevan combine beauty, subtlety, energy and flair to bring to life songs that reflect the human experience, with a deep respect and fondness for the musical traditions of the Caribbean and Brazil.
INTERPLAY 2020 PERFORMANCE SERIES
Friday 16 October
Jennifer Trijo Leni
Friday 30 October
Noni Espinosa Zuhir Naji
Friday 13 November
Ronak Sarani Sofia Torchia
Friday 27 November
Isabelle da Sylveira & Mike Bevan Juan Muñoz
Friday 11 December
Constantine Stefanou Sorna Ensemble
All performances begin at 7pm in Nexus Arts Venue, located within the Lion Arts Centre on the corner of Morphett St and North Tce in the Adelaide CBD.