Through the Residency Program, the Red Poppy Art House has allows select artists, performers and curators to use our space as a residence for executing proposed creative projects. The ongoing creation of new work, with the often unpredictable turns and exchanges that occur when artists have time and space together, stand as perhaps the most impactful element in shaping the feeling and culture that ultimately characterizes the Red Poppy itself. While the Red Poppy’s Artist Residency Program does not provide a living space for the artist, it provides a living and growing space for the creative work.
Since its founding, the Red Poppy has maintained its Residency Program based on the following values:
Vitality of an Artistic Core: The presence of resident artists, the professional and personal informal relationships they bring, as much as the on-site development and public presentations of their work, constitute a continuity of creative dialog and exchange that defines the very nature of the Red Poppy as an artistic and cultural hub.
Exemplifying Cultural Diversity through the Arts: Recognizing that artists can be the forerunners of cultural and social transformation, the Red Poppy selects a balance of resident artists whose combined skills, inspiration, craft, and cultural roots, hold the capacity to demonstrate 9the extraordinary potential implicit within inter-cultural collaboration.
The View From Bernal Hill
The View From Bernal Hill is an ongoing musical exchange between pianist/singer Camille Mai, guitarist/producer Nahuel Bronzini, bassist Schuyler Karr, and other musicians. Constantly evolving, yet firmly moored somewhere between jazz, chamber music, and contemporary pop/rock, the ensemble’s songs are driven by a strong belief in attentive listening and mindful response both in life and in music, as well as a love of rhythmic and harmonic experimentation. Their short-term goal is to create a body of work that marries the presence and fluidity of chamber music with traditional songwriting, combining stories, improvisation, and composed parts to reach emotional places that are often inaccessible to words.
The View finds its personal and musical roots on three different continents. Born in the Bay Area but raised in Paris, Camille grew up on a blend of Vietnamese folk, French yé-yé pop and American jazz standards. A classically trained pianist and self-taught songwriter, she now finds inspiration in the harmonies of Debussy and Chopin, the songwriting of Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, and Fiona Apple, and the rhythms of Balkan and middle-eastern music. Her lyrics jump between anxiety and euphoria, inspired by struggles with mental illness and a lifelong passion for altered states of consciousness.
Schuyler’s path was different—originally steeped in Seattle’s thriving hip hop and jazz scenes, he was accepted to the SF Conservatory of Music on a major scholarship in spite of less than a year of classical training. He is currently involved with a diversity of Bay Area projects as a performer and composer, having served as principal bass in the SF Youth Orchestra and performed/recorded with the Balkan-inspired La Pêche, Meklit Hadero, and The Real Vocal String Quartet. He is equally at home with classical tradition and spontaneous improvisation, be it at Davies Symphony Hall or the Revolution Cafe.
As for Nahuel: growing up in Buenos Aires, he remembers hearing Queen and Marvin Gaye melt into Mozart and Brahms on his mother’s stereo, punctuated by vocalizations from his father’s opera classes. His guitar beginnings as a self-taught teenager blossomed into a passion after he joined the Buenos Aires Conservatory at age 15. He first studied jazz at the Escuela de Música Contemporánea in Buenos Aires, developing a taste for 80′s fusion as well as Argentine folk before moving to the Bay in 2010 to study classical guitar at SF Conservatory. Nahuel currently works as a freelance arranger, composer, and producer in San Francisco, recording and participating in a number of local jazz, classical, and pop projects.
Brought together by enthusiasm, circumstance and eerily similar improvisation styles, the ensemble has been performing in San Francisco since 2011. Often originating in a quote, anecdote, or rant from someone in their community, their songs are loose and leave room for spontaneity, be it through improvisation, freestyled lyrics or contributions from local musicians and MCs. At the same time, the group strives to create a musical language strongly founded on the concepts of form and balance, thereby expressing their backgrounds in classical music. Their residency will help them broaden their repertoire, collaborate with other artists, and grow as musicians, presenting a new song each time they perform in San Francisco and ultimately releasing their first full-length album at the Red Poppy.
“Blues de Voyage” (blues voyage) is a musical project conceived by vocalist, songwriter, and U.C. Berkeley Law graduate Tiffany Austin. The project’s goal is to research, translate, and perform the works of Amede Ardoin. Ardoin is a pivotal figure in American musical history because he was the first Louisiana Creole musician ever recorded (early 20th century), and his works serve as the foundation of Cajun/Creole music. Despite these facts, there is little available information about his life, and few published English translations of his works.
An inspirational figure, Ardoin left the sharecropping fields of Louisiana to lead an integrated duo (working with caucasian fiddler Dennis McGee), risking poverty and physical danger in the segregated South to share his music with people of diverse backgrounds. Although his music crossed racial divides, he died a victim of hate crime after performing at a segregated house party.
Tiffany’s passion for this project stems not only from the lesson of music’s transformative power contained within Ardoin’s story, but also her personal history. Both her mother’s parents were Louisiana Creoles who migrated to California to escape poverty. Tiffany’s earliest memories are of her grandparents’ language, food, and music, and she wishes to research and share this rich culture with others.
Blues de Voyage will commission original compositions and arrangements, and create community and collaborations with local musicians. The Poppy residency will culminate with a presentation of the year’s work, including arrangements in both Creole French and English translations. For more information about Tiffany Austin, visit: tiffanyaustinmusic.com
ENSEMBLE MIK NAWOOJ: A HIP-HOP ORCHESTRA
Theme & Variations on Hip-Hop Classics from 1993
On Saturday Apr 5th, hip-hop orchestra Ensemble Mik Nawooj (EMN) returns to the Red Poppy Art House to headline their 1st major event of the 2014. This concert will begin their Artist Residency @ the Poppy in which EMN will do a partial premiere of a 6 piece commission by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in which EMN music director, Taoist composer/pianist JooWan Kim re-imagines 6 classic hip-hop songs from the year 1993 for YBCA’s Clas/sick Hiphop II: 93’ Til celebration in November. In preparation, EMN will do other partial premieres @ Red Poppy Art House every other month until October. More about Ensemble Mik Nawooj at ensemblemiknawooj.com.
Saturdays: Apr 5, June 14, Aug 9 & Oct 4
Here’s a sample of EMN’s quasi rondo/variation on the classic Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey by Sly & the family Stone.