NEWS: Sage Gateshead present digital mini-festival, Variations | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Moor Mother by UV Lucas

Who else but Sage Gateshead could put together a virtual event featuring the likes of Yoko Ono, John Grant, Tune-Yards and Moor Mother? The delightful sounding, accessible and free to view Variations digital mini-festival will feature four new commissions from a line-up of international contemporary artists, released online via BBC iPlayer to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26.

The compelling new works were commissioned by the venue during lockdown, and reflect the isolation experienced during the pandemic and the climate crisis. Work created includes Spring Again by American poet, activist and musician Moor Mother; acclaimed songwriter John Grant debut his new work, the intriguingly titled Faintly Positive Lateral Flow, complete with an accompanying film from long-time collaborators Casey & Ewan; synth-driven art punks Tune-Yards also premiere their new song and accompanying video, Time No Time; while a new film has been created by Yoko Ono in partnership with the Rainforest Trust for her song with Anohni, I Love You Earth.

Sage Gateshead’s director of contemporary music Wendy Smith said: “We are delighted to present four new pieces of work sharing the artists’ experiences and perspectives on climate crisis and the pandemic, keeping in mind what it means to connect and unite people globally in these times. Variations is four songs with accompanying films by four artists that express love for the earth, for nature, all species and the air we breathe. The songs express grief and loss for the world we had that has gone, an urgent need for justice and equality, a plea to work together, imagine change, choose life and take action now.”

All four pieces will premiere on BBC iPlayer on Sunday 31st October, and will also be available on the venue’s website.

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