Oracles Ana Silvera
- 1Tears of Oak, Fist of Willow07:59
- 2Skeleton Song04:34
- 3When the Heart is a Lonely Hunter02:55
- 4Circle of Chalk06:15
- 5Pearls and Thieves05:42
- 6I Grew up in a Room, Small as a Penny04:18
- 7Catherine Wheels06:35
Info zu Oracles
Since the 2012 release of her debut album, 'The Aviary', singer-songwriter Ana Silvera's work has garnered broad acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Her uniquely ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at SXSW, Iceland Airwaves Festival, Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and more, whilst recent collaborations include composing for Royal Ballet, duetting with Imogen Heap and singing original songs with early music consort Concerto Caledonia.
Now six-years after her last full-length record, Silvera is about to release her sophomore album, ‘Oracles’. “It was Marcus Davey, artistic director of the Roundhouse, who was really the Oracles fairy-godfather. I’d sung in choirs till the age of 15, so that was always my musical foundation. Then Marcus mentioned this great, experimental in-house choir [REC] who were keen to collaborate. It was a very open-ended commission, basically ‘do what you want, use the choir somehow’. I don’t think either Marcus or I realised how much I needed to write this piece”. Poignant, dreamlike and beautiful, and written following an intense period of grief, ‘Oracles’ was Silvera’s way to transmute her emotions into a cathartic work of art. “I wrote ‘Oracles’ in a state of absolute urgency and emergency – it felt like I had been buried in the ground myself, and writing this music was a small pocket of air, my chance to breathe again”
In 2011, the song-cycle was debuted with REC, and the following year was performed as part of a sold-out concert on the Roundhouse Main Stage, earning Silvera a nomination for a British Composer Award. She then returned to the Roundhouse Theatre to make a live recording of the piece, which forms her second full-length album. The recording features Silvera as a soloist, a choir led by Josephine Stephenson and a stellar line-up of guest musicians including pianist Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), double bassist Jasper Høiby(Phronesis) and drummer Jacob Smedegaard (Fiction, Du Blonde) as well as Simran Singh (violin), Anne Chauveau-Dhayan (cello) and Naomi Morris (percussion). The result is a haunting yet life-affirming collection of songs whose lyrics explore loss, love, salvation and the journey towards acceptance, themes that are underscored by beguiling, weaving choral lines, mellifluous Debussian piano melodies, subtly off-kilter percussion and rapturous strings, all unified by Silvera’s dynamic vocal style which evokes the delicate yet theatrical prowess of Kate Bush, combined with what the Arts Desk described as a “Björk-like spontaneity’.
Compositionally, the piece follows the arc of a ‘quest’ – a folk tale that begins with a search for a tangible or symbolic goal and ends with a triumphant return home. “On reflection, I see my quest was to fathom this experience and - though it no longer existed in the familial sense of the word - to find my own way back home”. ‘Skeleton Song’, an Inuit-myth inspired tune about a woman who is sung back to life, is a fragile yet powerful paean to the female figures surrounding Silvera who “painstakingly pieced me together again”. ‘Catherine Wheels’, the epiphanic closing song, whose swelling strings push the song-cycle to an emotional climax, celebrates “the kind of earth-bound, steadfast love” that allowed Silvera to finally reckon with her past and come to terms with the present.
Says Silvera, “I can honestly say, I found it so moving that post-performance, audience members would come and speak to me about their own experiences of bereavement. Making that human connection and finding we are not alone is perhaps the greatest healer of all”.
"Some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard...intelligent, lyrically complex and interesting…just absolutely wonderful" (Alex Preston, BBC Radio 4)
"Oracles'...stands as one of [Silvera's] finest works yet...a rare commitment to art" (CLASH Magazine)
"Such a quality voice from a great new record" (Nick Luscombe, BBC Radio 3)
Ana Silvera, voice
Bill Laurance, piano
Jasper Høiby, double bass
Jacob Smedegaard, drums, percussion
Naomi Morris, additional drums, percussion
Simran Singh, violin
Anne Chauveau-Dhayan, cello
Josephine Stephenson, soprano
Héloïse Werner, soprano
Rose Martin, alto
Joel Newsome-Hubbard, alto
Ruairi Bowen, tenor
Kieran Brunt, tenor
William Marsey, bass
Dan D’Souza, bass
Josephine Stephenson, direction
Signe Trylle, vocals (track 5)
Ana Silvera, harmonium (tracks 2, 7)
Raised in London, Ana Silvera’s upbringing fostered a love of lilting Irish folk song from her father, as well as the art of storytelling from her writer-teacher mother. Drawing on these rich wells of melody and myth as well as her own eventful life, Ana’s songs are vignettes, poignant snapshots in time that weave word and music to magical effect.
Early 2020 will see the completion of Ana’s next studio album, which is being created with with award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Diver (Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp) and will feature a host of other stellar musicians including Pete Flood (Bellowhead) and Jasper Høiby (Phronesis). This spring will also mark the launch of Yja, a new Ladino song project with cellist Francesca Ter-Berg, plus further touring of original tunes with Danish violin virtuoso Bjarke Falgren.
In 2019, Ana was invited to perform in Canada for the first time as an official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International, following the release of her acclaimed album, ‘Oracles’ (Gearbox Records), a poignant, dreamlike song-cycle that explores themes of loss, rebirth and acceptance.
The piece was originally written as a way to transmute intense grief into a cathartic work of art following the sudden death of her closest family members. As Ana said, “I wrote ‘Oracles’ in a state of absolute urgency and emergency – it felt like I had been buried in the ground myself, and writing this music was a small pocket of air, my chance to breathe again”.
The album was launched to a packed house and rapturous applause at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre and subsequently included on The Guardian's 'Critics List'. CLASH described the album as ‘a rare commitment to art' and Radio 4’s Alex Preston (Saturday Review) as ‘some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard...intelligent, lyrically complex and interesting’.
Ana first began writing songs as a teenager whilst she was studying voice and piano at Guildhall School of Music, and later developed her poetical lyric style whilst studying English Literature at University College London. Her debut album, ‘The Aviary’ (2012), featuring arrangements by Maxim Moston (Rufus Wainwright, Antony and the Johnsons), was lauded as a work of ‘lavish, vivid imagination’ (Metro). In the same year, Ana was invited to perform as a soloist on the main stage of the Roundhouse, in her self-composed commission for the Estonian Television Girls Choir, “Step Onto The Ground, Dear Brother!”.
Other career highlights include collaborating with the Royal Ballet to co-create, compose, and perform in a full-length work entitled 'Cassandra"; the release of Purcell's Revenge", a collaboration with early music ensemble Concerto Caledonia (co-featured with folk singers Olivia Chaney and Jim Moray); and forays into composing music and soundscapes for theatre, including works "Lost and Found” (2017) and 'What Do I Know?' (2018) with human rights theatre company, Ice&Fire.
Ana has toured widely across Europe, and performed at prestigious venues such as Royal Opera House, Liverpool Royal Philharmonic, Jazzhus Montmatre, Rockwood Music Hall and at festivals including SXSW, Folk Alliance International, Iceland Airwaves Festival and Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Airplay on UK national radio includes Cerys Matthews Show (R6), The Verb and In Tune (R3) and German radio including NDR and SWR Radiophon.
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