20-27.01 – during the semaine professionelle of the YANGO Biennale
guerillaclassics, the Zurich-based platform that takes classical music out of the concert hall and into surprising public locations, has been invited to produce a collaborative project for the YANGO Biennale 2022 in Kinshasa. Through a guerrilla approach, the project sets out to interrogate the concept of classicism and institutions, questioning what “classical” music is, in what contexts it is performed, and for who and by whom.
Under the direction of guerillaclassics, a musical ensemble was formed for this project, consisting of members from three different continents. In a series of research trips to Kinshasa and work phases in Europe, the musicians have embarked on a process of joint compositional, improvisational and interpretative work in search of a new sound that looks to the future, deals with current issues and is connected to its roots in the past. The result of this collaboration will be performed in Switzerland in November 2021 and at the opening of the Biennale in January 2022. The audible encounter will feature a fusion of Congolese rumba, contemporary saxophone grooves and infectious rhythms.
Hiromi Gut, artistic director of guerillaclassics, says that this kind of trans-national project is especially resonant now. “In this globally difficult situation of the pandemic, it is important to work together internationally, to open up across national borders and to listen to each other.”
Kay Zhang’s work is caught between sound, curation and research. The up-and-coming curator and artist also delves into interdisciplinary collaborations. Kay is a founding member of Kollektiv international Totem (KIT), andrej-zimmermann-zhang trio, The Alchemists’ Bruit and ATOMOX. She is a curator of various projects and platforms around the world. She received her training in Australia and later expanded her knowledge in France, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Kay has an interest in intercultural, political identity, gender equality and the environment. She is dedicated to exploring and expanding knowledge of her instrument, but also aims to explore the boundaries of performance experience through improvisation, transdisciplinary forms of curation and the integration of cultural studies understandings.
Hiromi Gut is the founder and artistic director of guerillaclassics. She knows the business of cultural institutions from the inside as former assistant to the artistic director at the Konzerthaus Berlin and interim managing director of the DAVOS FESTIVAL. These experiences as well as her business and vocal studies were decisive for the founding of guerillaclassics. Hiromi always succeeds in adding exciting personalities to the guerillaclassics pool of artists.
Orakle Ngoy is one of the few female voices of Congolese hip-hop. In her lyrics, she tackles the realities of life in the DR of Congo, particularly from the perspective of women. She raps about sexism and gender discrimination and appeals for respect for African women in general and Congolese women in particular.
Huguette Tolinga is a self-taught percussionist who made her musical debut in the contemporary dance company of Jacques Bana Yanga, Kinshasa. In 2010, she founded her own group “Huguembo”. Huguette’s powerful style is influenced by various local rhythms from the provinces of Congo and from around the world. In 2015, she took part in the young talent programme of the Pop Kultur festival in Berlin with a scholarship from the Goethe-Institut. Since 2018, she has been working regularly with Studios Kabako in Kisangani, accompanying the European tour of the production “Not Another Diva”.
Chengyi Wang is an internationally acclaimed Yangqin player. She plays in various international collaborations as a soloist and chamber musician. She lives and works in Paris.
Sarah Solo is a Congolese soukous musician, composer and guitarist. She is a star throughout Africa and is one of the most sought-after musicians in the DR of Congo. She is currently part of Werrason’s extremely popular band, and pursues her own solo projects in Abidjan and Kinshasa.