Samita Sinha / CIPHER
Samita Sinha presents a work-in-progress showing of Cipher, a performance work for solo voice and electronics. Mythological characters from the Hindu/Buddhist pantheon lead us on a journey through an other-worldly sonic landscape in pursuit of finding one’s self through finding one’s voice. CIPHER’s music ranges from classical Indian forms to folk, pop and electronic, creating a lush and complex musical score. Post-performance, Sinha will engage in an artist dialogue about her creative process and intent behind her work.
About the artist:
Vocalist/ composer/ performance artist Samita Sinha combines tradition with experiment to create bold new forms, combining raw, visceral energy with a deep grounding in North Indian classical vocal music, qi gong, and folk and ritual music in several languages.
Sinha's work bridges the realms of music and contemporary performance, composition and improvisation, tradition and experimentation. Current projects include CIPHER, produced by MAPP International and premiering in Fall 2014, and Tongues in Trees, a trio with longtime collaborator Sunny Jain and guitarist Grey McMurray. Past projects include singing with several hybrid-genre ensembles including KAASH (Sinha's own ensemble), Marc Cary's FOCUS Trio, Sunny Jain Collective, and Anatomy. Her passion for language--nonsense language, South Asian languages (Hindi, Urdu, Brajh, Bengali, Sanskrit), Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish, and any other language she can decipher and embody--has led to collaborations with poets as well: Sinha composed and performed the score for Fiona Templeton's performance epic The Medead, toured internationally as a vocalist with the late great poet/ griot Sekou Sundiata's the 51st (dream) state, vocal directed Daria Fain and Robert Kocik's Commons Choir, and performed in a recent revival of Robert Ashley's That Morning Thing.
Inspired by Sundiata’s call for artists to create new public rituals, Sinha also creates forms that extend her practice beyond the rarified boundaries of the art world. She has brought social singing rituals created in collaboration with Stephanie Loveless, Julia Ulehla, and Maximilian Balduzzi into community and educational contexts; created a Community Coalition Choir bridging racial divisions in York, Alabama; and led Community Sings—events that bring diverse populations together for singing and dialogue—in her own Queens neighborhood as well as in Alabama. Currently, she is holding "performance labs" for Cipher--spaces of dialogue between the privacy of the studio and the distance of the stage around the work's various themes--and leading workshops in vocal exploration for young women of color.
Sinha has received awards and residencies from National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, Urban Arts Initiative, Fulbright Scholarship, BRIC (Brooklyn, NY), The Watermill Center (Watermill, NY), Atlas Performing Arts Center (Washington DC), Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), The Coleman Center (York, AL), and Millay Colony for the Arts (Austerlitz, NY). Sinha has an MFA in Music/ Sound from Bard, a BA in Literature/ Cultural Criticism/ Mandarin from Yale, and has studied Hindustani music with Dr. Alka Deo Marulkar, Shiv Shankar Pandey, and Shubhangi Sakhalkar.
Post-performance discussion with Samita and choreographer Ralph Lemon.