What happens when nature speaks to Véronique Serret? Magic.

by | Jun 1, 2024 | Ambassador thoughts, CD/Recording, Composer, Percussion, Premiere, Violin

Véronique Serret | ‘Migrating Bird’ Album Launch

May 31, 2024, The Great Club, Marrickville, NSW

How great is The Great?! In the heart of Marrickville the transformed 1950’s Greek Macedonian Club was the the perfect venue for an album launch. A unique stage for a unique performance to showcase Véronique Serret’s just released album Migrating Bird.

Classical music lovers will recognise Serret from Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Offspring and as concertmaster of the Darwin Symphony. Most recently Véronique has toured Australia as soloist in Omega Ensemble’s Max Richter’s Four Seasons Recomposed. Migrating Bird is Véronique’s first album in which she has written and performed all the parts herself.

Kicking off the night was the ethereal soundscape conjured by Spanish composer, cellist, singer and producer Yamila, whose haunting harmonies and electronic orchestrations transported the audience through realms of tradition and experimentation. Her performance, a fusion of Spanish folklore and contemporary electronic motifs, set a tone of anticipation for the main act.

Serret took the stage adorned in an absolutely stunning feathered collar with a shimmering cape that took on the illusion of wings as she played. She introduced Aunty Delmae Barton whose Welcome to Country, accompanied by rain on a tin roof and the soft rustle of blue gum leaves, invoked the spirits of the land, sky and water. It was a poignant prelude to Serret’s musical odyssey, a journey through landscapes, both terrestrial and celestial.

The album features field recordings from Serret’s time spent in Mt Cootha/Meanjin, where she walked every day listening and learning, layers of violin are immersed in reverb, looped and delayed along with her distinct and minimal vocals. Her violin is recontextualised by using the wood and hair of the bow as percussion, and Kim Moyes’ (The Presets) ethereal electronic production enhances the contemporary sound.

The live performance of this highly produced album was electric. From the gentle natural soundworld of Brookfield to the pulsating rhythms of Carbon Footprint and the haunting refrains of the title track, Serret’s virtuosity on her violins (a 6 string electric and a traditional 4 string ), intertwined with evocative vocals and electronic manipulations, were mesmerising. Joined by the incomparable William Barton, whose didgeridoo playing transcends excellence and creates a whole world of it’s own. Serret’s compositions push genre boundaries, this is truly unique music.

Side A is dedicated to the land and sky, and side B to water, with tracks like Pelican Song, featuring traditional lyrics sung originally by Warrane women who sighted a Pelican in Sydney Harbour, and Dodo (In Memory) dedicated to the extinct bird from her homeland of Mauritius. This is very definitely an album dedicated to nature and inspired by landscapes.

The rhythmic foundation of the performance was anchored by Emma Harlock on bass guitar and percussionist Bree van Reyk, whose masterful command of rhythm and texture added a dynamic layer to Serret’s compositions. Van Reyk’s percussive palette enriched each piece, grounding the at times ethereal melodies in a tangible, earthy groove. If anyone can make pure music from a single plank of wood, as she did in her brief solo, it is Bree van Reyk. Stellar.

Throughout the performance, Serret’s mastery of her instrument was undeniable, add to that vocals, additional percussion, loop controls and other electronic gadgetry she certainly had a lot going on – but her performance was seamless. Her ability to merge traditional instrumentation with contemporary electronic elements showcased a creative vision unbound by convention.

In Véronique’s words, “When the world stood still and our cities took pause, I turned to mother nature. I walked and walked and listened deeply. This is what she said to me.” Magic. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the privilege of being invited to enter Véronique Serret’s world of sound. You can listen to the album now, on all the normal channels.

More info here >>

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