The Composer’s Voice: Celebrating Australian Women Composers
Purchases are hosted via our official bandcamp page.
Vocalist-composer Elly Hoyt’s third album The Composers’ Voice: Celebrating Australian Women Composers, out through Earshift Music, is a commissioning project that presents her alongside some of Melbourne’s best jazz artists.
The Composers’ Voice presents a diverse set of compositions from celebrated Australian composers including Andrea Keller, Gian Slater, Georgia Weber, Louise Denson, Sonja Horbelt, Shannon Barnett, Tamara Murphy and Hoyt herself. The music is brought to life by an all-star band including pianist Andrea Keller, trumpeter Mat Jodrell, saxophonist Julien Wilson, trombonist James Macaulay, bassist Sam Anning and drummer James McLean.
Motivated by recent discussions around women representation in the music industry and the experience of women in the arts, Hoyt reflects that she wanted to investigate women’s stories through composition: “I wanted to contribute to the diversity of representation in jazz composition, something I feel passionate about”, says Hoyt. “Women jazz composers in Australia have unique and interesting voices and deserve to be championed and performed by other musicians.”
The pieces explore relevant themes important to Hoyt and the composers including determination, fighting self-doubt, dismantling patriarchal systems, social change, being heard, death, grief, love and following your dreams. Hoyt has been thrilled by the recording, saying “this project has been a dream come true and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved.“
Hoyt is a Tasmanian born vocalist-composer currently living in London. Her two albums Elly Hoyt and Oranges and Sunshine have gained her praise from All About Jazz (“soulful and quietly commanding”), Limelight magazine (“taste, sensitivity and swing”), and The Music Trust (“not afraid to take risks”). Hoyt’s accolades include a Bell Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, the Generations in Jazz Vocal Scholarship and a Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship to study a Masters of Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, USA. Career highlights also include supporting US pianist Kenny Barron and performing for Prince Charles and Camilla.
Release: August 16, 2019
Personnel: Elly Hoyt (voice), Andrea Keller (piano), Sam Anning (bass), James McLean (drums), Julien Wilson (Saxophone & Clarinet), Mat Jodrell (trumpet) & James Macaulay (trombone).
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
About the music
1. Engines On (Gian Slater)
Engines On is about pulling yourself out of a slump when you realise its effect on those around you; finding some reserves to change your outlook; to change the weather and lift the cloud from above your head or find a sunnier place to stand – like personal activism.
2. Break The System (Shannon Barnett)
Break the system is a cautious ode to the dismantling of the patriarchy.
3. New Orleans (Elly Hoyt)
New Orleans is about following your dreams and the feeling of not wanting to leave everything that you know but having strength that it will work out no matter how hard it might be.
4. If Death Is Kind (Andrea Keller)
If Death is Kind comes from a larger song cycle composed by Keller in 2016 called ‘Still Night: Music in Poetry’. Combining poetry that spans centuries and the globe, the music serves as a meditation on omnipresent sentiments of death, grief and loss. If Death Is Kind is the light-filled moment of the 60-minute song cycle, using text by American poet Sara Teasdale (1884-1933). It speaks of returning, happy and free.
5. Here We Go (Georgia Weber)
Here We Go is about the juggling act of being a woman in music: the sacrifices you make to put playing first, the chaos that you witness at shows, the tricky dance involved in networking in a male-dominated industry. Ultimately, how the joy of songs we love and the way that it connects our hearts makes all of it worthwhile.
6. Like All Things New (Sonja Horbelt)
Like All Things New was written at the time of the marriage equality debate/vote in Australia. It speaks to the importance of being able to live life true, to both the simple and complex nature of social change, and to how, during such times, we need the support of those we love most more than ever to be able to step forward and feel free.
7. Hear Me (Louise Denson)
Women have so much to offer and share if their voices are truly listened to. A plea, a request, a demand – Hear Me!
8. Moon Song, Woman Song (Elly Hoyt)
Moon Song, Woman Song was written in the dead of winter in Boston and is a poem by Anne Sexton set to music. The poem and music is a meditation into the ancient archetype of the moon as woman, virgin, goddess, and the betrayed lover.
9. Braver (Tamara Murphy)
Braver is about having courage and not giving into self-doubt. This piece was written especially for Elly to sing, and it allowed Tamara as a composer to write differently. It utilises elements like repetition in the phrasing and simplicity within the melodies to allow more weight to be placed on the lyrics (which were written by Elly) and not have it obscured by complex melodic writing. The result is both personal and yet universal.