Manchester Collective are one of the most exciting chamber ensembles in the UK at the moment. They are also currently Artists-in-Residence with the RNCM, working closely with the students to provide essential insight and experience for the young performers. It is only fitting that one of their idiomatic inventively curated concerts appears as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations in the college. Bag of Bones is a raw and theatrical collaboration between the collective and singer, composer and violinist Alice Zawadzki.
Drawing on Zawadzki’s Polish heritage this brand-new piece of musical theatre explores her cultural history and inherited stories that can be traced back multiple generations. Her own musical influences are highly varied drawing on New Orleans Jazz, Gospel and extensive classical violin training as much as folk music and UK Jazz. She cannot be boxed into a genre but the craft of her composition and the technical skill of her voice is unmistakable.
The ensemble is an unconventional combination of keys, accordion, percussion and string quartet. We can just imagine the deep and darker sounds of Central European folk that could be brought to life within this collection of players. The possibility for visceral and earthy textures is ripe and based on Zawadzki’s 2019 album Within You Is A World Of Spring, we can expect heartfelt and honest music that cuts away at pretence.
venture into the world of music theatre
Bag of Bones sits somewhere between the worlds of a romantic song cycle, alternative theatre, late-night jazz and original folk. It’s unlike anything Manchester Collective have taken on before, but based on their version of Pierrot Lunaire we’re keen to see them venture into the world of music theatre once again.
Don’t expect to see a typical concert set up. The set, designed by Alice and the collective, evolves as the piece unfurls giving the sense of a living backdrop to this entirely new work.