Ayanna Woods presents her ‘wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous’ music in an eclectic showcase | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Ayanna Woods presents her ‘wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous’ music in an eclectic showcase

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If you’ve ever heard of Chicago composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Woods, it might have been at Constellation, where groups such as Fifth House Ensemble and ZRL have performed her works. Or maybe her music has streamed through your headphones while you were listening to Eve Ewing’s new podcast Bughouse Square. Woods’s songs, including “Has to Be,” have also been featured in the web series Brown Girls, and in 2017 she appeared alongside Ewing and poet Nate Marshall in the Manual Cinema live-action film performance No Blue Memories—The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. With her history of such varied creative endeavors, it’s tough to guess where Woods will focus her talents at any given moment, but we do know what she’ll be up to tonight—showcasing her vocal-instrumental works, a few small-scale choral arrangements, and some excerpts from No Blue Memories at Fulton Street Collective. She’ll be joined by E’mon Lauren, Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate, who will give a reading, and ZRL, who’ll perform Woods’s new work It Bears Repeating, which they recently recorded (due out on vinyl this spring through Homeroom’s Physics for Listeners series). Woods will close out the show with her project Yadda Yadda, which will release its debut record this fall. The mix of artists and mediums presented in tonight’s program is a testament to Woods’s diverse influences and unique musical journey; she grew up singing in Chicago’s Children’s Choir and the gospel choir of her church before earning her BA in music composition at Yale, and she’s since collaborated with contemporary music ensembles, including Third Coast Percussion. Woods describes her music as “wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous,” and that’s a fitting overview of her recent Triple Point, a quartet piece she wrote for Third Coast Percussion that fuses her classical training with minimalist pop sensibilities.   v

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