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66

Lonnie Holley & Nelson Patton

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Music

Synopsis

Called an "Insider's outsider" by the New York Times, Lonnie Holley is an eclectic African American artist whose practice ranges from painting, drawing, assembled or sandstone sculpture to performances that combine experimental music and poetry.

Born in 1950 in Alabama, when segregationist laws were still in effect, Lonnie Holley's life seems to be written from a novel : "kidnapped" from a burlesque dancer, at the age of four is sold for a bottle of whiskey, ends up in a reform school, is a cook at Disney World, returns to Alabama and goes to living in Airport Hill. One evening in 1979, while he and his sister are out, the house catches fire and his two nieces die in the blaze. Distraught, Holley makes a sculpture for their grave out of materials salvaged from a landfill. It is the first of several works, assemblages, silkscreens, metals and salvaged objects.

But Holley has also gained recognition for his music and has collaborated with groups such as Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective. In his songs, he addresses universal themes, such as the fate of the planet or the relationship with technology, as well as to more personal stories, hovering between surrealism and sociopolitical message.

His latest album, Oh Me Oh My features artists such as Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten, Moor Mother, Rokia Koné and Michael Stipe of REM, and was produced from Jacknife Lee (Modest Mouse, U2, REM).

Against the backdrop of his own artwork, accompanied on stage by the Nelson Patton duo, to Spoleto66 Lonnie Holley presents a selection of his songs in a blend of soul, avant-garde music, jazz and primal blues.

Credits

Program

voice Lonnie Holley

trombone and drums Nelson Patton

presented from Mahler & LeWitt Studios
in collaboration with Edel Assanti

Hall Program

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Text by Giovanni Coppola

from somewhere between the authentic gospel elegance of Sam Cooke and the magical free-jazz transformism of Sun Ra, describing how Lonnie Bradley Holley's musical narrative moves resembles being assailed from a throbbing and imaginative stream of consciousness, that of someone who from over forty years encounters artistic insights in unfamiliar places and transforms vital pathos into unpredictable, yet always conscious art. Able to restore harmony to memory and curiosity to the future, somehow and in the same way.

Born in 1950 to Birmingham, Alabama, Holley has devoted his life to a practice of improvised creativity ranging from painting to sculpture, filmmaking to music. The seventh of no fewer than 27 children, his childhood was constantly concocted, to the point from of spending months in a coma from as a child, after being hit from a car, and sentenced to three years in prison during his teens. After being released from prison, Holley's art idea was born one tragic night in 1979, in which a fire took away his sister's two daughters, and to to which Holley dedicated his first idea of ready-made-inspired sculpture and silkscreen printing, made of salvaged materials and real-life objects, and painting. In nurturing this passion, over time and always through the concept of trauma art, her works even make it to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Venice Biennale and the White House. Lonnie Holley's life, in short, reads like a novel through and through: growing up during the Jim Crow segregationist laws, he was "adopted" from a traveling burlesque dancer who may have taken him from his biological mother. At the age of four, he was sold for a bottle of whiskey, ended up in a reform school, worked as a cook at Disney World, and settled for some time on Airport Hill, a hill near the airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

Needless to point out how, in his idea of music, the roller coaster of these funanmoblic life stories echo loudly. Influenced from a timeless idea of blues, folk and jazz, his goal has always been to recreate a live (but also indirect) meta-reportage with a strong focus on social urgencies, combining universal themes such as the fate of the planet and our relationship with technology. Plus stories of class and race, life and love as seen through the canvas of a difficult from changing America, which was there and in many ways still is exactly as its experience exudes. "I think I was chosen to be an artist because I can take my life and tell to someone else about it. It's important to me to keep track of it," read the liner notes of her "Keeping to Record of It" in 2018. For Lonnie, art represents a form of freedom that eschews from every convention of rule, an expression that is woven between the strokes of sculptures made from recycled materials or by means of intense spiritual and musical catharsis: each creative act is vital, unique, wild and salvific, together.

The actual recording debut, for Lonnie even came , a little over a decade ago, in 2012, with "Just Before Music," a projection of a Hasselian memory quartomondism among textures of ghostly but sincere blues, where the character of revenge and the idea that the past must live again among the ideas of the future, but changing, stands out. "Just Before Music" in fact marks a paradoxical, belated debut for Holley with aopera musical premiere, yet it concentrates within all the fictional cynicism that the jolts of his life have so far told, joined to those meta-narrative stylings that from hereafter he will increasingly transmute into a language all his own. The suspension of time, which stands out between "Mama's Little Baby" and "Fifth Child Burning," is a tribute to memory and a reminder to exorcise it, that it is not there to hurt us but to be overcome.

Beyond to this life and this planet there are other places, seem to whisper the soulful vocals in "Planet Earth And Otherwheres," stunted between feeble rhythms and an interweaving of futurist blues and spoken word, and the circle begins to closing the past to embrace the future: "Keeping to Record of It," released a year later, certifies the same intent, while beginning to to delineate a distinct stylistic line. Inside, in fact, appear almost to surprise Bradford Cox of Deerhunter-whom Holley has always declared himself a great fan-and Cole Alexander of the Black Lips: another America, another way of sacralizing music and flying pindarically around its other worlds. For it is, after all, the first piece in a long wanderings, for Holley, toward mixing sound and character identities that have never been dome.

to certifying an ambition that involves no set rules or paths between known tracks, "Mith" takes five years to to see the light of day, and in 2018 tells of a determined Holley to changing pace once again. Between echoes of the crowded streets of New York and years spent between Oregon and Georgia, it is an album that embraces experimentation that is both painstaking and truthful. It is about the beginnings of the long (and still active) collaboration with the duo Nelson Patton, and whose peculiar post-jazz vocations are perfectly blended with the histrronicity of saxophonist Sam Gendel, along with a "before ambient" legend Laraaji and Shahzad Ismaily on the record's co-production.

The duo, formed from Dave Nelson and Marlon Patton, was born during their college years in Athens, Georgia, where they took the field in the strong experimental jazz band scene, and had already had a point of contact with the Birmingham-based artist, invited to lend vocals on four tracks on their 2016 debut "Along the Way." With a strong minimalist and ambient inspiration, their polyrhythmic composition is tinged with orchestral sounds layered between trombone, drums and electronic elements, in which the background in production and sound engineering, which had so impressed Holley himself, stands out, and that between their follow-ups "Last Year's Sunlight" and "Universal Process," he took the duo with him on a U.S. tour and commissioned them to write the song"I Snuck Off the Slave Ship" for the short film of the same name, directed with to Cyrus Moussavi and screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019.

In the midst, also to due to the untimely death of California singer-songwriter Richard Swift in 2018, sees the light of "National Freedom," a tribute where searing blues poems mingle to downtempo dub and freeform piano digressions as they mourn lost loves and scream of anguish. The result of sessions made in the studio with Swift a few years before his death, it is probably the richest and most mature piece, until 2020, in terms of research, matching the agitated late-krautrock echo exploration of "Broken Mirror: to Selfie Reflection," made a year later with Matthew E. White, attesting to how by now his quest has no boundaries or needs, but only a desire for revenge, readjustment and reversal, healthy madness.

Lonnie Holley's present takes us to "Oh Me Oh My," thus takes us to 2023, and the order of things, in this eternal novel, does not change: Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten and former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe accompany a'opera of yet new exaggerated languages, wandering in a universe of cinematic reality between folk roads that intertwine with classic and unmistakable blues echoes. And where this time perhaps the feeling toward the discovery of sweetness prevails: it is a veiledly softer jazz-song, delivering to us all the maturity of an artist now aware of having fun and playing with the present as well.

In their union with Nelson Patton, the experience of a Holley concert elevates if possible that sentiment even more: the duo's ability to weave avant-jazz improvisation that recreates endless cycles of throbbing breaths between the dramatic and the innocent, whose strongest points of light are always-and intentionally-sensationalistic walks through a prose of abstract notes. Combined with the story of an artist who experienced a "before" and an "after" of her own idea of music and then returned an infinite number of combinations and possibilities, their union on a stage can only foster a (new) melting pot of questions, insecurities, jolts. All indispensable elements to find other answers than the usual ones.

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Dates & Tickets

Tickets € 25
TICKETING INFO
Sat
24
Jun
2023
at
21:00
Auditorium della Stella
Sun
25
Jun
2023
at
21:00
Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
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Auditorium della Stella
Event Times
June 28
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
June 29
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
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19:45
20:45
June 30
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
15:15
16:30
17:30
18:30
19:45
01 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:15
14:15
15:30
16:30
17:45
20:30
21:30
02 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
13:15
14:15
17:30
18:30
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20:45
21:45
04 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
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17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
05 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
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17:30
18:30
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20:45
06 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
14:15
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17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
07 July
11:00
12:00
13:00
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17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
08 July
10:00
11:00
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14:15
15:15
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18:30
20:45
21:45
09 July
10:00
11:00
12:00
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17:30
18:30
19:45
20:45
21:45

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Biographies

Lonnie Holley

Born to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1950, Lonnie Holley lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. His artistic life is dedicated to the practice of improvisational creativity that embraces painting, sculpture, film, and music. Works made from Holley in 2023 include Souls Grown Deep at the Royal Academy in London and Lonnie Holley: If You Really Knew to North Miami (MOCA). In 2022 he exhibited to Dallas Contemporary and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. In 2021, at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, and in 2020 at Turner Contemporary in the U.K. and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2018 he exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in 2017 at MASS MoCA in North Adams in the U.S. and at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. His works are housed in numerous permanent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC. Holley's first film, I Snuck Offthe Slave Ship premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. Artangel commissioned him to make a song cycle and film The Edge of What in 2022. Holley has signed a contract with Jagjaguwar and is represented from Blum & Poe Gallery (Los Angeles) and Edel Assanti (London). His latest album, Oh Me Oh My (Jagjaguwar, 2023), features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten, Moor Mother, Rokia Koné and Michael Stipe of REM, and was produced from Jacknife Lee (Modest Mouse, U2 , REM.

Nelson Patton

New York-based instrumental duo to consisting of from Dave Nelson and Marlon Patton, is inspired by ambient minimalism, polyrhythmic composition and orchestral sounds. The duo layers trombone, drums and electronics to create a varied range of improvised structures that evolve giving rise to to an immersive experience that often amplifies into dramatic crescendos of orchestral fanfares. Founded in 2013, the Nelson Patton duo has released an EP and two full-length albums, the first of which features Lonnie Holley on vocals. This collaboration brought to a fruitful relationship that continues to this day. The duo's contribution to Lonnie's latest LP, Mith, was integral to the album's success, which won critical and public acclaim. The short film made from Holley to accompanying the track I Snuck Off the Slave Ship premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The duo also frequently follows Holley on his tours, performing throughout the United States and abroad. Notable performances include Utrecht's "Le Guess Who" festival, the Broad Museum's Summer Happenings Festival in Los Angeles, the Melbourne Jazz Festival, and a collaboration with Animal Collective.

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