From the recording Bartalk

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Let's Walk Below

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During the pandemic lockdown, people suffered an unprecedented sense of isolation - whether through quarantine, loneliness, solitude, confinement, seclusion, isolation, retreat, separation or detachment. The pandemic has led us all to a greater understanding of isolation - and its consequences. 

Bartalk itself – a cross-genre monodrama for speaking drummer and large ensemble - is an intimate performance by drummer and composer Sean Noonan, who has himself experienced isolation and entrapment. The work expresses those experiences by combining new music, free improvisation and ‘rhythmic storytelling’, the term Sean himself uses to describe his audacious, genre-defiant artistry, which steals and stretches the responsibilities of both drummer and narrator, merging them into one and allowing the drummer's four limbs and voice to unify the forces of rhythm and storytelling.  Adding his voice as part of the drum kit, Sean provides an extra layer - or a fifth limb - to the fully-coordinated four-limbed practice.  Bartalk will reflect aspects of what Sean described in 2006 as the ‘wandering folk theory’, as he travelled the world, collecting and adapting stories and folklore from diverse cultural traditions, passing them through the prism of his own singular worldview. As a modern-day ‘sonic griot’, he combines the most ancient of traditions with forward-seeking experimentation. His music is informed by an eclectic variety of influences: rock opera, avant-garde chamber music and harmolodic jazz-rock.

Throughout Bartalk, Sean will act as the 'unknown’, gradually succumbing to the effects of isolation and solitary confinement, articulated through a series of soliloquies. The ensemble expresses the auditory hallucinations heard by the 'unknown'. The work treats the ensemble as an extension of a drummer's limbs by orchestrating a polyrhythmic, polytemporal and polymetric language derived from the drum kit. 
The text of Bartalk was written in collaboration with Guenter Janovsky.  Malcolm Mooney is the lyricist on ‘Moonwalk’ and the ending of ‘Cruel and Usual’.  Very special thanks to all the fabulous musicians being featured in tonight’s performance of Bartalk.  Sean is so grateful to be able to collaborate and perform with all of these dear musicians!

Ligeti Quartet Freya Goldmark and Salomé Rateau (violins) Richard Jones (viola) Val Welbanks (cello)
Helen Vidovich (flute)
Alex Ward (clarinet, guitar)
Matthew Bourne (Fender Rhodes / church organ)
Otto Willberg (bass)
Sean Noonan (drums, voice and composer)

Producer Sean Hargreaves
Engineer Seb Truman
Assistants Justin Gartry and Ned Roberts
Videographer Panos Agamemnos

Also a very special thanks to:
Matthew Whiteside
Guenter Janovsky
Malcolm Mooney
Aled Pedrick
Haydn Corrodus
Ashley Valentine
Silo Studios
Monika Figel
Russell Occomore and the Crypt
Sean Hargreaves and TYE London

Please note that this concert is being multi-track recorded.  Please refrain from using mobile phones or talking during the performance, as there are microphones installed throughout the church.  This recording will be later released as an album in 2023.

The concert is the first Jazzlive event in the church itself and all profits will be donated to ‘AllSwell’, the Camberwell Organ project. This performance was only made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and PRS Music Foundation.

Part 1 
Bartalk Overture
Let’s Walk Below
The Aqua Diva
To Strip
Wrinkles of Time
Cruel and Usual
New Ways  

Part 2 
Love Meltdown
A Reluctant Astronaut
Chant of the Unknown
Lost in the Wald
Real Deep Real Slow
Winter Inside
Staring at Nothing
Rite of the Unknown
Portrait of a Heartless Lover 
We’re Younger Now