Cellista 2 - photo by Temira Decay (Yellow Bubbles Photography)
Cellista 1 - photo by Temira Decay (Yellow Bubbles Photography)
Cellista 1 – photo by Temira Decay (Yellow Bubbles Photography)

Known as a quite groundbreaking experimental cellist and multimedia artist, California’s Cellista presents her new video for ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’ off the new ‘Transfigurations’ multimedia work, released as an album and book combo, the latter being co-authored with the philosopher Dr. Frank Seeburger.

The song itself feels like the avant side of Kronos Quartet, Laurie Anderson and ‘Then as Now’ by Gordon Deppe / The Spoons from the ‘Listen to the City’ soundtrack. For such a dystopian thematic, it is surprisingly engaging, leaving you hanging on every word. Arranged by Cellista to poetry by Aubrey Gail Ferreira. Further driving home her collaborative spirit is the fact that this track was composed by Olivier Messiaen, performed by Cellista and narrated by Dem One, typically well known for his hip hop performances (his lyrics and performance in the album’s lead track ‘Look Homeward, Angel’ is stunning).

One thing is certain – Cellista’s curatorial style and performance defies stereotypes and even genre-related pigeonholing due to the diverse styles, as demonstrated on this album. The video itself is directed by Jennifer Gigantino. It is choreographed and performed by Mojo Deville, and filmed at Chez Cellista Studios.

Hailing from San Jose, Cellista’s penchant for performing music in unconventional spaces, and her devotion to collaborating with artists across media and genres disrupts the world of the classical performing arts. Cellista traverses the walls between disciplines and the borders between spectator and audience. She etches out her own niche through her performances of captivating theatrical recitals by interweaving film, text, and dance.

Cellista’s sound brims with a dissidence, informed by her classical foundation and her want to tear that very foundation apart. It explores the sounds of her immediate community through sound collages and music curated to augment that community. It also explores the meeting point of musical borders and gives testimony to the fragile ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay Area that sits alongside the rest of the world in an increasingly vulgar epoch.

The Transfigurations book designed to explore moments of transfigurations to complement the album. ‘A Listener’s Guide to Cellista’s Transfigurations’, is far more than liner notes to the album – it includes brief and wonderfully readable essays by Cellista, in which she addresses the personal moments of transfiguring experiences in her own life, including events that allowed her to find her artistic voice. In this book, Dr. Seeburger also addresses transfiguring moments in his own life experiences.

Cellista is also currently into her national tour in support of her new release (see dates below) with multimedia performances coast to coast with guest collaborators from across disciplines, directing and performing in an immersive event that integrates dance, film, literature and music. This wonderfully intricate performance involves numerous collaborators:

Dancers Ransom Dance & Mojo DeVille
A full-length accompanying film by Jennifer Gigantino
The Juxtapositions Chamber Ensemble
Composer Sean Renner
Cellist Mia-Pixley
Blues band The Blind Bandits
Noise Band War Hippy
Skin Suspension artist & soprano Operafication

“Transfigurations encapsulates the experiences of those around me in the Bay Area. Those stories reach far beyond my immediate home and in touring Transfigurations, I am eager to share this culmination and merging of the worlds around me. It is mix of history and despair that is encapsulated by music at its core and other media like dance and film which week to further the voices of my community,” explains Cellista.

“The multimedia concerts are immersive and feature dance performances from Ransom Dance and Mojo DeVille. It is performed alongside a full-length film created by filmmaker Jennifer Gigantino, which is live scored by Cellista.”

Cellista has worked with Grammy-nominated artist Tanya Donelly, producer John Vanderslice, Troyboi, Don McLean, Casey Crescenzo, Van Dyke Parks, and Pam the Funkstress. She recently joined soprano Carla Canales for Hear Her Song, a project that promotes women’s voices through original compositions by female composers. Under the musical direction of Kurt Crowley (Broadway’s Hamilton), her playing was praised.

‘Transfigurations’ is available now on limited edition CD and at shows, and comes with a full-length book and download code. It can be found everywhere digitally, including Bandcamp, where the book is downloadable as a PDF for anyone purchasing the album there. The book is also being released separately via online retail sites like Amazon.

LIVE DATES (tickets at the door or reserve online via Facebook)
Sept 20 Seattle, WA – Wayward Music Series
(with The Zero Collective, noisepoetnobody)
Sept 22 Portland, OR – a steep & thorny way to heaven
(with Operafication, The Zero Collective)
Sept 24 Los Angeles, CA – Coaxial (Noise Soirée)
(with The Zero Collective, Crank Sturgeon, Anna Homler)
Sept 27 Denver, CO – Mercury Cafe (with Sean Renner)
Oct. 06 Sacramento, CA – NorCal Noise (Part of Norcal Noisefest)
Oct. 18 Los Angeles, CA – Art Share (with Sean Renner)
Oct. 25 Oakland, CA – Temescal Arts Center (with Mia Pixley)

Check out the first single from this album as well as the full LP, with many other choice offerings:

Listen to the whole of Transfigurations by Cellista

You can follow developments with Cellista via her Website, Facebook and Bandcamp. Follow them on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud and Spotify.

All words via Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Father, Husband, Blogger, home-brewer, poet, chicken-keeper, tweeter - @hiapop. Keen to be green. Childhood ambitions to be a pop-star thwarted due to being unable to sing. Instead, began listening to music of every type. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air. Helping to Save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire from the BBC cuts – Twitter @SaveOnTheWire. Blogs at http://www.hiapop.com

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