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Matana Roberts: COIN COIN: The Remix

Matana Roberts: COIN COIN: The Remix

African-American saxophonist, composer, and sound experimentalist Matana Roberts performs the latest iteration of her COIN COIN series


June 3, 2015Live streaming of concert and discussion now available on YouTube

Posted by: The Kitchen

Matana Roberts’s performances, which were streamed live on The Kitchen’s website, are now available in their entirely followed by a discussion with the artist led by critic Seth Colter Walls on YouTube: 

Check out : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTM0fRbqWOE


May 26, 2015: Tickets available for this Friday and Saturday, May 29 and May 30

Posted by: The Kitchen

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Don’t miss “Matana Roberts: Coin Coin: The Remix” 
May 29–30, 8pm
Tickets $15

These two evenings at The Kitchen will offer very rare reworked glimpses of the newest chapter as it relates to the past two chapters of the work (Coin Coin Chapter 1: Gens des Coleur Libre, and Coin Coin Chapter 2: Mississippi Moonchile) and the current direction of Roberts’ compositional process. This two-night residency will also be in celebration of the five-year anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking series. Each evening will end with a discussion led by critic Seth Colter Walls

April 1, 2015: Drummer and percussionist Tomas Fujiwara and sound/visual artist Daniel Givens join Coin Coin

Posted by: The Kitchen

For Coin Coin: The Remix, Matana Roberts will be joined by the drummer and percussionist Tomas Fujiwara with video work conceived by Daniel Givens.

Here are their bios: 

Tomas Fujiwara
Tomas Fujiwara is a Brooklyn-based drummer and composer. Described as “a ubiquitous presence in the New York scene…an artist whose urbane writing is equal to his impressively nuanced drumming” (Troy Collins, Point of Departure), Tomas is an active player in some of the most exciting music of the current generation, with his bands Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up (with Jonathan Finlayson, Brian Settles, Mary Halvorson, and Michael Formanek) and The Tomas Fujiwara Trio (with Ralph Alessi and Brandon Seabrook); his collaborative duo with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum; the collective trio Thumbscrew (with Halvorson and Formanek); and a diversity of creative sideman work with forward thinking peers like Matana Roberts and Nicole Mitchell. In The New York Times, Nate Chinen writes, “Drummer Tomas Fuijwara works with rhythm as a pliable substance, solid but ever shifting. His style is forward-driving but rarely blunt or aggressive, and never random. He has a way of spreading out the center of a pulse while setting up a rigorous scaffolding of restraint…A conception of the drum set as a full-canvas instrument, almost orchestral in its scope.”

In describing Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up, Jim Macnie of The Village Voice says, “The drummer has named his latest band appropriately. Ensembles can go anywhere if the intra-group chemistry is cooking…Fujiwara sounds like he’s got his mates on speed dial.” Featuring trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, tenor saxophonist Brian Settles, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and bassist Michael Formanek, the band’s first record (Actionspeak, 482 Music) was named one of the best debuts of 2010 by the New York City Jazz Record and received a four-star review in Downbeat. The group’s second album (The Air is Different, 482  Music) “continues upon a course, teeming with unanticipated shifts in strategy, but not executed in shock-therapy mode. With a superfine support system of revered improvisers, Fujiwara reaps the benefits of a distinctly fresh musical climate. With off-kilter patterns, cunning geometric architectures and sudden paradigm shifts, the band merges a search and conquer tactical component with an acutely balanced mix of structure and free-form dialogues.” (Glenn Astarita, Jazz Review). The band’s third album (After All Is Said, 482 Music), “layered and cohesive, rhythmically diverse, with a lean but muscular sound that defines Fujiwara’s distinctive approach to melody and harmony,” (Terrell Holmes, New York City Jazz Record) was released in April, 2015.

Tomas’ duo with cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has produced three critically acclaimed albums: True Events (2007, 482 Music), Stepwise (2010, NotTwo Records) and Through Foundation (2014, Self-released). “The playing is not just typically excellent, it’s conversational and buoyant, engaging the listener not through forceful attention-grabbing but rather coherence and seductiveness” (Trevor Hunter, NewMusicBox).

The collective trio Thumbscrew (with Mary Halvorson and Michael Formanek) released it’s debut album (Thumbscrew, Cuneiform) in 2014. The Village Voice writes, “the barrage of riffs are both epic and melodic, the low end beefy and the percussion massive. Expect nothing less than magic from these three avant purveyors.”  Thumbscrew received a 4 1/2 star review from Downbeat and was included on a number of Best-of-2014 lists including NPR, The Wire, All About Jazz, and El Intruso.

Born and raised in Boston, MA, Tomas studied with legendary drummer and teacher Alan Dawson for eight years before moving to New York at the age of 17. He is currently a member of ensembles led by Bynum, Halvorson, Matana Roberts, Mike Reed, Nicole Mitchell, Matt Bauder, Josh Sinton (Ideal Bread), and Tomeka Reid, in addition to projects with artists such as Anthony Braxton, Michael Formanek, Ben Goldberg, Benoit Delbecq, and Briggan Krauss and has performed at festivals and venues across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Tomas also has many experiences outside the jazz realm, including a five-year run with the Off Broadway show Stomp and performances with the Tony Award winning Broadway musical Fela!, featuring Patti Labelle and members of Antibalas.


Daniel Givens

Daniel Marcellus Givens is a Chicago born, New York based sound/visual artist, writer, poet, DJ, and performer. His work is the collision of space and humanity with subject matter which abstracts and comments on the cross section of race, gender, sexuality, and class in the African diaspora and its interaction with the world at large. He has recorded several albums for the Aesthetics label, including his debut, Age, which won best album of 2000 from Italy’s Blow Up magazine. He has toured Europe several times, most recently performing with Danish band Efterklang along with the Sonderjyllands Symfoniorkester. He has collaborated with members of the A.A.C.M. & Black Rock Coalition, various choreographers, musicians, and artists. He wrote, directed, and stared in the full length musical play First Dark Drama which premiered at Richard Foreman’s Ontological Theater. He currently lives in Harlem.

March 18, 2015: Interview with Matana Roberts in BOMB spring issue

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Check out an interview with Matana Roberts by Christopher Stackhouse on the occasion of the release of Chapter Three in her ongoing series Coin Coin in the Number 131/Spring 2015 issue of BOMB in print and online: 


March 5, 2015: Program details

Posted by: The Kitchen

Matana Roberts has been working for the past eight years on a musical and visual work-in-progress she terms Coin Coin, exploring themes of history, memory and ancestry. This innovative work has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures. At The Kitchen she presents a new consideration of her recent solo release in the series, River Run Thee, where she will be exploring her ongoing interest in sound/moving image mixology, ephemeral collage, improvisation and durational experimentation for the sake of experimentation first and foremost; each evening features a special past collaborator in the work. These two evenings will offer two very rare reworked glimpses of the newest chapter as it relates to the past two chapters of the work (Coin Coin Chapter 1: Gens des Coleur Libre, and Coin Coin Chapter 2: Mississippi Moonchile) and the current direction of Roberts’ compositional process. This two-night residency will also be in celebration of the five-year anniversary of the release of the groundbreaking series. Each evening will end with a discussion led also by a special guest and arts comrade that has been intrinsic to the development of the series.

May 29-30, 8pm
Tickets $15

Matana Roberts: Coin Coin was supported by New Music USA, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Helen F. Whitaker Fund, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust.

Annual music program support at The Kitchen provided by The Amphion Foundation, Inc., and The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and in part by public funds from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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Chicago-born, New York City-based, African-American sound experimentalist Matana Roberts works in many performance/sound mediums including improvisation, dance, poetry, and theater. A dynamic saxophonist, composer, improviser, and mixed media sound conceptualist, she aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit raising traditions of American creative expression in her music and art. Her innovative work has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures.

Matana Roberts performs the latest iteration of COIN COIN at The Kitchen for two evenings, May 29-30, 2014. Since 2006,  Matana has worked and workshopped her multi-chapter, multi-media, conceptual composition and narration project COIN COIN with various groups of musicians, most notably a New York contingent (with whom she occasionally tours the project) and a Montreal contingent (the city in which she took up semi-residency at the end of the decade). In summer 2010, at the invitation of Constellation, Matana recorded Chapter One of COIN COIN with her Montreal group. The album, COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres was released in May 2011 to widespread critical acclaim. This work-in-progress tells the saga of her extended family’s ascent in North America from Transatlantic servitude through the Jim Crow South to the present.

Roberts has played with and alongside Rob Mazurek, Myra Melford, Vijay Iyer, Roscoe Mitchell, Greg Tate, Nicole Mitchell, Henry Grimes, Jayne Cortez, Seb Rochford, Fred Anderson, Latasha Diggs, George Lewis, Tyshawn Sorey, David Berhman, Pauline Oliveros, Reg E. Gaines, Daniel Givens, Savion Glover, Anthony Braxton, Kid Lucky, Liberty Ellman, Amina Claudine Meyers, Jeff Parker, Handsome Furs, Robert Mitchell, Quest Love, Julius Hemphill Sextet, Merce Cunningham, Joe Maneri, Beans, Bill T Jones, Josh Abrams, Chad Taylor, Dave Douglas, John Herndon just to name a few. She has recorded as a side person with groups as diverse as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, TV On The Radio, Savath & Savalas, Thee Silver Mt Zion, and performance artists My Barbarian.
Roberts, a self-taught mixed media composer, earned two degrees in performance after receiving her main training from free arts programming in the American public school system. She is a past member of the Black Rock Coalition (BRC) and the AACM: The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. She has been a Van Lier Fellow, a Brecht Forum Fellow, Copeland Fellow, A Jazz Makes Fellow, an ICASP fellow, and an Alpert Award In The Arts nominee 5 years running (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) She is a 2013 FCA  fellow. She has been invited to teach, lecture, run workshops and/or take up artistic residencies in countless places under diverse conditions and communities over the past decade and is a past faculty member of the Banff Creative Music Workshop, School for Improvised Music, and Bard College MFA, where she was co-chair of the Music and Sound Department 2011-12.


Project-related Media

Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Excerpt) Live

Matana Roberts-- Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile (Excerpt), 2013. Composed by Matana Roberts. Performed on 10/13/2013 at Jazz Gallery, Performance Space, New York. Matana Roberts—alto saxophone, vocals, conduction, wordspeak; Shoko Nagai—piano, vocals; Jason Palmer—trumpet, vocals.


COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, 2013 All compositions by Matana Roberts. Matana Roberts: alto saxophone, vocals, conduction, wordspeak; Shoko Nagai: piano, vocals; Jason Palmer: trumpet, vocals; Jeremiah Abiah: operatic tenor vocals; Thomson Kneeland: double bass, vocals; Tomas Fujiwara: drums, vocals.


COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres

Recorded in front of a live audience at the Hotel2Tango studio in Montreal (July 9, 2010). Matana Roberts: all compositions, reeds/voice; Gitanjali Jain: voice; David Ryshpan: piano/organ; Nicolas Caloia: cello; Ellwood Epps: trumpet; Brian Lipson: bass trumpet; Fred Bazil: tenor sax; Jason Sharp: baritone sax; Hraïr Hratchian: doudouk; Xarah Dion: prepared guitar; Marie Davidson: violin; Josh Zubot: violin; Lisa Gamble: musical saw; Thierry Amar: bass; Jonah Fortune: bass; David Payant: drums/vibes.


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One response to “Matana Roberts: COIN COIN: The Remix”

  1. Some of the most original and inspiring music happening in 2015. The music and innovations of Matana Roberts are a direct influence on the work of the 12 Houses.

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05/29/2015 - 05/30/2015


New York, New York

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Last Updated June 3, 2015

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The Kitchen

New York, New York

Located in the Chelsea gallery district near the High Line, The Kitchen is one of New York City’s most forward-looking nonprofit spaces, showing innovative work by emerging and established artists across disciplines of music, dance, performance, theater, and visual art. Since its inception in 1971, The Kitchen has been a powerful force in shaping the...

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