Unveiling unheard melodies: Rhythms and Rituals

Portrait of University of New Brunswick Musician-in-Residence Nadia Francavilla, she's in charge of developing the University of New Brunswick Music Festival for this year. (Submitted: Nadia Francavilla)

Rhythm and Rituals gives New Brunswick audiences a three-concert series that invites them to immerse themselves in music while challenging the boundaries of conventional auditory experiences.

From Nov.17 to 19, MusicUNB hosted the Contemporary Music Festival, a three-concert collection curated by UNB Musician-in-Residence Nadia Francavilla. This year’s theme, Rhythms and Rituals, contrasted the human hunger for familiarity with the equally human craving for disruption.

“Each part of the concert has a unique vision on rhythms and rituals. In contact with each of them, it is possible to get different experiences.”

Francavilla said the event makes reference to the routines everyone performs as part of their everyday lives.

She said the first concert is about reflection. The second one uses rituals associated with Vespers in a religious sense, but in a contemporary setting. Francavilla added the third concert represents the rituals of writing and painting.

“It’s music that they probably haven’t heard before.”

She said this musical experience is something not usually seen in New Brunswick or Canada, considering it a unique opportunity, especially for being in a university setting.

“We’re giving people something that is a little bit different than what we might be used to.”

She said they played not only from the stage but also from the audience, giving them “a different take on the music.”

Francavilla explained how this music experience includes pre-recorded tracks. They put the music into context, allowing spectators to understand the music pieces, composers and the reason why these pieces were written.

“Every composer has their own language and writing, that makes their music the way it is. So as musicians, it’s important for us to bring that out,” she said.

For Francavilla, rehearsals were fun, as many musicians played together for a long time. They talked about programming and everyone brought in ideas and pieces. She thinks of it as a “team effort.”

“I’d love the audience to be surprised if they discover something, not necessarily something new — but they’re curious enough to go on.”