Preview: Counterflows 2014 highlights


First published in The Herald on 26 March, 2014

Emahoy Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou is a 90-year-old Ethiopian nun whose piano music is like none other: bluesy, spiritual and spacious, it’s music rooted in the unique traditions of Addis Ababa yet also timeless and placeless. For nearly three decades Emahoy has lived in a monastery in Jerusalem, where last year the Israeli musician Maya Dunietz helped her publish her compositions. Dunietz performs some of these composition at the closing concert of Counterlflows in what should be a rare insight into the music of an Ethiopian master. Glad Cafe, Sunday

Counterflows’s inaugural artist-in-residence is a towering figure in jazz and improvised music. From free punk to hard bop to intimate, tender solo albums, Miami-born trumpeter/saxophonist Joe McPhee draws few boundaries around the music he plays or the musicians with whom he collaborates. What unifies his art is the full-throttle spirit that he invests in every note. CCA, Glasgow School of Art Victoria Bar and Glad Cafe, Fri-Sun

Another blistering saxophonist, another (if substantially younger) key player in international free improv circles, Swedish musician Mats Gustaffson brings a potent, free-wheeling voice to the projects he tackles – and he tackles a lot of different projects. He teams up with McPhee in the closing concert of Counterflows: expect madcap energy levels. Glad Cafe, Sunday

Sarah Kenchington builds weird and wonderful instruments using old bits of plumbing, bicycle parts or tractor inner tubes. They’re magical inventions meant for everyone and anyone to play: this is music-making of the freest and most inclusive degree. Kenchington’s family workshop for Counterflows will involve makeshift kazoos and the simple human voice. Glad Cafe, Sunday


Akio Suzuki and Aki Onda: cassette-tape sound art from a pair of Japanese pioneers. Fleming House Underground Car Park, Friday

Luke Fowler: a special commission from the film/sound artist with electro and analogue synth contributions from Mika Vainion and Lee Patterson. CCA, Friday