Ana Silvera is a London-born composer and musician. She became known for her folk and bluegrass-tinged tunes on the release of her first album The Aviary in 2012. But her latest LP, Oracles, is a recording of her acclaimed choral song cycle, which was nominated for a British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors Award after its first performances in The Roundhouse in London and Sage Gateshead.
Find out more about her interesting approach to music and details of her upcoming performance below.
Ana studied voice at Guildhall School of Music and then literature at University College London. She moved to Ibiza and began to write and record her own music. Since then she has lived in Berlin, where she got into electronic music; New York, where she recorded part of her first album; and Copenhagen, where she collaborated with Danish musicians.
Ana describes herself as a folk singer and composer – but this doesn’t really give you a clue as to the variety of her output to date. For example, along with solo recordings, she was commissioned by the Royal Ballet to write and sing the full-length work Cassandra. She has collaborated with early music ensemble Concerto Caledonia on a project relating to Henry Purcell, and with the much-admired Estonian Television Girls’ Choir, for whom she wrote this beautiful choral work.
The release of Oracles and subsequent tour come just seven months after Ana’s recording Arcana – A Winter EP came out. Plus she is ready to debut new solo material (more of which later) and on July 8 her collaboration with the theatre company Ice&Fire, What Do I Know? gets its premiere at the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival before travelling to Europe.
Ana’s work Lost and Found was performed during Refugee Week at the V&A earlier in June. In it, four members of Freedom from Torture’s creative writing group Write to Life share their moving, surprising and darkly humorous stories. And her Ice&Fire collaboration What Do I Know? explores the effects of the current war in Yemen, taking inspiration from the poetry of Amina Atiq and the reflections and realities of Khaled Ahmed, a young, self-taught English teacher living in Yemen, played by Waleed Akhtar.
In a recent interview with LaLaLa Records, Ana said of her losses: ‘I was shell-shocked but also life had a different kind of intensity to it. I think it’s often said that when someone very close passes away, especially a sibling as it was in my case, it can feel like you need to live for the both of you.’
She describes the process of writing the work as translating grief into music – find out more in this ‘making of’ video.
Yes, Ana is going to play Oracles. But it will also feature the premiere of a specially commissioned dance film to accompany a track from the song cycle, created by director and dancer Kate Church (Royal Ballet) and art director Alice Williamson.
The first half of the show features new solo music, especially arranged for this event. Ana has gathered together some very distinguished musicians for the performance, including multi-instrumentalist Josephine Stephenson, who has worked with Nils Frahm and Nico Muhly, double bassist Jasper Høiby (Phronesis and Fellow Creatures), vocalist and violinist Alice Zawadzki, cellist and vocalist Alice Purton, pianist Will Barry (Fellow Creatures) and drummer Marc Michel.