Our creative partners #4: Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra

Waterloo Festival thrives on creative partnerships, on bringing professionals from the world of arts and music to collaborate with and showcase their wonderful work to our communities in Waterloo, Lambeth and - thanks to the marvels of the internet - elsewhere. In this series, we meet some of our creative partners for 2020. Next up, Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra.


Rita Says (Photo: Brian Monaghan)

Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra is a Live Art project dedicated to exploring the link between the history of twentieth-century fine art practise and Avantgarde music. Rita formed the orchestra at The Foundry in 2008 after hearing a version of Cornelius Cardew's piece Treatise. Over the last 12 years Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra have performed at major art and music venues, bringing their unique punk inspired approach (combining professional and non professional performers) to a wide range of experimental classics.


For Waterloo Festival, they are organising an digital rendition of an experimental work by American composer La Monte Young. You can find more about this here, including how you can be part of this performance!



Rita Says tell us: "My background is in fine art performance and sculpture: I have no formal training as an orchestra director. I started the project in 2008 and I'm still learning how to run it. Each new piece, each new project is an adventure!"


"I see Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra as basically a covers band: we make versions of twentieth-century art-music classics, very much as a jazz orchestra would reinterpret popular standards."

"We bring the great works of Modernist music from the last century into the current one by approaching them with a Punk/DIY attitude... “seizing the right to speak” by playing down technical ability in favour of passion and commitment. Bands like The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Pere Ubu and Suicide have influenced the way I work just as much as John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and Arseeny Avraamov. Being an untrained performer, I see no distinction between musicians and non-musicians: anyone (under the right conditions) can potentially make a valid contribution! I believe that everyone should have a voice in the cultural debate regardless of experience, education or background."


The album Rita Says and The Jerico Orchestra, Live at Limehouse Town Hall can be heard via whosemusic.co.uk. This album, in a limited signed and numbered 12” vinyl edition of 250, includes a unique recreation of the legendary 1922 Symphony of Sirens by the great Soviet composer Arseny Avraamov, selections from Cardew's The Great Learning and a recent interpretation of Marinetti's 1912 concrete poem Zang Tumb Tumb.



"I'm delighted to have been invited by the Waterloo Festival to present a new choral interpretation of La Monte Young's Composition 1960 Number 7. This great seminal piece (central to the development of Minimalist music) offers a very cool opportunity to open up the act of performance by inviting contributions from members of the general public. So, please send in your contribution and join us in a radical musical experiment: I don't know about you but I'm really looking forward to hearing the result!"

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