A fusion of diverse cultures, instruments and artists, JADE New World Collective demonstrates the value of cultural collaboration and strong partnerships in developing new music and delivering performance.

 

What

In 2019, a new intercultural ensemble, JADE New World Collective, was developed in a partnership between Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and Sounds Across Oceans. The ensemble was formed to encourage and support collaboration between artists of diverse backgrounds and features four core members: Indigenous didgeridoo player David Williams, Japanese koto master Takako Haggarty Nishibori, Nepalese tabla musician Dheeraj Shrestha, and Australian guitarist Dr Anthony Garcia.

As part of their launch, the collective created a suite of new music and performed a premiere showcase concert entitled Crystal Moonlight in QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre for the 2019 BrisAsia Festival

During the concert, the collective were joined by guest artists including Thai musician Pongsaporn Upani, Indian-Australian vocalist Charulatha Mani and local contemporary pop singer Noralyn. The ensemble also participated in a live performance followed by a panel discussion for the BrisAsia Symposium Belonging. 

In addition to this, JADE developed school workshops for Queensland Academies Creative Industries (QACI) and McGregor State School, invited communities to take part in open rehearsals, and provided a special performance for the Queensland Royal Children’s Hospital along with an interview for Juiced TV.


When and where

February 2019 to March 2020, Brisbane.

 

Key stats

  • 6 Queensland-based business contracted to provide services
  • 8 Queensland artists and 10 Queensland arts workers provided with paid employment
  • 12 new original compositions 
  • 580 attendees
  • 85% rated the work as good or excellent
  • 2 School workshop (McGregor State School/QACI Queensland Academy of Creative Industries)
  • 1 Hospital Visit (Mater Children’s Hospital Juiced TV Performance/Interview)
  • 1 Symposium presentation (BrisAsia Symposium 2019)

 

Investment

$22,600 support through Queensland Arts Showcase Program (QASP) - Arts Impact. QASP provides funding to support the delivery of vibrant and accessible arts and cultural experiences for Queensland. 

 

 

Outcomes

  • JADE’s launch led to the creation of 12 original compositions and music arrangements, developed in collaboration between artists from diverse cultural and stylistic backgrounds to form the basis of their Crystal Moonlight concert.
  • Throughout this project, the ensemble was able to develop a suite of high quality digital marketing assets including a documentary video, showcase video and images, which will be used to promote the ensemble nationally and internationally in future.
  • The process of forming the ensemble and working together to launch Crystal Moonlight allowed JADE to establish a standard of practice and determine strategic goals for the company and their place in the arts sector moving forward.
  • Cultural collaboration between different cultural arts practices.

 

Learnings and reflections

JADE’s partnership with QPAC provided an additional wealth of experience and knowledge, which was beneficial to the overall development of the collective and their launch concert program. 

“The partnership with QPAC was one of the most important and successful aspects of this program. There was depth, passion and an authentic desire from all stakeholders to develop this group in a way that was respectful of the cultural traditions of the artists while mindful of the need to present and shape a refined program that was artistically originally and aesthetically attractive.”

Collaboration between ensemble members, though challenging at times, proved critical to the success of the collective overall.

“Ultimately, it is the artistic collaboration that drove this project. The artists all grew through the process of creating new music together and were surprised and thrilled with the artistic outcome and value of the music presented.”

“The traditional methods of learning, composing, performing for each artist is very specialised and unique to the cultural context. In that sense, the greatest challenges is creating a group ethos that suits the collective and that respects, acknowledges and appropriately blends the artists’ sounds, ideas and creative perspectives. The most important learnings for our ensemble were creating time, space, staying opening to the process, remaining calm and mindful in the midst of perplexity and creative chaos and trusting in one another to find the common groove that results in wonderful new music.”

 

JADE found they had to revaluate their plans and think through several alternative finance and sponsorship options, in order to deliver the project with funding support in the timeframe required.

“The timeframe for delivering this project was very tight. This required the development of backup contingency plans, alternative budgets and sponsorship advocacy. With more time we would have programmed some of the rehearsals earlier to give us more time and space prior to the concert to adjust and tweak the program and potentially develop an extra piece or two for the concert.”

 

For the Crystal Moonlight performance, it was a challenge for JADE to balance the delicate musical and visual collaboration of the different instruments with the microphone, audio and lighting equipment.

“The diversity, tonal complexity and dynamic range of the different instruments used by this ensemble makes the job of mixing and the audio for the live show very challenging. The time required for sound check for the Crystal Moonlight performance was more than any other concert the members had presented previously. Additionally, the number of microphones on stage also impacted the stage lighting and design. This was cleverly managed for the premiere however and it is accepted to part of the nature of the instrumental combination.”

 

 

Feedback

“[Congratulations] on the magnificent performance of Jade – Crystal Moonlight.. We were taken aback by the complimenting musical cultures and amazing expertise of the musicians. It was a pleasure to meet some of the musicians after the performance, including Dr Anthony Garcia, who in our opinion led the ensemble brilliantly. A memorable highlight of the performance was the second last piece, when Noralyn was supported by her fellow feature artists Charulatha Mani and Pongsaporn Upani. It was a heart-warming moment which brought out a beautiful collage of sound when these three feature artists came together at front centre of the stage! We really appreciate the invitation and your kind hospitality.” - Greg O’Rourke, Senior Mission Coordinator, Trade and Investment Queensland (audience member)

“An inspiring evening. Not only was the music interesting but there was a strong element of cultural unity through celebrating diversity. It felt very modern Australian! Joyful and uplifting. Thank you to the JADE Collective!” - Greg Cossar (audience member)

“This was one of the most inspiring concerts I have ever seen. I left the theatre in tears. The visual backdrop was stunning and the music flowed across so many styles. It was mesmerising. I can't wait to see another JADE performance. Brilliant.” - Jenny Witton (audience member)

“This has been a true partnership, with a meaningful exchange of ideas, expertise, and resources led by Dr Anthony Garcia, resulting in exceptional quality musical and cultural outcomes. This project delivered a fabulous concert with diverse artists and new audiences. Thanks to each and every one of you for your collaboration and personal commitment to visions worth pursuing, and for realising this with so much sensitivity, openness, heart, and skill.” - Brendan Ross, QPAC Producer

“There was a standing ovation from a very excited audience resulting in an encore presentation of Belonging, their first composition and gentle anthem to the community of Jade World Collective. The audience mirrored the performers as an eclectic mix of ages and cultures, all of whom were revelling in the eclectic and unique sound of the ensemble. The Artistic Director, Dr Anthony Garcia has created a musical repertoire with musicians from diverse cultures, all connected to Australia and united through their love of music.” – Dr Gemma Ryan, Limelight Magazine 

 

Tips for others

“There are a range of important lessons that have emerged through this project that could form a strong exemplar methodology for intercultural arts practice:

1. TIME & SPACE: Take time to build strong interpersonal relationships with your artistic collaborators. When communications become challenging and direction and focus is diluted artists must have positive and respectful relationship to fall back on. You need space for reflection and for ideas to evolve authentically through the collaboration. 

2. PATIENCE: It doesn't always work out. Be patient with the process and allow partners to experiment, make mistakes and find their groove in their time. Many ancient cultures and traditions think of time differently.  

3. OPENNESS: Be open to different ways of seeing, listening and creating. Explore and experiment freely. 

4. IMPROVISE: Improvisation is essential (artistically and conceptually) for successful intercultural arts collaborations. 

5. MINDFUL COLLABORATION: Mediation and mindfulness practice sit within the JADE creative ethos. These practices are part of many ancient arts traditions and very useful for staying focused and calm.”

 

What next?

Following their premiere concert, JADE were contracted for QUT’s Lecture Series (August 2019), Brisbane Open House (open rehearsal QPAC October 10 2019), Backstage at QPAC (November 2019), and a MOSAIC Festival performance in 2019. 

As an Ensemble in Residence at QPAC in 2020, JADE continues to promote the presentation of Crystal Moonlight nationally and internationally, and are in preliminary discussions with other groups and ensembles regarding potential collaborations in 2021. 

 

Find out more

Sounds Across Oceans Website

JADE at QPAC Website

JADE Collective Facebook: