August 13, 2018

Midori Takada & Lafawndah - Le Renard Bleu

KENZ01It is said that every generation casts its mind back to a previous era in times of crisis; the resources that will allow us to decode the questions of our moment may lie in the myths of another era. Le Renard Bleu, the new musical and cinematic collaboration between Lafawndah and composer Midori Takada, and filmmakers Partel Oliva, takes a cross- generational echo as ground zero for recovering a crucial myth for uncertain times: the blue fox. As transmitted by Takada, the fox appears in both ancient Senegalese and Japanese folktales as the trickster archetype; belonging both to the heavens and to the earth, the fox is the agent of chaotic good, shaking the world up when its energy has become stagnant. Above all else, the fox is famous for its cunning nature. Renard Bleu marks the first new music released by Takada in nearly twenty years; it would be difficult to overstate the importance of her return to the public eye. Her first solo record, 1983’s Through the Looking Glass, has been rediscovered and heralded as a lost classic; the influence of her percussion trio, the Mkwaju Ensemble, continues to permeate and inspire a new generation entranced by its lucid beauty, playfulness, and sensual patience. Takada has performed in numerous film score orchestras, including the ensemble for Akira Kurasawa’s Dreams, coincidentally a key influence on Renard Bleu. In the ensuing years, Takada has worked closely with theater group the Suzuki Company of Toga on productions of Electra and King Lear, an experience, she says, that allowed her to pursue “a unity of music, body and space.” Recent live solo performances have evinced the depths of her exploration of all three. Equally, it is Lafawndah’s freedom of tone, decentralized maps of ancient and modern music cultures, and alloying of devotional intensity with modern songcraft casts her as a distinct relative of Midori Takada’s.