Matana Roberts, known for her exploration of African American history through her COIN COIN series of records, is a new arrival in London and will be performing a new composition called ...No Way Was Clear, No Light Unbroken (In The Forest...).
The city has always been a place of coming and going, just as its largest forest had, with ancient trackways running through the Iron Age forts at its heart.
In a special commission for The People's Forest, Roberts delves into the rich history of Epping Forest and connects it to the work of writer Ursula K Le Guin. Born 90 years ago this autumn, Le Guin’s stories The Word For World Is Forest and Vaster Than Empires Yet More Slow were profound meditations on colonialism, travel, belonging, and the human intersection with the natural world.
The commissioned musical performance will take place in the ancient St Mary’s Church Walthamstow, which was once surrounded by the trees of Epping Forest.
Forest and Fantasy is part of The People's Forest season - a series of events exploring our relationship with Epping Forest, interrogating the deep bond we have with forests and woodland, and how this relationship is culturally determined.
Matana Roberts is an internationally renowned composer, band leader, saxophonist, sound experimentalist and mixed-media practitioner.
Roberts works in many contexts and mediums, including improvisation, dance, poetry, and theatre. She made two records as a core member of the Sticks And Stones quartet in the early 2000s and has gone on to release a diverse body of solo and ensemble work under her own name on Constellation and Central Control over the past decade.