OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Q&A with Cora Venus Lunny

Cora Venus Lunny is an improvising violinist, violist, vocalist and composer with a strong classical background and extensive experience in many genres. Cora performs a unique improvisatory programme with pianist Izumi Kimura at Jazz Connective Dublin. Having been commissioned by IMC for a collaborative performance at our BAN BAM Festival in 2017, and more recently performed together utilising the soundscape of Dun Laoghaire during Izumi’s DLR residency, these two intuitive masters come together again to bring something utterly unique to Jazz Connective. In advance of their performance we spoke to Cora about their collaboration, improvisation as the essence of music, and the power of music to transform and transport both players and audience.

Q. What’s the most important thing to you when making music? 

The single most important thing under my control in terms of my playing and ability to communicate effectively with other musicians is my state of consciousness. Flow states, in my experience, enable quick reactions and thought-free process as well as a unique access to emotions, and are very enjoyable. 

Q. Can you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Izumi Kimura? 

Playing with Izumi has been a mind-expanding journey. I love Izumi’s playing and always felt we had a strong musical connection. We had started off playing some classical stuff together, and were both improvising a lot separately, in various frameworks. When we finally played free together, it was like a relief  for me, as well as hugely educational and therapeutic. This year, Izumi was Musician in Residence at the DLR Lexicon and generously invited myself and artist Anthony Kelly, who provided exquisite field recordings, to collaborate, and we recorded an album of this music that I’m extremely glad we made.

Q. How do you see improvisation in music?

I think it is an essential aspect of music making which happens on many levels in all genres which involve live performance of any kind. When we set the parameters at “free improv”, as Izumi and I are here, we’re agreeing to explore in the dark, with no map and no idea of what kind of territory we will come upon, trust our most important tool. In many ways I think that improvisation is literally what gives music its life. It’s the spark of creation, which can take many forms.

Q. In your ideal gig, what experience would the audience have? 

I’d hope the listeners can feel comfortable to get swept away in the music, to be moved, and to leave worded thought behind if possible, as well as thoughts of clock-based time; even to go all the way beyond thought and time altogether. Without their imposition we can enter a world of immediacy and intensity. 

Q. What are the most rewarding/challenging things about being a creative improvising musician? 

I can’t recommend being a creative improvising musician enough and honestly feel that only blessings have come to me from it. Playing free, especially with Izumi, is a transformative, healing and cleansing activity for me and even if I am sometimes exhausted afterward, I always feel better, see more clearly, have more patience, and love everyone, including myself, a little more. Of course I battle with insecurities, but those are just thoughts with a load of words that come in cycles, which are part of being human, and which the physical, visceral activity of music really helps in dispelling. Any challenges I tend to experience as a rural freelancing parent, privileged as I am to be an artist and have a roof over my head, stem broadly speaking from capitalism and patriarchy, rather than my involvement in artistic pursuits!


Thanks Cora!

Cora Venus Lunny and Izumi Kimura perform at 
Jazz Connective
Wed 11th December, 7:30pm
Project Arts Centre

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