JJJJJerome Ellis + Briana Marela
artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist explores intersections of blackness, music, and disabled speech
Artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist JJJJJerome Ellis explores intersections of blackness, music, and disabled speech. Oakland based artist Briana Marela opens with a set of music centering the voice and embodied technology.
JJJJJerome Ellis (any pronoun) is a disabled animal, artist, and proud stutterer. He prays, reads, gardens, cycles, surfs, and plays. Through music, text, performance, video, and photography he researches relationships among blackness, disabled speech, divinity, nature, sound, and time. Born in 1989 to Jamaican and Grenadian immigrants, he lives in Norfolk, Virginia, USA with his wife, ecologist-poet Luísa Black Ellis. He dreams of building a sonic bath house!
His debut album, The Clearing (2021), was called “an astonishing, must-listen project” (The Guardian). It was co-produced by NNA Tapes and The Poetry Project, and it was released with an accompanying book published by Wendy’s Subway. Poet/essayist/playwright Claudia Rankine said of the book: “The Clearing is many things: a lyrical celebration of and inquiry into the intersections of blackness, music, and disabled speech; a restless interrogation of linear time; an intimate portrait of the author’s real-time experience of his stutter; a baptism in syllable and sound; and a manuscript illuminated by The Stutter. At its core, Ellis’ metaphor of the clearing becomes a place of possibility and “momentary, transitory, glimpsed liberation.” He invites us to meet him there.” The Clearing won the 2022 Anna Rabinowitz Prize.
Briana Marela is based out of Oakland, CA. Her recent music centers the voice, embodied technology through gesture, and enhanced objects. Her gestural and lyrical song performances draw from elements of both experimental electronic music and vocal driven pop music. Using the visual coding language MaxMSP and machine learning, she is able to make custom tools to use in combination with wearable wired and wireless technology to create compositions with varying fixed elements that transition into moments of improvisation. She released two albums in 2022, her solo album, You Are a Wave, as well as a collaborative album with Sally Decker, Small Tremble in Slow Motion.