AMIRTHA KIDAMBI: FOR MY FRIEND AND COMRADE JAIMIE BRANCH (1983-2022)
Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the creation and performance of subversive music, from free improvisation and avant-jazz, to experimental bands and new music. She is an Indian American woman, composer, improviser, educator, activist and organizer, informed by anti-racism, intersectional feminism, decolonization and anti-capitalism. As a bandleader, she is the creative force behind Elder Ones, receiving critical praise from the New York Times, Pitchfork, Downbeat, Wire Magazine and other publications. Kidambi has topped the categories of “Rising Star Vocalist”, “Rising Star Composer” and “Rising Star Jazz Group” in the Downbeat Critics Poll. She is currently active in several improvising duos with bassist Luke Stewart, guitarist Matteo Liberatore, Neti-Neti with percussionist Matt Evans, and Angels & Demons based on the poetry of Sun Ra, with alto saxophonist Darius Jones. Kidambi is a key collaborator in Mary Halvorson’s latest sextet Code Girl, in various collaborations with William Parker and has worked closely with the late Muhal Richard Abrams and the late Robert Ashley. As a composer, she has been commissioned by the Dither Ensemble and written music for the films of Suneil Sanzgiri. As an improviser she has performed with luminaries including Tyshawn Sorey, Hamid Drake, Ingrid Laubrock, Maria Grand, Matana Roberts, Fay Victor and many others. She has performed and presented her music in the U.S. and internationally at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, The Kitchen, Pioneer Works, Whitney Museum, Bang on a Can Longplay Festival, Berlin Jazzfest, OUT.FEST, Skaņu Mežs, Coastal Jazz Vancouver, and various DIY and punk spaces. Her records can be found on labels including Northern Spy, Astral Spirits, Tripticks Tapes, Dinzu Artefacts and more. Kidambi has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, NYFA/NYSCA, Asian Cultural Council and participated in artist residencies at EMPAC, Bemis Center, Roulette, Western Front, Pioneer Works and Bucareli 69 in Mexico City.