ListN Up: Layale Chaker (April 8, 2022)

ListN Up is a weekly series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

The musical world of Layale Chaker lies at the intersection of classical contemporary music, jazz, Arabic music, and improvisation. As a violinist and composer, she has received commissions and presented performances and projects around the world.

Hello, this is Layale Chaker, violinist, composer… and I’ve prepared this little playlist for I CARE IF YOU LISTEN containing music from all walks of life, whether it’s repertoire I’ve studied or listened to or performed, or musicians I admire, or colleagues, mentors, teachers, that have been directly or indirectly teaching me and inspiring me in many ways I grasp and cannot grasp. So naturally this playlist is very diverse in nature, in textures and colors and musical worlds. So I hope that it brings you joy and inspiration in the same way that it does to me, and I hope you enjoy it!

“Oceania” by Björk

I’ve been a total fan of Björk ever since I was a teenager. Medúlla is one of my favorite albums of hers, and it includes “Oceania.” The album is entirely a capella and is in collaboration with different Inuit and Icelandic vocalists and choirs. I find myself revisiting it often nowadays, as I am presently working on a big scale vocal piece.

5 Reflets de L’Amour de loin by Kaija Saariaho, performed by Gabriel Suovanen, and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Jukka-Pekka Saraste, conductor)

Again, as I find myself listening to so much vocal music as research for my next project, I rejoice in works by my favorite contemporary composers. This is a miniature taken from the eponymous opera by Saariaho. The vocal and instrumental textures evoke the composer’s unmistakable soundscape and impressionistic palette.

Configurations by Vijay Iyer, performed by Rudresh Mahanthappa, Vijay Iyer, Stephan Crump, and Derrek Phillips

One of my favorite pieces by Vijay Iyer from his album Panoptic Modes featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa. The way Vijay thinks and articulates in music, whether by composing or improvising, is always a lesson to me that keeps on giving.

“Àguas de Março” by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim

No matter what happens, this song is always a constant in almost every playlist of mine. I could simply listen to it every day.

Atlas by Dawn of Midi

Dysnomia is an album I’ve obsessed over for a long time. I wish I could include the entire tracklist in this playlist, because one track just doesn’t do this incredible album justice — it is best experienced fully to grasp the concept of it. But it’s a good sneak peak…

“Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’Ange qui annonce la fin du Temps” (“Cluster of Rainbows, for the angel who announces the end of time”) from Quatuor pour la fin du Temps by Olivier Messiaen, performed by Martin Fröst, Lucas Debargue, Torleif Thedeen, and Janine Jansen

This piece, this movement in particular, never fails to move me. The timing of it in the chronology of the piece further amplifies that feeling: powerful in its fragility, restless in its resilience.

“Night” by Sara Serpa and Emmanuel Iduma

Extract of Intimate Strangers, the latest album by Sara Serpa. The vocal work is so delicately and intricately weaved and illustrates the text by Emmanuel Iduma — even creates a parallel text — so perfectly.

“Hawwel ya Ghannam” and “Ya Fajr” from Mkhammas Suite by Layale Chaker

Hawwel ya Ghannam and Ya Fajr, are two movements from my suite Mkhammas; from my album Inner Rhyme. They are directly inspired from oral poetry sung and recitated in my mother tongue. On that album, I went looking for the sound of that mother tongue… but I’d like to think that everything I’ve listened to and loved found its way in the sound, too.


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