Delphine Dora


« The France-based, classically trained pianist and sometime vocalist has issued a large number of recordings of a broad stylistic character since 2005, some of them collaborations (with Salvatore Borrelli aka Harps Of Fuschia Kalmia and Valérie Leclercq aka Half Asleep). Recent projects include an album of piano-and-vocal songs based on Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (Multitudes), a concept album with Half Asleep featuring songs inspired by fictional characters such as Beckett’s Molloy and Zelda Fitzgerald (You’re not mad, you’re just lonely), and a set of jazz-related improvisations recorded with double-bassist Bruno Duplant and clarinetist Paulo Chagas (Onion Petals As Candle Light). » (TEXTURA, September 2012)

Bio (Fr)

Pianiste, vocaliste, improvisatrice et compositrice discrète, fondatrice du label Wild Silence, Delphine Dora est une musicienne touche-à-tout à l’univers inclassable, connue pour ses enregistrements sur des labels confidentiels à tirage ultra limité (Siren Wire, Abaton book Company, Was Ist Das ?, Wild Silence, Fort Evil Fruit, Okraïna, Bezirk..).

Son travail musical iconoclaste, basé sur une approche spontanée de la composition, est nourrie de différentes esthétiques musicales : il y a la mise en voix et musique de la poésie de Walt Whitman et Sylvia Plath, (et d’autres poètes anglo-saxons), du songwriting intimiste, des esquisses «brutes» instantanées dans des langues non identifiées, un disque d’improvisation libre avec Paulo Chagas et Bruno Duplant, des pièces au piano et instrumentales, des expérimentations vocales sauvages…

Dans ses projets récents, elle a revisité tout l’album culte «Folk Songs» de Cathy Berberian/ Luciano Berio avec la chanteuse Eloise Decazes (Arlt), et elle a collaboré avec la musicienne anglaise Sophie Cooper pour un duo improvisé/expérimental basé autour de l’orgue, des percussions, des sons électroniques, du trombone et des voix étranges.

Envisageant la musique dans un mouvement constant et une transformation perpétuelle, mais aussi comme une recherche d’exploration d’une cartographie sonore toute personnelle, elle travaille actuellement sur de nouveaux enregistrements qui explorent de nouvelles directions. Sa recherche musicale récente s’est étoffée et a pris une tournure inédite, s’orientant vers une expérimentation accrue.

Elle a partagé la scène avec des artistes aussi divers que Liam Singer, Lau Nau, Baby Dee, Julia Holter, Marisa Anderson, James Blackshaw, Ashley Paul…et s’est produite en France et en Europe dans des lieux aussi variés que : Brotfabrik (Frankfurt), le Musée Fenaille (Rodez), Espai d’art contemporani de Castello (Espagne), Le Periscope (Lyon), Galerie l’Air du Temps (Clermont Ferrand), Cafe OTO (Londres)…

Bio (eng)

« Instant Classic ! I have no idea what language Dora is singing in – it might be french or it might be not a language but listen to the expression and you know exactly what she is saying. It’s like listening to 19th century-german lieder, except easier to enjoy. Not because the longest track is 2:55. Probably because she is writing for her own voice, and manipulates it effortlessly like a wizard – the best kind of vocalist. The piano is restrained – mostly playing a traditional harmonic rôle to support the voice – allowing the voice a landscape in which to emote all over you. The songs are short, as they have captured a moment. (…)  » (Julia Holter – L.A Magazine)

Born in 1980, Delphine Dora is a versatile and iconoclast musician from France, improvising mostly with voice and piano.  After studied classical piano and harpsichord during childhood (from 6 to 15), she started to explore her own style since her 20s through numerous recordings made simply at home. She has developed a unique personal language since a decade, producing music that is both raw, idiosyncratic, introspective, adventurous and uncategorizable.
Her music conveys different characters, different moods and a wide range of emotions. Her piano has been called « impressionnistic » while her vocals can be wild or intimate. She’s known to use poetry in her songs (she did whole albums from texts taken from Walt Whitman « Leaves of Grass » or Sylvia Plath ; and she has used some literary text of writers such as Samuel Beckett or Sarah Kane). But she can also sings without using pre-existing words : « her singing can oscillate between pure wordless vocalizations, and a serie of ambiguous mumbles, like it belong to an existing language :  As we listen on, one can almost hear echoes of old forgotten tunes. » (Foxy Digitalis). Apart the piano and voice, she plays also different kind of keyboards (organ, harmonium, synth..), and other instruments as music tools. Her work constantly changing and exploratory range between free improvisation, avant-garde, minimalism, experimental music, modern classical, psychedelism and free folk. With each recording, Dora’s continue to discover herself and invent a style of her own.

Although she founded Wild Silence, for her own output and other adventurous artists from different parts of the globe, she’s released on many underground labels such as Was Ist Das ? (UK), Fort Evil Fruit (Ireland), Siren Wire (Wales), Young Girl Records (Belgium), Abaton Book Company (USA), Okraïna (Belgium). 
In addition to her solo work, she played with a wide spectrum of musicians including Sophie Cooper, Paulo Chagas; Bruno Duplant , Aine O’Dwyer, Thomas Vatant-Antonelli, Eloïse Decazes, Mocke, Lunt, Emmanuelle Parrenin, Salvatore Borelli, Half Asleep…
She has performed in various venues such as Cafe Oto (London, UK), Todmorden Unitarian Church (Todmorden, UK) Periscope (Lyon, France), Uebel & Gefarlich (Hamburg, Germany), Munchner Kammerspiele (Munchen, Germany), Galerie l’art du temps – la chapelle de l’oratoire (Clermont Ferrand, France), Musée Fenaille (Rodez, France), Peniche El Alamein (Paris, France), Brotfabrik (Frankfurt, Germany), Espai d’art contemporani del Castellon (Castellon, Spain)..She has shared stage with Julia Holter, Marisa Anderson, Ashley Paul, Aine O’Dwyer, James Blackshaw, Liam Singer, Lau Nau, Baby Dee,…
Her work has been featured on The Wire, A Closer Listen, Free Jazz blog, Textura, Pitchfork, The Quietus, Foxy Digitalis. Le Son du Grisli, Citizen Jazz, Dmute, The Out_Door, WFMU, WNYU, Resonance FM, Free Form Freakout…

Her most recent release project is a duo with vocalist Eloïse decazes, on a re-recording of the whole cycle of traditional folk songs collected and arranged by Luciano Berio for her wife the singer Cathy Berberian : « It’s immediately clear that both Decazes and Dora have held true to the simple, pure sounds of Berio’s early compositions. They’ve taken the evocative powers of his songs and intertwined them with more contemporary avant garde leanings, creating a more matured evolution in the sound, but by making the songs more complex, they’ve concealed some of the initial wonder. » (anthemreview)
She had also released an improvised collaboration session with Sophie Cooper « Distance Future », recorded in Todmorden Unitarian Church, which was named as one of the top experimental records of 2015 by The Out Door / Pitchfork and best experimental tapes of 2015 by The Quietus : « Distance Future is pure sonic magic, and the strangest part is, we’re never quite sure if we’re heading into, or escaping from the darkness. »

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