Rhiannon is a vocal artist with a vision of music as a vehicle for innovation, healing, transformation, and social change. A vibrant, gifted singer, performance artist, composer, and master teacher, Rhiannon has been bringing her unique and potent blend of jazz, world music, improvisation and storytelling to audiences for four decades.
From her stellar collaborations with the all-women jazz ensemble Alive! to a cappella ensemble SoVoSo’ to Bobby McFerrin and Voicestra to her groundbreaking solo and ensemble performances, Rhiannon has paved a unique path as an independent artist. In recent years she has continued to refine her improvisation work by performing in 2 ensembles: a cappella trio WeBe3 with Joey Blake and David Worm touring and teaching with Bobby McFerrin in Europe during July of 2012, and with renowned instrumentalists Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuña, Otmaro Ruiz and Jetro daSilva in an ensemble known as Spontaneous. Both groups tour internationally, giving completely improvised performances. In 2012 Rhiannon Music will be releasing Spontaneous, a live improvised recording.
Rhiannon's most recent collaboration is with dancer and singer Shizuno Nasu of Volcano Village, Hawaii and Tokyo, Japan. Their performances are rich with the cultural mix of the ancient dances of the Shinto temples and the raucous blend of jazz, soundscape and world music. Bridging cultures, they meet in the universal world of improvisation. They perform in Hawaii and will tour Japan in 2012.
The powerful body-based vocal improvisation and sound healing process that Rhiannon teaches internationally in workshops and retreats is a result of living in these times as an artist on the cutting edge of music and theater. She now offers a year-long training called All The Way In.
Rhiannon’s long-awaited book about her life and teaching methods, The Vocal River, will be published in 2012.
Rhiannon is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Berklee College of Music in Boston and when she is not touring lives the rest of the year on her small Leo Nani Farm on Hawai’i Island, growing food and cultivating the arts through farming.
Making music with Alex Acuna on percussion and drum set, Abraham Laboriel on electric basses and Otmaro Ruiz on piano and keyboards (or guest pianist Jetro daSilva), I realize that leaderless improvisation is absolutely possible with harmonic and rhythmic instruments. It requires strong musical experience and fearless, ego-free collaboration, but we have the whole Western music harmonic system and beyond, as well as chord progressions and rhythmic structures that each of us grew up with, crossing many boundaries. We can find and lead one another into improvisations that appear composed and yet we are inventing the rhythm, melody, harmony and words in the moment.
We have now been working this way for four years, nothing is repeated. We travel into musical terrain in a different way each time, all those years of studying music and playing in ensembles to come to this beautiful task of not knowing—together. Music love. To work this way needs the right combination of musical souls with the same intention. It is a valued and respected aspect of music that extends back into all of history across cultures. This is music as prayer.