Recognition, the interdisciplinary performance combining film and live music, received raving reviews from its presentation at the NYC Winter Jazz Festival 2018.
From The New York Times:
“The vocalist Sara Serpa, best known for her nonverbal excursions, made words a priority on Friday night at the New School. Presenting her suite titled “Recognition,” she read an account of Queen Nzinga, a shrewd Southern African monarch who governed in the early years of colonialism. The harpist Zeena Parkins responded to Ms. Serpa’s spoken inflections with brilliant splatters of notes. Then, as the tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock wove small, asymmetrical patterns around her, Ms. Serpa started to sing, using no words but maintaining the sense of inquiry and rectitude that her reading had established.”
From All About Jazz:
“Vocalist Sara Serpa‘s Recognition followed, proving to be a singular multimedia experience both spellbinding and haunting in nature. Mixing the political and personal, Serpa explored the Portuguese colonization of Angola through a familial lens. Videos from Angola that were connected to her grandfather were woven into a stunning film-turned-backdrop produced by Bruno Soares. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to tag the music that went with it as avant-chamber jazz, but it would do a disservice to the work as a whole to reduce it through any form of labeling. With the blend of Serpa’s chimerical vocals, harpist Zeena Parkins‘ spectral flecks, and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock‘s attractively austere lines working with the film, Recognition was truly beyond category. “
“The displaying of the footage, intercalated with texts by the revolutionary Amilcar Cabral, earned an extra-sensorial meaning with the emplacement of chants that ranged from sparkling to sufferable to propulsive, often creating moments of pure lyricism by themselves or falling in concurrent ostinatos with the other instruments.”
From Feast of Music:
“Down the block at the New School Jazz Building, Portugese vocalist Sara Serpa offered “Recognition”: an extended commentary on colonization and the exploitation of the people in Angola, which only gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Performing together with harpist Zeena Parkins and saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, Serpa’s ethereal vocals brought to mind Meredith Monk while images of trees falling and women working and dancing were projected overhead. It was a reminder that sometimes, the purpose of music is to introduce you to new worlds, new people you’ll never encounter on American TV or in the newspapers.”