Jen Shyu in Katowice

Patience, tolerance, hospitality, reflection. These are social traits which we had to revalue during the pandemic, and which were the main themes pending Jen Shyu’s week stay in Katowice. We experienced the American culture, as well as the traditions of East Asia, from where Jen Shyu – a New Yorker, performer, producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist - comes from. As an all-round artist, when making her works, Jen makes use of several languages, in which she creates, thinks and absorbs the world. On the daily basis she works with musicians among which there are Nicole Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Bobby Previte, Chris Potter, Michael Formanek, however, her activity scope reaches far beyond the art-making.

In Katowice she was a host during the meeting with the song ensemble Kuczeryki, in a special duo with the guitarist, improviser and philosopher Rafał Mazur. What’s more, in a non-music-related event, she lead open workshops on American skating, along with Arnav Shah, a top New York skater. The final chapter of her stay was a performative solo concert entitled “Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses”, which is an elegy on losing her father, but serves also as a re-establishment of marginalised women’s voice. The performance featured five languages – English, Spanish and four Asian languages.

Picture attached by Arkadiusz Ławrywianiec