© Pedro Malacas

JOANA GUERRA

CELLO, VOICE, IMPROVISATION, COMPOSITION

I was born in 1983 and grew up in the poetic Lisbon concrete suburbs. In the background I had the Sintra mountains, as an inspiring muse.

I started my cello studies in the neighborhood school where, curiously, I also had karate lessons! Later I went to the Lisbon Conservatory of Music. Meanwhile, I graduated in Portuguese Literature (Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and had a series of shitty part time jobs.

As a musician I moved to musical landscapes that could reflect my desire for acoustic experimentation and for the adoption of bolder sound references as well as extended techniques for cello, which led me to become part of Lisbon’s free improvisation movement.

In 2011, I started my solo project for cello and voice. Since the release of my first album, called Gralha (2013), I have worked incessantly. By the end of 2016, my second album, Cavalos Vapor, came out. I presented it in several important Portuguese venues: Casa da Música, Serralves Foundation, Salão Brazil, Festival Rescaldo, MIL, West Way Lab Guimarães, Fem Fest, Damas… as well as abroad: Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Brazil and São Tomé e Príncipe. Very recently, it came out my third solo album, OsSo, which is a composition for a choreographic installation.

Parallel to this, I have collaborated intensively on experimental and improvised music: a duet of experimental lyrism with violinist Gil Dionísio; free improvisation trio Bande à Part, who released their debut album in 2014 by Creative Sources; with The Alvaret Ensemble while touring in Belgium and the Netherlands; the Cornelius Cardew inspired ensemble ‘Tratado de Cardew’; the spoken word band Tapete; with the audiovisual project Concon; in addition with many other collaborations with Mark Alban Lotz, Helena Espvall, Surma, Simon Hanes, Will Greene, Aaron Edgcomb, Scout Niblett, Tiago Sousa, Mia Distonia, André Calvário, Maria do Mar, Bernardo Álvares, João Sarnadas, Yaw Tembe, among many others.

Since 2017, I have also been playing with the heavy psych band Asimov. In the same year, I was proud to be part of an artistic residence in Portugal, composed solely by wonderful women musicians: Joëlle Léandre, Susana Santos Silva, Angelica Salvi, Maria Radich and Maria do Mar, which culminated in a grand concert at Serralves Foundation (Porto) included in the program Jazz in the Park 2017, curated by Rui Eduardo Paes.

I’ve also been involved, as a composer and a performer, in projects from other artistic fields: in dance performance, I’ve worked with the choreographers Clara Andermatt, Madalena Victorino and Marina Nabais; in theatre, with the theatre company João Garcia Miguel; in cinema/documentary, I’ve made the soundtrack for Os campos em volta, by João Botelho, presented at Festival IndieLisboa 2015.

This vibrant melting pot of artistic experience enriches my being as a musician and as a composer. I share this constant evolution with the audience during my live performances!