For Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell, re-creating Burn in concert was always going to be a challenge, but they have gloriously triumphed with their latest offering — a live album entitled One Night In Porto.
“One Night in Porto is a poignant record of the Burn shows we performed in Portugal last year, and it is with great pleasure that I share it,” says Gerrard. The glorious reimagining was recorded on Wednesday, 23rd November 2022, at the world-famous Casa Da Música in Porto, on what was the third concert of that tour. The album will be released via Atlantic Curve on 12th May 2023.
Maxwell and Gerrard’s creative partnership began during their time with Dead Can Dance, where they discovered a shared passion for improvisation. However, when they started writing songs for The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices (Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares), their collaboration truly soared and marked a departure from their usual material…reaching new heights with the introduction of James Chapman (MAPS) as producer for Burn. Their focus was to create a sound that was euphoric and more inventive than what they had worked on separately in the past. Despite being scattered across the globe, with Lisa in Australia, Jules adding keys and percussion from France, and James bringing a new perspective from England, their disparate worlds fused together masterfully.
Through this creative process, a distinct sound began to emerge, showcasing the unique ideas generated by the trio’s free-flowing fusion. From gentle beginnings, each track on Burn builds and intensifies, creating a hypnotic experience from start to finish. The result is an album that presents a wonderfully diverse mix of electronica, alternative, cinematic soundscape and world music with hints of early Vangelis, Philip Glass, and Sigur Rós.
Instead of merely replicating the album live for One Night In Porto, the two decided to use its melodic themes and sonic textures as a springboard into something new. They spent four rainswept days rehearsing at a small theatre by the seaside in Espinho and then headed off around Portugal to perform the work.
Jules Maxwell takes his seat at a magnificent Steinway D grand piano, with Lisa Gerrard standing in silhouette, facing him directly as the show begins with the mysterious opening strains of “Heleali (The Sea Will Rise).” As the track builds in intensity and eventually explodes into rhythm, Gerrard’s voice also begins to rise, her vocal performance absolutely stunning.
Maxwell’s muscular piano and unmistakable voice, together with additional instrumentation by James Chapman and David Kuckhermann, deliver a fresh and dynamic exploration of Burn’s seven songs. “Noyalain (Burn)” retains its heartbreaking grandeur, evoking a call to the spirit of creation. The moment when the two voices duet tenderly together towards the end is a genuine revelation.
The live environment provides ample opportunity for Gerrard to playfully explore new ways to interpret the epic nature of the material. Songs such as “Orion (The Weary Huntsman)” and “Keson (Until My Strength Returns)” take considerable departures from the studio album, showcasing Gerrard’s willingness to experiment with her vocal techniques.
The album concludes with a poignant improvised epilogue entitled “A Blessing,” starkly arranged for piano and voice and uniquely created for that November night in northern Portugal. Overall, the performance is a stunning showcase of the immense talents of Gerrard and Maxwell, as well as the creativity and musical ingenuity of their collaborators. The show leaves a lasting impression, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
“It is an enormous privilege for me to share this stage with Lisa Gerrard,” says Jules Maxwell. “The original Burn studio album was constructed mostly in isolation, so it was an utter joy for me to finally get together with Lisa to perform it live. In concert, the music soars in a way I never imagined possible.”
Listen to “Noyalain (Burn) Live in Porto” below:
Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell will also perform one European concert in 2023 to celebrate the launch of One Night in Porto. This concert will occur at Teatr Wielki in Łódź, Poland, on 1st July 2023.
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One Night in Porto will be available digitally on all the usual platforms on 12th May 2023.
The album will also be available on CD and in limited edition 180g (olive green) vinyl on 30th June 2023.