Quilla was recently interviewed by University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) music student Olivia Andersen as part of the school’s “Changemakers” series. Read the article here.
The piece focuses on Quilla’s work as an advocate for women producers in the male-dominated music industry. Through her collaborations with women and workshops teaching women about music production, she has provided training, visibility and opportunities for women artists at all stages of their careers.
The Changemakers series is described on the UNCSA website as follows:
“A changemaker is someone who is taking action to solve a social problem. They are people who create change and have the knowledge and will to do so. Changemakers can come from many different backgrounds and are passionate about helping their community. They don’t just create change for themselves, but for others around them as well. Everyone has the power to be a changemaker — even you. All you need to do is believe you can make a change, speak up, and surround yourself with people who are passionate about the same things as you so that you can grow together.”
“ANCESTORS” is an innovative piece of musical theatre being composed and produced by Quilla (Anna Luisa Daigneault) and choreographed by LeDarius Parker. It is an intergenerational story told through compelling dialog and live dance sequences accompanied by a powerful, beat-driven electronic score. The narrative focuses on a group of three characters who reside in modern-day Greensboro, NC. Each character encounters one of their ancestors during a dream, and undergoes a transformative process that leads to healing, personal reckoning as well as an appreciation for their lineage.
The dream state will be explored as a realm of possibility, communication and heritage. It allows for a large amount of artistic freedom during this musical. The production plays with different timeframes and addresses challenging, complex issues while remaining accessible to all audiences. The main themes that permeate “Ancestors” are recovering different types of human knowledge, reconnecting with one’s heritage, understanding the dynamics of migration, diaspora and displacement, as well as reviving reverence for the Earth.
The main characters represent a small yet diverse cross-section of contemporary North Carolina, and their ancestors represent a snapshot of humanity’s fascinating past without sugar-coating or glorifying it.
This project is set to premiere as a live performance in 2023.
This project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council and partnering arts organizations such as ArtsGreensboro and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.
The music video for “Bow to the Rebel Queen” is out now! I want to thank all the amazing North Carolina creatives who poured their energy into bringing this production to life. Hats off to the director, Alexei Mejouev, who helped us get video done in one massive day, in a Covid-safe way.
“Bow to the Rebel Queen” is available on all streaming platforms on Quilla’s album “The Handbook of Vivid Moments” (Ritual Fire Records, 2020). https://orcd.co/quilla_handbook
VIDEO CREDITS Video directed and edited by Alexei Mejouev Produced by Quilla (Anna Luisa Daigneault) Choreography by LeDarius Parker Dancers: Sarah Mouna, Gigi Lugo, Luna Cornejo and LeDarius Parker Production assistants: Stephanie Rohr, Liam Trawick, Ashley Virginia Buffa Make-up: Bella the Reaper Locations: Greensboro Central Public Library, LeBauer Park, Elsewhere Museum and garden, Fisher Park, Greensboro Cultural Arts Center Mural by Milagros Collective
MUSIC CREDITS Music, lyrics, mixing and electronic production by Quilla Vocal production by Quilla and Mike Garrigan Mastering by Holger Lagerfeldt
This song was recorded with support from ArtsGreensboro and the North Carolina Arts Council. Their support is gratefully acknowledged.
I am delighted to be featured as the musical artist representing the letter “Q” in the upcoming book “The ABCs of Women in Music” written by Anneli Loepp Thiessen and illustrated by Haeon Grace Kang (GIA Publications, 2022). It’s so exciting to be featured among many other women musicians, as well as be recognized for my work as an electronic music producer!
If you pre-order this book, copies will be shipped to your door in February 2022. This amazing publication will also become available in all Barnes & Noble stores in the US and Canada as well as on Amazon.com in May 2022.
Description of the book
Meet Clara the composer, Ella the jazz singer, Selena the pop star, and Xian the conductor! Women in music are brilliant, creative, brave, and resilient. They are composers, conductors, singers, musicologists, electronic music producers, and so much more.
In this vibrantly illustrated picture book, meet 26 remarkable women musicians who collectively span over 1,000 years of music history and represent a diversity of cultures, races, professions, and abilities. Their incredible stories and beautiful work are sure to inspire a new generation of musicians!
As an avid collaborator with Elsewhere Museum, Quilla has contributed to many programs and events over the years. She composed music for Elsewhere’s DanceLab project in 2013, and was South Elm Projects Coordinator at the museum between August 2014 and January 2015. Through the South Elm role, she organized community outreach initiatives downtown, led brainstorming events, trained interns and collaborated with Elsewhere’s curators to hire artists to create public art projects funded by Artplace America. She also taught workshops for Elsewhere’s FoodLab program in 2015, where school children learned about cooking, art and storytelling.
Quilla has also participated in many annual fundraisers as a live performer and DJ (Spirit 2012, Tomorrow 2013, The Last Great Winter 2014, Sports of All Sorts 2015, Revolve 2016, Dreamworld 2019, Arrivals & Departures 2021). She has also filmed various music videos and live performances at Elsewhere, such as “A Million Broken Bikes” (2014), “Around Town Sessions – Live Performance” (2021), “Beans Beans Beans” (PBS Kids / Rootle, 2021), “Bow to the Rebel Queen” (forthcoming).
Notes from Quilla: “When I first heard a home recording of Ravens and the Wrens, I literally fell off my chair. I was taken aback by its power and beauty, and I sat on the floor in stunned silence for a while after listening to it. Kate Tobey had recorded a video performance of the song with Molly and Brooke, and had shared it online. I thought they were playing a cover of a classic Dolly Parton or Fleetwood Mac song that I had never heard before. I read the credits and realized that my dear friend and musical collaborator Molly had written the song, but I had never heard her sing it before. I immediately picked up the phone and called Kate and had a mild freak-out. I don’t know what I said, but I conveyed my enthusiasm for us to work together to produce a studio version of this track. Then we phoned Molly and asked her if she wanted to do that, and she agreed. She was surprised that I thought the song was so great. I said “OMG this song is literally the sound of angels”! And we got to work making the studio version you hear now.” – Quilla (August 2021)
Description of the Project The song embodies a sound created for the new South: modern, inclusive and spiritual. Both a prayer and an anthem, “Ravens and the Wrens” lures the listener into the magic of the moment, bridging the human and natural worlds. McGinn’s vocal style conjures a blend of jazz, folk and soul, and Tobey’s violin brings a traditional, rustic quality to the piece. Powerful backing vocals provided by Tobey and vocalist Brooke Stokes resonate throughout the piece. Through carefully woven synth layers that form a lush, ambient bed of sound, Quilla’s electronic score adds a contemporary dimension to the song, elevating the folk genre by fusing the analog and the digital.
The lyrics were inspired by Molly McGinn’s friend: trans activist and author Sam Peterson. In his book, “Trunky: Transgender Junky,” Peterson writes about his first experience as a transgender man in the men’s ward at a drug and alochol treatment center in Butner, North Carolina. The lyrics attempt to capture his confusion as he struggles to see the difference between what’s healing and self-defeating as he makes his way through recovery. The chord progression is inspired by the Appalachian Old Time tune “Red Rocking Chair.”
“Ravens and the Wrens” is a folk song for the LGBTQIA community in the new south; it’s a call for healing from the trauma that held us back, and a plea for grace as we stumble our way forward. All genres of art are looking to be more inclusive. And folk music should be leading that conversation. This song attempts to represent that shift as we embrace non-binary narratives, and electronic instruments, and provides a place of inclusivity for all us.
On July 22nd, The Ink Project and Poetic People Power will present Embrace 2021: Reclaim What You Love, Restore How You Feel. This spoken word event will showcase the work of writers as they explore this theme in their own narrative. Artists will present pieces on topics including time, language, race, gender, and democracy. Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 8 PM (EDT) via Zoom.
Writers will present new works in response to a commission by the producers. As our society navigates the repercussions of 2020 and begins to emerge after a long period of isolation, this event provides a vital, communal space for writers to express their anger, hope, disillusionment, and resolve.
Writers include Suzen Baraka, Yolanda “Yogii” Barnes, Tara Bracco, Jim Buckmaster, Marsha Habib, Philippe Garcesto, Karla Jackson-Brewer, Cohen Kraus, Anna Luisa Daigneault (Quilla), Deonna Kelli Sayed, and Rashaad Thomas.
If you would like more info, here’s the Facebook event. Hope to see you there! Tickets are $5 at Ticket Tailor (link here: https://bit.ly/3wsUKYQ). The Zoom link will be shared via email once you have registered.
Exciting news! The music video for Quilla’s beloved song “Beans Beans Beans” is officially premiering on Saturday, July 24th, 2021 on PBS Kids NC and Rootle. It will be a featured segment on Rootle’s Block Party LIVE! At Home, an hour-long television extravaganza showcasing summertime activities, music and entertainment for kids of all ages.
Directed and edited by Alexei Mejouev with animations by Stefan DiMuzio, Quilla’s music video was filmed inside the amazing setting of Elsewhere Museum, a collaborative art world created from a former thrift store, housing a 58-year collection of things and contemporary art pieces. Many thanks to the curators of Elsewhere Museums for allowing this video to take place. Shout-out to artists Jesse Hoyle, Ashley Virginia Buffa and Liam Trawick for production assistance.
You can catch this episode of Rootle’s Block Party LIVE! At Home on Rootle on the following dates, at these times (all in EST):
Saturday, July 24 at 9AM and 3 PM Sunday, July 25 at 9 AM and 3 PM Saturday, July 31 at 7 AM and 1 PM Sunday, August 1 at 7 AM and 1 PM
Partners & performers of this Block Party include: NC Division of Child Development & Early Education Smart Start of Transylvania County Get Set Transylvania Mountain Sun Community School SAFE Rise & Shine Pisgah Collective Mr. R Quilla
I was both thrilled and intrigued when I found out WUNC was creating a new podcast entitled “CREEP” about invasive species in North Carolina and beyond. Writing music for this project was a dream come true: the show brought together my interests in music production and science communication. It felt very synergistic and timely to me, because I had recently been making bird loops on Instagram. I thought writing this theme song would be a good opportunity to use the ambient nature and species recordings I had been collecting during the pandemic as textures in a composition.
Writing a theme song is part alchemy, part deep listening to the creative brief, part distillation of your collaborators’ personalities. In my initial meeting with the producers of Creep, I asked them: what emotions do you want the listener to feel when they hear the theme song? What moods are you trying to convey? Their answers were: mysterious, subversive, dark, intriguing, tantalizing. Not a slasher pic, but unsettling. We want it to be simple yet ominous. I love a creative challenge and the mood felt ripe to make something that would suit this unique show.
I thought a prominent bass line would help translate the feeling of mystery. I had a lucky flash of insight while sitting at my piano soon after meeting the producers of CREEP. An early version of the bass line came spilling out onto my keyboard, very jagged and haunting. It felt like I was pulling it out of the ether. After a few more tries on piano and some quick recordings on my phone to not lose my initial palette of ideas, I came up with a solid version of the bass line and tempo, and then recorded it in Logic with various electronic instruments. I settled on layering a plucky upright bass with a warm analog synth. I produced four slightly different versions of the bass line before settling on the one you hear in the final version of the theme song, which is entitled “Dark Science.”
It was really fun weaving in bioacoustic sounds into this piece. I asked the producers what species they would be covering, and collected some useful insect samples online as well from my nature trove. I experimented with many different sounds before deciding which insects and animals made the cut. The final version of theme song contains samples from: solepnosis invicta fire ants, the eastern screech owl, the cotesia marginiventris wasp calling song, cicadas recorded outside my window, other ambient layers recorded in my backyard as well as bioacoustic recordings I made near the Dan River in North Carolina. It was important to me to include as many native North Carolina sounds as possible, since the podcast focuses on invasive species found in North Carolina and the Southeastern US.
I also wrote three interstitial pieces for this podcast entitled “Multispecies Party”, “Chance Ecologies and “Unintended Consequences” – more on those later when I make them available online! They play in between segments of the show to highlight different moods of the story being told.
About the podcast: “CREEP is a podcast that encourages us to lean in for a closer look at how insects, animals and plants are changing the environment, economy and health of our region in ways we never expected. Listen, subscribe and get to know some of nature’s most fascinating, grotesque and mysterious members. Presented by WUNC in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.”
The City Sunsets Concert Series runs 7-9pm, every Saturday from June 5th until August 28th. Greensboro Downtown Parks, Inc. would like to thank Well-Spring: A Life Plan Community for its support of this concert series.