Seamlessly blending influences from jazz, Afrobeat, Indian classical and Ethiopian roots with shades of minimalism and a refreshing, forward-facing attitude, the waves Collocutor maestro Tamar Osborn has been making ripple over several scenes, with her music resonating with jazzual club culture as well as jazzheads immersed in their 180 gram pressing collections. Playing Baritone, Tenor, Alto and Soprano saxes in addition to flute, clarinet and piccolo, Tamar writes, arranges and produces Collocutor.

“The project started from the need to just write the music that wanted to come out, rather than try to compose with a particular genre or audience in mind. So everything – all the music I’ve experienced in life through listening, performance, studying and teaching – goes into it.”

Last year she released the project’s stunning second album, The Search and, in between touring with British-Bangladeshi contemporary dancer Akram Khan, playing with Afrobeat legend Dele Sosimi (formerly of Feli Anikulapo Kuti’s Egypt 80) and providing winds and saxes on British keyboard legend Jessica Lauren’s new album, is currently writing album three.

“The first album [2014’s Instead] has a more overt African influence as I had just been touring with the Africa Express project as part of a UK-wide train journey with 80+ musicians from different African and Western backgrounds when I started writing it. I asked the fantastic Ghanaian artist Afla Sackey to be one of the percussionists on the album, and several of the rest of the band are colleagues of mine in the Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra.”

Tamar says she is generally influenced by travel, musical exchanges with artists from different traditions, and trying to find common language: “The human tendency towards curiosity & exploration, exchange of cultural ideas that goes hand in hand with trade… This stems from trying to explore/understand my own heritage and an interest in ancient history, mythology and archaeology – discoveries which show the connectedness of the ancient world. And also in music as a way to tell a story or explore an emotional state; music as a conversation.”

Tamar Osborn (Collocutor)

However, Tamar is also engaged with innovative musical club culture. As well as having toured with more mainstream artists like Kelis and working with fusionary artists like DJ Khaleb, there are a wide number of remixes that take her compositions to new places, blending not just genre but also geographical and temporal traditions.

As for the next album, Tamar is taking her writing even deeper into the realms of communication and exploration. “The Search ended up being an album with a narrative – it wasn’t planned that way, but it was very helpful when it came to writing the last piece of the puzzle and deciding the album order. So I’m taking the approach of a loose narrative with the new material, which it turns out is about coping with grief and the various and sometimes surprising emotional states you pass through. I find it difficult to talk about emotional experiences so music has been the way I’ve tried to understand, express and sometimes release them.”

Elia Rulli

Elia Rulli is a songwriter, producer, arranger, and haloumi addict. He was raised by a pack of feral jazz musicians and slowly reintegrated into society when he was transported from Toronto to London. It’s going well. Read More.

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