“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a solo cellist and chamber musician of international repute, principally as member and co-director of the Wet Ink Ensemble but also with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Mivos Quartet, Bang on a Can All Stars, and Ensemble Signal.

Roberts has also collaborated with indie experimental cognoscenti including Patrick Higgins and Tim Hecker not to mention George Lewis, Alex Mincek, Jeffrey Mumford, Sam Pluta, Eric Wubbels, and Ambrose Akinmusire.

Now with a new album of improvised works for cellos and pedals, called “Armament” recorded in a spider-infested makeshift studio in Sao Paulo, Brazil, mixed by Patrick Higgins and due to be released on Shahzad Ismaily’s figureight records in February 2021 (bring it on), I’m delighted to welcome to VS, Mariel Roberts!

Check out an edit of the song “Arrow” from “Armament” below…

“Armament” was created as a series of unedited improvised pieces to showcase Mariel Roberts’ virtuosity and avant garde sensibilities, with the title acceding to the deeply gloomy pervasions the world around (both globally and personally) and how Roberts needed to figuratively tool up to take on the rampant weaponization of culture. The tone is as you would imagine foreboding, slightly alien, or at the very least alienated. It’s a sturm und drang of minimalist dissonance with echoes of early NYC art house iconoclasts Fluxus and John Cage not to mention in its lighter piquance more contemporary touchpoints and peers like the aforementioned Tim Hecker and William Basinski.

For someone who is a bona fide student of music and well versed in many sonic palettes I expected nothing less than an enlightening choice of tune, so without further ado here is Mariel Roberts’ “song for ewe”…

“My pick is “Ghosen el Habib” by the group El Tanbura. They are an incredible collective of musicians from Egypt who are masters in traditional Egyptian music from the Suez region. The first time I heard this album, I listened to it three times in a row, and then proceeded to listen to it almost every day for the next year or so. The music draws a lot from the Sufi tradition, and for me it has an incredibly strong ecstatic quality which makes listening to it a truly full-body experience.

The lyrics to this song are:
My lover is like a delicate branch
(Choral) And her fragrant blossom is carried by the wind
My lover is like a delicate branch
She is very pleasing to behold
When the branch smiles on me
My eyes don’t sleep
When I caught sight of your beauty”



More info on Mariel Roberts found on the link below…