Birmingham venue to usher in ‘new normal’ with programme of international experimental live music

A grassroots UK music, arts and community space is preparing to return to ‘the new normal’ with a programme of live shows, installations and streamed performances following 12 months of closure due to Covid restrictions.

Centrala, based in the post-industrial now creative quarter of Digbeth in Birmingham, today announced eight new live experimental music commissions, each exploring responses from UK and international artists to the global pandemic, will mark a welcoming back for audiences.

The commissions, part of a new event series called ‘All Systems Go’, will be presented as a mix of in-person shows and live-streamed performances, beginning in June 2021.

Artists confirmed for the series are Egyptian electronic audio-visual artist Shadwa Ali, Iraqi-British musician and composer Khyam Allami, British bandleader and drummer Kai Chareunsy, Japanese musician and sound artist Rie Nakaijema, Polish multi-instrumentalist and singer Ela Orleans, British art experimental composition duo 7Balcony, Italian illustrator-performer Connie Prantera, and British jazz composer, improviser and guitarist Steve Saunders.

Alicja Kaczmareck, founder-director of Centrala, said, “We are now operating within the parameters of a ‘new normal’, and in a post-Brexit world. It is widely acknowledged that the past year has been a difficult and transformative experience for artists, musicians, venue staff, live music sector workers and music fans.

“The title for the series is inspired by not just our return to live music-making, but also the need to now think, look and process life using different systems to before. Much of the new music we have commissioned use different recording, performance, sampling and sequencing systems too.

“All Systems Go is Centrala’s multi-disciplinary and intersectional programme response where we ask a group of exciting artists to share their worldview through cutting-edge music and digital media and invite music and arts fans to start the journey back to collective listening and watching together with us.”

Centrala is an artistic programming organisation working with local, national and international musicians and artists, with a particular focus on Central and Eastern European art, culture, and heritage; advocating for social integration, and presenting experimental and pioneering work from UK musicians, artists and producers in the process.

Located in the Minerva Works complex flanked by the Grand Union canal just outside Birmingham city centre, the 250 capacity two-floor performance, installation and exhibition space has presented hundreds of wildly diverse events from Polish opera screenings to techno club nights, doll crafting workshops to explorations on modern slavery and hate crime.

Tickets for All Systems Go, supported by Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund, go on sale at http://centrala-space.org.uk/ from May 2021.