Moira Smiley is a Singer / Composer who travels the world as a soloist and musical director, and creates new work for vocal ensembles, dance, theater and film. Her voice is heard on feature films, BBC & PBS television programs, frequently on NPR, and on more than 60 commercially released albums. Recent performances include TED, Stravinsky’s Les Noces, the London Proms Festival and features on KPCC’s Off Ramp and ABC Australia’s Books & Arts programs. Moira’s recordings feature spare, vocally driven collections of warped traditional songs, original polyphony and the playful energy of body percussion. She tours regularly with her group VOCO and has sung with leading vocal artists around the world – including Paul Hillier’s Theater of Voices, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, KITKA and New World Symphony. While studying piano performance and Early Music at Indiana University, Moira was represented by IMG Artists Agency and toured nationally with her vocal group, VIDA. VIDA and (currently) VOCO have been featured at Lincoln Center, UCLA Live, Royal Festival Hall and music festivals across the U.S., Canada and Australia. Moira is in high demand as a vocal clinician and receives commissions to write for vocal ensembles around the world.
I love the idea that our brains function in three evolutionary layers. In my composing and performing, I've found it illuminating (and fun) to wonder at the functions of each layer - especially while I'm in the chaotic joy of bringing music to my fellow mammals. I find simultaneous alarm and comfort in the idea that we run on both ancient and very new brain structures, and I always hope to create and research music that might stir the intelligence of each layer.
Our reaction to a voice is immediate.
I love the visceral act of singing and moving, and am fascinated with the way vocal timbre makes instantaneous connectivity.
Through vocal color - folkloric, improvised, trained and discovered - I hope to understand us better, and contribute to the big experiment!
I'm excited to bring the simple ingredients of singing voices and percussive movement to this day of inquiry into the Brain. It is my ongoing pleasure to collaborate with other musicians in the archaic act of seeking connection to you through live musical performance. For me, there is no greater feeling of 'plugging in' to the universe than singing with and for others - with breath, with tenderness, with words or without.
moira smiley & VOCO...Music For A Three-Layer Brain
1. REPTILE BRAIN: Self-Interest, Movement, Territorialism,
Sex, Lust, Autonomic Functions...Breath, Temperature, Instinctual, Compulsion
"Steamplant Foundation Step" (by Moira Smiley)
"I Mor Fe" (traditional Bulgaria, arr. Moira Smiley)
"Bring Me Little Water, Silvy" (by Leadbelly, arr. Moira Smiley)
2. MAMMALIAN or LIMBIC BRAIN:
Longing, Relationship, Loyalty, Attachment, Emotions, Parenting, Tenderness
"Makedonska" (by Moira Smiley)
"Wondrous Love" (traditional U.S., arr. moira smiley & VOCO)
Math, Music, Language, Politics, Abstraction, Racism, Thinking, Planning, Perception
"Silverlake" (by Moira Smiley)
"Bartók "Bagpipes" (by Béla Bartók, arr. Moira Smiley)