SET ME FREE: collaboration between poet/artist and 9 years detained refugee Jalal Mahamede and Australian Art Music two time finalist Keyna Wilkins
Special guest musicians featured on the album are Elsen Price, Carl St Jacques, Will Gilbert, Susie Bishop, Laura Bishop, Gumaroy Newman, Shane Carpini, Rhyan Clapham (AKA Dobby), Jenny Eriksson, Byron Mark, Emanuel Lieberfreund, Karen Cortez, Dawn Barrington, Connor Malanos, Josh Shipton, Isaac Lombard, Elliot Lombard, Sol Rosen and Lyra Rosen. Mixed and mastered by Matt Stewart from A Sharp Studios, with stunning album booklet design by Maryann Hine using Jalal's art.
Jalal Mahamede is an Ahwazi Arab refugee poet and artist currently working from his prison cell. He has been detained by the Australian government for 9 years for arriving by boat and seeking protection. He draws from his personal experience to express his moods, feelings and visions through art and language, influenced by his late father Kazem Mahamede, a renowned travelling poet and photographer. The region of Ahwaz has significantly diminished in recent times due to land seizures by the Iranian government. Ahwaz people are a persecuted minority and continue to be subjected to many forms of discrimination.
In 2021, Jalal has been in detention for 9 years. This has included 6 years on Nauru and 7 months on Christmas Island and currently a Brisbane detention centre. Doctors Without Borders described conditions in Nauru refugee camps as "beyond desperate", UNHCR described it as "some of the worst conditions seen" and Amnesty International describes them as "cruel and extreme". During his long-term confinement, in often horrific conditions, Jalal has experienced serious mental health issues, as well as suffering a vicious attack on Nauru.
Jalal is a refugee who has committed no crime, but he remains in limbo, with no time frame, end date or guarantee of release. During his immensely painful, long-term incarceration, Jalal has nevertheless managed to create this series of heartbreakingly haunting, evocative, sorrowful, yet beautiful words and drawings inspired by his detention experience. His work reveals the depths of his heart and mind, and his vision of humanity.
Jalal hopes that sharing his art and poetry will reveal to people a glimpse of his suffering, through which they may understand that despite his situation, Jalal continues his struggle to be free and to make his family proud.
Everyone who knows Jalal and is involved with his projects hopes he will be released soon and be allowed to live a normal life, as he is a peaceful, kind and compassionate person with so much to offer the world.
SO WHAT BACH - solo piano jams on JS Bach classics
This album has been reviewed by Jazz Journal UK who described it as "Wilkins is a powerhouse player with taste. Her Bach re-interpretations are meetings of minds": https://jazzjournal.co.uk/2021/02/14/keyna-wilkins-so-what-bach-six-piano-jams-on-bach-classics/
YULUGI: Chasing Stars To The Mother Tree
The album concept is based on the Gamilaroi star-lore myth that Berriberri (or the constellation Orion) set out in pursuit of the Miai-miai (or the star cluster Pleiades) and cornered them in a mother tree where they were transformed into yellow and white cockatoos. Yulugi is a collaboration between leading didgeridoo player Gumaroy Newman and composer-musician Keyna Wilkins. www.yulugi.com
Reviewed by Sydney Morning Herald: "Yulugi is Instantly engaging, with Gumaroy Newman's arresting voice and yidaki, leading us deep into his ancestral culture, in dialogue with Keyna Wlkins' piano and luminous flutes."
Reviewed by Fine Music FM: "This is virtuoso playing, worthy of any Australian collection."
EPHEMERA QUARTET: Blackholes and Modulations
"Blackholes and Modulations" is Ephemera's second album. Ephemera is a musical exploration of celestial landscapes such as pulsars, craters, planetary atmospheres, stars, sun and void. The ensemble is led by Keyna Wilkins (piano/flute/compositions) with Elsen Price (double bass), Carl St Jacques (viola) and Will Gilbert (trumpet). www.ephemeraensemble.com
Sydney Morning Herald reviewed the album: "Ephemera is always outward-reaching conceptually. The quartet can achieve a surprising orchestral sweep. Music of peculiar depth and mystery that somehow evades the laws of gravity"
Limelight Magazine reviewed the album: "Terrific, rich, pulsating, reverberant...sophisticated and compelling....vivid and colourful."
Guluu: For Magpie and Violin
"Guluu for Violin and Magpie" was composed by Keyna Wilkins and premiered by Airena Nakamura at Sydney Opera House Mar 2021. Based on the First Nations Mandalbingu and Gamilaroi legend about wild magpies, with grateful permission to use it. Sheet music published by Wirripang. Commissioned by Dianne Finnegan. Recordings of magpies from Wild Ambience (wildambience.com).
KEYS ACROSS THE SKY: solo piano compositions and improvisations
Piano solos performed and composed by Keyna Wilkins, influenced by impressionism, jazz and flamenco. Sheet music published by Wirripang. Recorded at A Sharp Studios, Riverwood, NSW, Australia 2017.
EPHEMERA TRIO: Orbits and Riffs
A musical exploration of celestial landscapes, merging the sound worlds of jazz and contemporary classical and set to real space sounds. Compositions/Piano/Flute: Keyna Wilkins, Double Bass: Elsen Price, Trumpet: Will Gilbert. www.ephemeraensemble.com Recorded at A Sharp Studios, Riverwood, NSW Australia, 2017.
Reviewed by Sydney Morning Herald: "Arresting, genre-blurring, music of massive breadth and high drama."
Reviewed by Jazz And Beyond: "Full of sonic textures and infinite possibility. This is one of the true concept albums of recent years"
Reviewed by The Music Trust: "Highly evocative and adventurous"
AIR IN MOTION: solo flute compositions and improvisations
Flute works composed and performed by Keyna Wilkins influenced by flamenco, jazz, impressionism and thoughts. Sheet music published by Wirripang. Recorded at A Sharp Studios in Riverwood, NSW, Australia 2017.