COMPOSITIONAL INFLUENCES: Flamenco/Tango - Jazz/Improvisation - Astronomy - Theatre - Landscapes - Impressionism
Keyna's flamenco journey began while studying in Germany in 2001 when she joined a tango/flamenco ensemble Faux Pas, who performed around Germany and Italy. While living in UK Keyna joined other flamenco/tango ensembles such as UK based guitarist Tom Dwyer's classical flamenco shows. After immigrating to Sydney in 2009 she worked with many similar groups. Highlights include opening the Adelaide Fringe Festival with Flamenco Australia, an 2 year residency 2011-2013 with 8-piece flamenco/latin ensemble Pena Flamenco at the Spanish Club Sydney including being featured at Darling Harbour Fiesta 2013 (and shows at the Basement, Venue 505), performing with Alin and Melike's Persian/flamenco fusion show at Newtown Theatre, flamenco/jazz ensemble Arrebato shows at Venue 505 as well as flamenco/tango fusion project Art of Candencia performances at the Basement. Her flamenco background directly influenced her to write Buleria Fiero (solo flute), a virtuosic flight of fancy based on the buleria dance, and Flamenco Etudes (solo flute), a collection of 9 studies grades 1-8 based on the traditional melodic and rhythmic features of flamenco dances Solea, Tientos, Farrucca, Fandagos de Huelva, Tangos de Triana, Sevillanas, Seguirillas and Buleria. Flamenco and tango music has influenced many of her other compositions in the form of flamenco/tango tonalities, shifting time signatures, and driving rhythms. These aspects are prominent in Star Dance/Luna Llena, Titan Tango, Full Moon, and Andalucian Fantasy.
While Keyna is classically trained, she was alwasy interested in jazz/improvisation and taught herself in her early teens. After hearing Tibetan musician Tenzin Cheogyal perform in Sydney in 2000 she took lessons with him on intuitive conceptual improvisation which inspired her immensely. Improvisation adds immediacy, intimacy, and the sense that each playing is unique. Her compositions often include improvised sections such as Craters of Rhea, Callisto, Distant Pulsar, Buleria Fiero, and Star Dance. Jazz influences are present in nearly all her compositions, for example through use of extended chords such as in Dinner Party. After immigrating to Sydney in 2009, she worked with and composed for a range of ensembles: She wrote and performed jazz song Hot Chocolate for Martini Rouge jazz quartet which was performed at Sydney Royal Easter Show 2012 to over 10 000 people, was part of Bagatelles Gypsy jazz duo performing around Sydney during 2013, and improvisation trio Ad Libitum with Elsen Price/Will Gilbert who were accompanying silent films at SHH Centre for Hybrid Arts during 2015. In 2012 she also released an entirely improvised solo piano album Jazz Reverie. In her ensemble, Ephemera, she uses the space sounds as a basis for group improvisations, for example Cassini and Solar Flare.
Keyna has always had a fascination with astronomy, ever since she saved up to buy a telescope at age 13. Astronomy provides a rich vein of ideas, images and space sounds that stimulate the imagination, so are fertile grounds for composition. Some of her space inspired pieces are fast, lively and tonal representing future human space travel e.g. Mars Part 1: Red Dirt, Mars Part 3: Red Children and Orbital Waltz, while others some are slow and contemplative. Though astronomical phenomena have long been an inspiration for composers around the world, it is only recently that authentic space sounds deriving from astronomical phenomena have been available for use in acoustic composition, due to increasing advances in space technology and the accessibility of the information collected. After a web search, Keyna came across the website of astronomer Dr Paul Francis, who has constructed a library of space sound mp3s drawn from NASA’s electromagnetic data and made it audible through processing through a spectrograph. These sound beautiful, eerie and often contain pitches in similar patterns to the harmonic series. There are also real recordings from NASA's Mars Rover microphone and radio signals from Saturn's rings in his collection. She contacted him and he was keen to share his material and be involved in creative projects. Pieces that use electromagnetic waves of various astronomical phenomena as a sonic foundation include Floating in Space, New Galaxy and Blackhole, a musical reflection of current theories on what happens in a black hole through use of radio wave samples from around the world and space sounds in an accompanying soundtrack. She also uses the space sounds as a found sound basis for group improvisations, for example Cassini and Solar Flare. Other compositions explore astronomical phenomena in others ways; Using angular melodies for Callisto, one of Jupiter's moons, mimicking ragged rocky terrain; Using jagged shapes of heavily cratered landscapes of Saturn's moon Rhea in Craters of Rhea to info; Using repetitive bass lines to mirror a pulsar’s hypnotic rotations in Distant Pulsar; Using the concepts of void and space to inspire a zen-like state in Full Moon and Aurorae Sinus which captures the vast stillness of the largest crater on Mars knows as the Eye of Mars.
While living in England 2000-2009, Keyna composed music for theatre projects at Bath Spa University and at Bridgwater Arts Centre as well as for filmmaker Dan Gale on short film Lavish Gizzards which was shown at the Bath International Film Festival in 2006. In 2013 Keyna was commissioned by Marquez Laundry Theatre Company to write music for Fred and Ginger at Sydney Fringe Festival. She was a mute musician character on stage for the season (which was her acting debut) at old 505 Theatre (Surry Hills, Sydney). For the show she wrote two piano pieces In an Empty Warehouse and Hypnotic Struggle and as well as a solo flute piece Fred and Ginger. Alicia Gonzalez and Keyna co-devised the piece for the two-piece ensemble and the narrative was rather abstract, drawing from the Beckett tradition. Ephemeral Time is highly influenced by this abstract approach in that it can be played by any combination of instruments and has spoken voice reading a poem, also written by Wilkins, multiple times in different volumes. These theatrical aspects have contributed to the development of chamber opera Dark Genesis and music theatre piece A Raft Adrift in a Storm of Stars, both of which are still being written. Her theatrical cabaret-style songs include Circus Waltz and The Transaction.
Keyna spent her early childhood in rural Somerset, UK, born to an Australian mother and English father. The pastoral setting of south west England created an imprint of the importance of landscape, while the vivid Australian land provide a striking contrast in texture and mood. Her book of piano solos Sky Pieces (Cloud, Glow in the Fog, Distant Horizon and Breeze and four others), Mirage and Onyx is highly influenced by terrestrial landscapes, while astronomical landscapes are prominent in Full Moon, Callisto, Mars Parts 1,2,3, Craters of Rhea, Aurorae Sinus and Titan Tango. Australian composers who are deeply affected by the expansive Australian landscape and who have inspired Keyna are Peter Sculthorpe, Anne Boyd and Ross Edwards.
Keyna's solid classical training has nurtured a love of Debussy and the impressionist movement. Significant features of her music that can be linked to Debussy are: use of parallel chords using fifths and fourths, lyrical melodies that evade a steady beat, exploring the subtle nuances of instrumental timbre, and shifting time signatures. These aspects can be seen in most of her compositions.