5.9.-3.10. 2024

© Susanne Diesner

Trickster Orchestra unites soloists in a collective of transcultural avant-garde music. Under the artistic direction of Cymin Samawatie and Ketan Bhatti, the Berlin-based orchestra incorporates traditional instruments from Europe, Western, Central-, and East Asia as well as younger instruments such as electronics into a shared contemporary musical language.

In mythological, folkloric, and religious literatures all over the globe, tricksters are characters exhibiting a great degree of intellect and secret knowledge, which they use to disobey conventional rules and disturb the godly universal order. They are anomalous cultural heroes enabling revolutionary social change – neither good nor evil, neither smart nor foolish. As shape-shifters, they reveal the ambiguity of life and the meaning of imitation and metamorphoses for cultural innovation.

Building on this figure, Trickster Orchestra’s musical directors Cymin Samawatie and Ketan Bhatti design new composition methods based on improvisation, translation, and experimental concepts such as mimesis and montage. The ensemble does not just paste different traditions together, but has defined a way to have musicians of different backgrounds discover a common contemporary language. Among the collective, which performs in varying lineup and size, are ca. 40 outstanding musicians and vocalists from genres such as electronic and new music, classical music traditions from all over the globe, jazz, weird pop, and free improvisation.

Trickster Orchestra is a new orchestral concept understanding music traditions as toolboxes for ideas triggering musical innovation. Based in the conviction that present-day culture is post-exotic, Trickster Orchestra envisions music that transcends the traditional boundaries of genres and global cultures, which have spread beyond geographic, »ethnic«, and temporal orders. It is dedicated to radical contemporaneity, in which ideas, concepts, and forms of different origins are synthesized to open up completely new musical experiences and textures for both musicians and audiences.

Trickster Orchestra was founded in 2013 by Cymin Samawatie and Ketan Bhatti under the former name of Divan der Kontinente. The orchestra performed in Europe and Western Asia, e.g. at Jazzfest Berlin, Rudolstadt Festival, Silk Road Festival Baku, and at Modara Festival for Contemporary Music. Besides playing concerts, it creates new conceptual formats for trans-medial collaborations, e.g. in working with contemporary dance and poetry.