Jen Shyu: Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses
Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses is dedicated to Jen Shyu’s late mother and father who are now reunited: Ana Lay Shyu 徐轉寄 (May 16, 1944 – December 8, 2021) and Tsu Pin Shyu 徐澤濱 (January 19, 1941 – April 2, 2019).
Commissioned by John Zorn, the premiere in October 2019 of Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses was dedicated to Jen’s father, who passed away unexpectedly during a nap in his favorite chair while she was on a 5-month research fellowship in Japan. Unable to wake Jen’s father, Jen’s mother called 911, who arrived with their local Texas sheriff, who then sent Jen an email—which she first thought was spam—that her father had passed.
Zero Grasses: Ritual for the Losses is a raw, coming-of-age exploration of grief, legacy, family, race, sexuality, fertility, technology’s effect on our connection with nature and to each other, and our own conflicting ambitions. It’s an investigation of life, stemming from the moment Jen’s mother handed her Jen’s childhood diaries from a shelf in her father’s closet. Embodying Zero Grasses’ closing song, “Life As You Envision,” it was Jen’s parents who inspired her to live life as she envisions it.
Tickets are available at ampersandfestival.com.
About Jen Shyu
Guggenheim Fellow, USA Fellow, Doris Duke Artist, multilingual vocalist-composer-multi-instrumentalist-dancer Jen Shyu is “one of the most creative vocalists in contemporary improvised music” (The Nation). Born in Peoria, Illinois to Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrants, she’s produced eight albums available on her record label Autumn Geese Records on Bandcamp. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Theater of Korea, Rubin Museum, was named Downbeat’s 2017 Rising Star Female Vocalist, and is a Fulbright scholar speaking 10 languages. She is a Paul Simon Music Fellows Guest Artist, a Steinway Artist and co-founder with Sara Serpa of M³ (Mutual Mentorship for Musicians), a radical model of mentorship for underrepresented women and non-binary composer-performers around the world.