A frank review of our Being Humam performance in June 2021, by Garth Meyer…
I was seeing a concert after two years. Auriol Hays stepped on stage as the voice over from the movie Call me by Your Name played. It was as if her intent was to heal us and tell us it was okay. One of the songs interwoven into her own song was Shapeshifters followed by by the Cranberries singing Zombie. Auriol kept intensely repeating the lyric “It’s all in our heads”. It is all in our heads – the fear, the anxiety and the not knowing. I have never seen the subtext of songs so clearly demonstrated to me; I have never listened to every word and understood the political undertone of the narration.
Miss Hays was visceral, truly astonishing and a hybrid amalgamation of style. She lit a fire in me through her performance. I asked Auriol if it was a political act. She said it was not a political performance. Maybe the word political is in a charged space, but is not art a political act in itself? The performance includes songs from singers that all suffered for their ideologies and suffered for their gender and race.
Auriol’s performance merged four of her original songs seamlessly between voice overs from great films and songs from some of the greatest female struggle singers. Something blues, something black, something white, something coloured – she is an acid jazz singer. A hybrid of style and talent created by a global mixture of culture.
For art is a political act that lies in the liminal spaces and does not poetry and music sit at the highest wrung. A gritty raw, outrageous vocal performance that screamed at the outrage of gender, race and queer subjugation by hierarchal powers.