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Zorras were a multimedia performance troupe based in Edinburgh, Scotland from 2007-2012. They emerged from the city’s alternative poetry and music scenes in 2008, and performed at some of the most renowned international counterculture locations and events. Zorras were part of the queer, transsexual, transgender, feminist and crip cultural movements. They created artworks that explored issues of language, sexuality, gender, race, class, mental health and ability.
Zorras’ founding members were Sandra Alland and Y Josephine. Other collaborators included Ariadna Battich, Nathan Gale and Gord Disley. Alland wrote and performed the text, Josephine wrote and performed the music, and Alland and Battich created films.
Zorras were most known for their live performances, where they often added video to their fusion of music and poetry. Some of Zorras’ most distinguishing elements were the use of sound poetry, cajón and megaphones; they also implemented guitar, props and bilingual (English-Spanish) storytelling. They produced one CD (“We Apologise For Any Inconvenience”, 2009) and one EP (“Doctor Says”, 2012), both with the indie label Minor Assault Records. Zorras founded Cachín Cachán Cachunga! in 2009, a performance and visual art event curated by Alland.
In autumn of 2009, ultimatemetal.com said of Zorras: “A very unique mix of poetry, music, stories and just plain weird. The poetry was sharp and funny, the placement effective, the visuals fitting; a rather unforgettable experience.”
Sandra Alland and Yudnara Josephine met in November 2007 at Who’s Your Dandy, a queer and trans literary event founded by Alland in Edinburgh and given a 4-star review by The Skinny (magazine) in December 2007. Alland was reading her poetry at the event, and Josephine was singing and playing cajón with the (now-defunct) Contrabajo. According to Diva (magazine) and The F Word (magazine) interviews in 2009, the two artists were taken with each other immediately.
The duo’s debut performance as Zorras was in January 2008 at The Golden Hour at Edinburgh’s Forest Cafe. Following this event, they began to perform widely throughout the city, including at Itsy's Kabarett (Voodoo Rooms), Cocoon Counter Culture Festival, Bongo Club, Roxy Arthouse, Noisy Nights (Traverse Theatre) and Edinburgh Queer Mutiny. They often worked with Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance to give artist talks and performances at various Scottish LGBT events.
Zorras produced a CD in July 2009 (We Apologise For Any Inconvenience), which was highlighted in San Francisco's Curve (magazine) in their January/February 2010 issue: “…a more experimental take on spoken word performance than your average word-spitter. Zorras deliver their musical stories bilingually, mixing text, sound poetry, percussion, guitar, megaphones, singing and projected visual images. They are still interesting on CD, mixing it up between more musical numbers like the guitar-folk 'Nest' and more radio-dramatized pieces like 'Here's To Wang." I personally love the 'In the Details' spoken interludes, humorous musings on the idiosyncrasies of the Bulgarian language.”
Another U.S. magazine, the on-line AfterEllen.com, said of them in March 2011: "(Zorras) do a great job of injecting humor into their poetry and are the first spoken-word group to have actually captured my interest."
In 2009 Zorras also began to collaborate with other artists, including Ariadna Battich, Nathan Gale and Gord Disley. Working with other artists helped to elevate their work to a new level of integrated performance. Battich’s videos featured in many of Zorras’ performances.
Between 2009 and 2012, Zorras’s reputation grew throughout the UK, Europe and Canada. Soho Theatre presented their work as part of a co-production with Oxford Playhouse and Chroma Journal in 2009. Zorras also featured at London’s Bar Wotever, Jawdance (Apples and Snakes), Ladyfest, GFest – gayWise LGBT Arts Festival, Sage & Time, and Incite.
Zorras made their debut in Manchester in 2010-11 at Pussy Whipped and Debt Records Presents. In September 2010, Ste McCabe from Dandelion Radio said of them: “My favourite Edinburgh music duo, full-stop”. In Glasgow Zorras presented work at The Arches (Glasgow), Initial Itch (Flatrate Theatre), Words Per Minute and Aye Write!. They also performed at Liverpool’s Homotopia, Amsterdam’s Queeristan, Berlin’s Entzaubert Film Festival and Café D’Espacio in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In 2011, they featured at Edinburgh International Book Festival, as well as touring six Canadian cities.
Anthologies and Magazines