“Dazzling technical virtuosity … subtle rhyme and complex meter, crisp vocal performance … luminous … fearless, ferocious … a sensory flashback to nights spent with the ancestral clan, seated in a circle beneath a tree watered by the light of the moon…”
– Montreal Review of Books
Hyena Subpoena is a stunning new release from Montreal writer/performer Cat Kidd with longtime musical collaborator dj Jacky Murda. Described as “a movie for your ears” the 58-minute spoken-word opera is the duo’s first full-length album since their critically-acclaimed Sea Peach, which toured to Toronto Harbourfront’s World Stage, Singapore’s Esplanade on the Bay, and the Edinburgh Fringe.
Hyena Subpoena (seven poems with soundscapes) represents the work of a powerful artist at the height of her craft. Kidd’s poems embody “a keening and wickedly funny ode (…) to all who wander the margins of society.” Her young narrator’s tales of calamity may be read as a love letter to all those who, like the hyena, defy easy categorization and so find themselves exiled to the outskirts of respectability.
“There is no one phrase to describe what Cat Kidd does except, perhaps, force of nature.”
– Charlebois Post
The Hyena poems were inspired by Kidd’s four-week trip through South Africa’s famed Kruger National Park. Through her tales of hyenas, lions, antelopes and elephants, Kidd explores the conflicts between predator and prey, individual and collective, human beings and the rest of the natural world. In Kidd’s own words, “It’s essential to recall how much experience we share in common with other living creatures – what is threatening and what is comforting to all of us.”
Jacky Murda’s soundscapes conjure image, mood, and geography, as well as tempo and rhythm. In this work, he sources his musical inspiration widely, from Prokofiev to Nazareth, Berlioz to the Beatles, Danse Macabre to the drama club at Somcuba Primary School in Kanyamazane, SA.
This unique publication is made to appeal to senses of texture, musicality, and nostalgia, as well as to a love of the spoken and written word. The book is printed on Byronic paper and comes packaged in a beautiful hand-printed folio with cover art by Kiva Stimac. Each comes with its own download-code elephant. The album was recorded in the mountains outside Barcelona last Fall, and mastered in Montreal this Spring. It is a rare and fine thing.
To sample this recording, visit catkidd.bandcamp.com. Click through to the Merch section at catkidd.bandcamp.com/merch to get your copy of this limited edition CD/Book folio, featuring original wildlife photography by the author and original linocut prints by Kiva Stimac (www.popolopress.com ).
Interviews with Catherine Kidd may be arranged by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message at (514) 276-0839
Praise for Cat Kidd:
- Montreal Gazette
“Our city’s newest superstar … A knockout … This Kidd is pure gold.”
- The Scotsman
“Slight but dominating, this ‘goddess of beats’ transfixes with her adult blend of Dr. Suess and Aesop’s Fables … gorgeous metaphors.”
- Luna Allison for LitLive.ca:
“Hyena Subpoena marks Kidd’s delving into darker subject matter – including institutionalization, bullying and sexual violence – and the vulnerability of Kidd’s performance this time around is striking. She is as playful and engaging as ever, but there is a new ingredient in the mix this time. The level of risk, the edge in the work, brings a whole new dimension to her presence onstage …
The power of this (work) is in exposing the mechanisms behind the assignment of stigma, no matter what kind – race, gender, class, sexuality and any number of other markers of human experience. The text underlines the merits of collectivity over competition, collaboration over conquering and examines the nature of power through multi-faceted, nuanced stories about the relationships between predator and prey.”
Catherine Kidd is a Montreal-based writer/performer, best known for her zoology-themed performance poetry. Her solo show Sea Peach won the Montreal English Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Text, touring to Toronto Harbourfront’s World Stage, Singapore’s Esplanade on the Bay, and the Edinburgh Fringe. A graduate of Concordia’s MA program in Creative Writing, she was twice recipient of that university’s Irving Layton Award. She has taught writing at Concordia, through the Quebec Writer’s Federation, and also through the Fondation Metropolis Bleu. The first chapter of her novel Missing the Ark (conundrum press) was nominated for the Journey Prize. Her writing also appears in Matrix, This Magazine, Toronto Quarterly, Branch, and P.E.N. International. Kidd’s voice may be heard narrating air safety messages, video games, and as the voice of a prehistoric snail at the Joggins Fossil Museum. Her poem Human Fish opened the Spier Arts Poetry Festival in Cape Town, South Africa in 2007. That trip was the inspiration for her current solo show and cd/book, Hyena Subpoena.