nishla smith voice, songs
aaron wood trumpet
richard jones piano
joshua cavanagh-brierley bass
johnny hunter drums
The quintet are recent alumni of Jazz North’s Northern Line and regularly perform around the UK. Our recent shows have included Ronnie Scott’s, Vortex Jazz Club, Manchester and Lancaster Jazz Festivals. We'll be touring this Autumn to promote the vinyl release of 'Friends with Monsters.'
"Nishla’s often dreamy and melancholic aura is offset with her energetic and imaginative band of Manchester’s finest young contemporary improvisers." Jazz North
Nishla Smith Quintet. original jazz band
"The quintet is made up of younger Manchester scene stalwarts. Accomplished bandleaders in their own right, they responsively but respectfully inhabit the darksome burn of Nishla’s world." London Jazz News
Ulita. Immersive, music-driven theatre
Ulita is a new Northern voice in music-driven theatre, focused on creating immersive, visceral work from unexpected points of view. Its core members are composers Nishla Smith and Tom Harris and visual artist Luca Shaw, each well-established artists in their own fields, drawn together by a shared love of storytelling.
As a collective, Ulita is interested in creating authentic, multi-sensory performance experiences, blurring the genre boundaries between theatre, music and visual art.
Our current projects are ‘The Secret Elevator’, a digital series blending poetry, music and art, which was begun as a micro-commission for Lancaster Jazz Festival; and ‘Sister’, a play with songs for two actor/singers. ‘Sister’ received funding for its R&D period through the Develop Your Creative Practice fund, and was presented at BEAM 2021, a showcase of new British musicals. ulita.uk
'Aether’ is a song cycle for voice and improvising ensemble, exploring the impacts of the climate crisis across different environmental settings. Each of the five songs of the cycle will be centred around one of the elements: Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Aether, and will explore the impacts of the climate crisis across different, sometimes minute environmental settings. I've partnered with scientists at St Andrews University School of Earth and Environmental Science whose work intersects with the subjects ‘Aether’ will explore.
For a while now I’ve been thinking about how I can use my artistic practice to create something meaningful in response to the environmental problems we face as a society. In ‘Aether’, I hope to broach my anxieties and hopes in a way that I also find artistically meaningful. I want to create something that balances the seriousness of the subject matter with moments of hope and optimism.
Aether's development has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the Hope Scott Trust.
Moments. A three-part conceptual concert series from imaginative song-interpreters Nishla Smith & Tom Harris.
Over the course of three May 2021 livestreams, Nishla and Tom told a continuing story, shifting perspective from show to show, weaving together beloved songs and original music with new poetry, stories, and musical interludes. We fell down a well, soared on the wings of a lark, and at last alighted in a garden at dawn.
Moments will be revived and reimagined as a live show later in 2021.
Night Porter is the newest project from saxophonist/composer Emma Johnson and vocalist/composer Nishla Smith. As Night Porter, we’re developing a new sound, blending our different musical aesthetics, and incorporating layering and electronic elements.
Night Porter: Spaces. A new set of songs for Manchester Jazz Festival's Originals Commission.
Our debut project, Spaces is a set of four songs, composed around imagery of real-life spaces in and around Manchester, and designed to be listened to in situ– to create a digital ‘live’ experience. We've also created a set of evocative films to accompany the music. Spaces was commissioned by Manchester Jazz Festival and is due for release in Summer 2022. nightporterband.com