Tamar-kali C. Brown


Little Bear Awakens (2021)

PRIMAVERA III the vessel

from the composer

In approaching this work it was my intention to interpret the playful interaction between the figures in the Boticelli original and the jagged juxtaposition of Charline von Heyl’s 2020 version connected through a thread of call and response phrases and a dance between bowed and fingered techniques. 

Upon hearing Matt play the piece for the first time I envisioned images of Spring awakenings; new life piercing through Winter’s husk. 

My mind wandered off to thoughts of hibernation and what it might feel and look like to shake off the rigor of this long sleep. 

I imagined a series of shimmies and stretches that draw warmth from the core out into the extremities; the dance implied in the call and response of phrases and techniques becoming an improvised choreography as…the Little Bear Awakens.


Brooklyn born and bred artist Tamar-kali is a second-generation musician with roots in the coastal Sea Islands of South Carolina.

As a composer, Tamar-kali has defied boundaries to craft her own unique alternative sound. Her debut LP Black Bottom, challenged the alt-rock norm.

an ambitious new adventure into metal, classical, and progressive styles.” – SONIC SCOOP

The pieces she composes and arranges for her string sextet and voice project Psychochamber Ensemble, marry the classical music of her Catholic upbringing with post-punk sensibilities.

Tamar-kali speaks her lyrical truth with a supreme passion and a voice that will shake your foundation and shatter your expectations with its soulful intensity. Her range and versatility has allowed her to perform on a variety of domestic and international stages with a diverse list of artists from Vernon Reid and Vijay Iyer to Meshell Ndegeocello and Moses Sumney.

2017 marked her debut as a film score composer. Her score for Dee Rees’ Oscar-nominated “Mudbound,” garnered her the World Soundtrack Academy’s 2018 Discovery of the Year Award and has been classified by Indiewire as one of the 25 Best Film Scores of the 21st Century.

Her subsequent film scores; Joshua Marston’s COME SUNDAY, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Martin Sheen and THE LIE, directed by Veena Sud reveal an expanding palette that originates from her emotional artistic core.

2019 was a hallmark year for her work as a composer. In addition to debuting her 1st symphonic commission, she scored 4 films total; 3 which were featured at the Sundance Film Festival 2020. They include Dee Ree’s ‘THE LAST THING HE WANTED’, Kitty Green’s THE ASSISTANT and Josephine Decker’s psychological drama ‘SHIRLEY’; the latter whose soundtrack was named The Guardian’s Contemporary Album of the month in June 2020. The 4th film was the documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble.

2021 promises a range of projects from opera commissions and a new solo EP to the original motion picture score for PALMER, directed by Fisher Stevens.