Primary Instrument: Harp
Natalia Mann is known for her contemporary style of harp playing. She works internationally as performer, composer, collaborator and recording artist in a diversity of genres.
Mann was born in New Zealand in 1975, of Samoan/Anglo-Celtic descent. She began studying classical music at the age of four when her family lived in Los Angeles, her primary instruments being harp and piano. She continued her studies in New Zealand eventually to rank among the top harpists in the country, playing for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, new music ensembles, opera, ballet and theatre. Curiosity led her to explore other forms of music, and she realised her passion for improvisation. She move to Melbourne, Australia where she immersed herself in the vibrant international folk and roots music scene. She collaborated with various artists in the creation of meditation music, pop, hip hop, lounge, experimental, abstract, and other contemporary styles. Celebrating her Pacific Island heritage in the process, she co-founded the award winning Samoan trio Sunga, and the Brown Roots Pacific arts collective. She was an original member of the Turkish groups Gece and Unified Gecko, and the improvisation trio Shima.
Since 2005 Mann has been based in Istanbul, Turkey, where she lives with her husband, percussionist Izzet Kizil. She performed alongside Turkish classical master musicians such as Göksel Baktagir. During this time she began to pen her own compositions in order to begin to express the many musical ideas that had by now gathered in her vocabulary. She released her first collection of pieces as the album Pasif.ist on the Rattle NZ label in 2011 to critical praise.
Recent work has included the post of principal harp with the Macedonian Philharmonic Orchestra, a new work collaboration with Black Grace contemporary dance company (NZ), and tours with kiwi popstar Bic Runga. 2012 includes Greenfire Islands, a collaboration with the best cultural musicians of Maori Aotearoa and Ireland. Mann continues to be active in abstract music, with two albums due for release with sound artists Ros Bandt and Erdem Helvacioglu. She is the director of the Illuminations on Consciousness synaesthesia project.
As a conceptual musician, her work is unified under the title Weaving of Perceptions, stemming from the indigenous philosophy that a truth is more dimensional, more resonant, hence stronger, for having not one but many perspectives. Her exploration also seeks the reverse of this, that by joining perspectives we can find new truths for the future of this many cultured world.