Artwork: Christopher Lauto

Popebama is a New York-based experimental duo that focuses on exciting performances of unconventional works. Described as “Noisily Virtuosic” (clevelandclassical.com), Erin Rogers (saxophone) and Dennis Sullivan (percussion) are composer-performers who apply text, electronics, and high-energy instrumental writing to freshly-squeezed sounds.

Specializing in works conceived by Rogers and Sullivan, Popebama has championed composers such as Paul Pinto, Matthew Shlomowitz, Jenna Lyle, Rick Burkhardt, Kittie Cooper, Daniel Silliman, and Alex Christie. The duo has collaborated with yarn/wire (NYC), Tøyen Fil Og Klafferi (Oslo), Brandon Lopez (Brooklyn), Anne La Berge (Amsterdam), Merche Blasco (NYC), Jessica Pavone (Queens), Ogni Suono (Cleveland), Rage Thormbones (LA), and DECODER (Hamburg). Popebama has been featured at the Elbphilarmonie (Hamburg), NYmusikk Bergen (Norway), The Shed (NYC), Edmonton Fringe Festival (Canada), Splendor (Amsterdam), Diabolical Records (Salt Lake City), VU Symposium (Park City), Bodies-As-Technology (Brooklyn), ReSound Festival (Cleveland), The Stone (NYC), SPLICE Festival (Kalamazoo), New School of Music (Boston), Studio Loos (Den Haag), Chance & Circumstance Festival (Long Island City), and The Walden School (New Hampshire), with lauded performances at the 2017 New Music Gathering, and NASA 2018 Biennial (Cincinnati).

Educational engagements include student workshops, masterclasses, and performances at Hochschule fur Musik (Freiburg), UMass Amherst, University of Minnesota (Duluth), the Collaborative Composition Initiative, CCI (Stony Brook University), St. Cloud State, and The Walden School Young Musicians Program (New Hampshire). Popebama was the featured artist at the 2019 Ball State Festival of New Music which included five evening-length performances by the duo, including an international Call-for-Scores. Popebama returned to Hamburg in March 2020, for the premiere of Fight Songs a collaboratively-composed, evening-length work as part of the Elbphilharmonie’s ‘Unterdeck’ Series, featuring Decoder Ensemble.

Nation Building, Popebama’s debut album from Gold Bolus Recordings, is a 40-minute guide to forging your own sound world. Through concept, play, notation, rehearsal, performance, and extensive touring, four original works (two by Erin Rogers, two by Dennis Sullivan) capture the duo’s hallmark performance energy in a refined studio mix. Noisy, experimental, multi-instrument, text-laden, with custom electronics, intricate setups and an unwavering attention to detail, Popebama’s work applies the freshness of experimental sound and free spirit of improvisation to precise execution and formal notation. From their ambitious first ventures in 2016, seasoned composer-performer- improvisers Rogers and Sullivan pooled their collective everythings to uncover new ground in sound and performance.