2013-14 Performing Arts Season
Photo credit Mathieu Zazzo
The following is a list of our 2013-14 slate of Performing Arts events.
Since the release of their first international album, The Idan Raichel Project has represented a hope that artistic collaboration can break down barriers between different backgrounds and beliefs. Idan Raichel, the architect of this unique project, is a keyboardist, producer, and composer. Israel is home to a stew of cultures and traditions, including Jews of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Latin American, Eastern European, and African roots. There is also a large Arab community. The music of the Idan Raichel Project draws on all these traditions. Idan saw the project as a collaboration between artists who each bring their own musical culture and talents to the stage. "There would be no front man," Idan says. "I would sit at the side and watch things and see what occurs. Every song would have a different singer, we would sit in a half circle and each musician would have a chance to demonstrate what they have to offer." The live show brings together people of different backgrounds, each equal to the other.
Two masterful world music innovators collaborate on new music for didgeridoo and frame drums. Reuniting after several years and many road miles, Glen Velez and Stephen Kent renew a musical kinship while presenting their latest musical sorcery. Both musicians share a love of diverse world musics and have invested careers in creating organic, groove-oriented music that proclaims its uniqueness while infusing the rhythms and melodies of our planet. Glen Velez, a four-time Grammy Award recipient, has played a seminal role over the last 25 years by introducing the frame drum to modern audiences. He has taught extensively worldwide, investigating the healing properties of drumming and sound. His most recent recording is Rhythms of the Chakras, Volume 2. Multi-instrumentalist and composer Stephen Kent is one of the premier didgeridoo virtuosos in the contemporary world. His catalog of more than 20 CD releases spans from 1988 to the present day, and includes six solo albums. He also has hosted a popular weekly "Music of the World" show on Pacifica Radio's KPFA for the past 18 years.
Nitin Sawhney has one of the most distinctive and versatile musical styles, combining electronica, Indian music, and acoustic. He has firmly established himself as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer, and cultural pioneer. Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man of the musical world, making important contributions to performing, composing, film, dance, theater, and even video games. Often appearing as an artist in residence, curator, or musical director at international festivals, Sawhney also works tirelessly for musical education. He is a recipient of four honorary doctorates from British universities, and in 2007 turned down an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for ethical reasons. Nitin Sawhney has made nine studio albums and written more than forty scores for film and television, including the BBC series "The Human Planet," Mira Nair's film The Namesake, and two film scores for live performance by the London Symphony Orchestra.
It all started with a sound inside Rokia Traoré's head. One of the most adventurous singer-songwriters in Africa knew that she wanted to create a musical style "more modern, but still African, something more blues and rock than my folk guitar." Then she heard an old Gretsch, the classic electric guitar beloved by American rockabilly bands back in the fifties and sixties, and played by artists from Chet Atkins to George Harrison. That was the sound she had been looking for, and it has helped bring a fresh and startling new dimension to her exquisite and adventurous songs. The daughter of a Malian diplomat posted to the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East, Traoré studied in Brussels and worked in a rap band, before deciding to go back to Mali to create the music she wanted, which was "not pop, not jazz, not classical, but something contemporary with traditional instruments."
With more than a quarter of a million albums sold around the globe, an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman, a duet with Bonnie Raitt on her album Silver Lining, and nearly a thousand concerts on some of the world's most prestigious stages, Habib Koité is one of Africa's most popular and recognized musicians. Koité has gained a strong fan base by integrating the rock and folk sounds of the Western world without watering down his cherished Malian roots. Called "Mali's biggest pop star" by Rolling Stone (in an article in which Bonnie Raitt compared Habib to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn), Koité has also received raves from People, Entertainment Weekly, and the New York Times. Habib Koité was born in 1958 in Thiès, a Senegalese town situated on the railway line connecting Dakar to Niger, where his father worked on constructing the tracks. He descends from a line of griots, traditional African troubadours. Koité grew up surrounded by seventeen brothers and sisters, and developed his unique guitar style accompanying his griot mother. He inherited his passion for music from his paternal grandfather, who played the kamele n'goni, a traditional four-stringed instrument associated with hunters from the Wassolou region of Mali.
Described by Billboard Magazine as a "visionary composer and producer", Karsh Kale is one of global music's brightest stars. In the past 12 years as a solo recording artist, producer, composer, live performer and DJ, Karsh has set the world of electronic fusion on fire and has helped to create a genre of new music and culture that continues to influence an entire generation. His body of work has been cause for fans and critics alike to claim Kale as a pioneer and a trail blazer, not only opening doors for his own career but for an entire scene to emerge in the world of electronica and fusion music. Karsh Kale has also developed a reputation as a genre bending collaborator and a world renowned tabla player and musician, exploring the worlds of electronica, Indian classical music, rock, jazz fusion and hip hop which has led him to work with some of the most renowned artists from around the globe. Kale continues to reinvent his ever-evolving sound and has established himself as one of the worlds most sought after fusion artists.
Extending Mali's rich musical tradition, Fatoumata Diawara presents a joyous mix of the vibrant and understated, combining songs about love, politics, and empowerment. With arresting melodies soaring over intricate guitar and drum arrangements, and inspired by the Wassoulou tradition, jazz, and blues, Fatoumata Diawara has created her own contemporary folk sound, with a distinctly African spin on the female singer-songwriter. At the center of the music is Diawara's warm, affecting voice; spare, rhythmical guitar playing; and gorgeously melodic songs that draw powerfully on her own experience. Born in Côte d'Ivoire, raised in Mali, now based in Paris, Diawara has had a life covering a whole gamut of contemporary African experience: fighting parental opposition to her artistic ambitions and the cultural prejudice faced by women throughout Africa, winning success as an actress in film and theater, before entering the medium she was always destined to make her own: music.
The group Tinariwen are often associated with just one image: Touareg rebels with machine gun in hand and electric guitar slung over the shoulder. The band discarded this cliché on their fifth album, Tassili. The founding members abandoned their weapons long ago. On this new album they have engineered a minor aesthetic revolution by setting aside the electric guitar-which made them famous-turning to acoustic sounds, recorded right in the heart of the desert, the cradle of their culture, source of their inspiration. You might call this a return to the essence of their art, a return which, paradoxically, has also opened the doors to intriguing collaborations with members of TV On The Radio, Nels Cline (Wilco's guitarist), and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Shujat Husain Khan belongs to the Imdad Khan gharana of the sitar and is the seventh in an unbroken line from a family that has produced many musical masters. His style known as gayaki ang, is imitative of the subtleties of the khayal style of vocal music. Shujat Hussain is the son and disciple of the master sitarist Ustd. Vilayat Khan. His musical pedigree continues back through his grandfather, Ustd. Inayat Khan, his great-grandfather Ustd. Imdad Khan and his great-great-grandfather Ustd. Sahebdad Khan - all leading artists of their generations.
At the age of three Shujaat began practicing on a specially made small sitar, and by the time he was six, the child prodigy started giving public performances. Since then he has performed at all the prestigious music festivals in India and he has traveled around the world performing in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. Most recently he was a featured artist as part of the Music Festival of India, the most prestigious event celebrating 50th year of Indian Independence at Carnegie Hall in New York, Paramount Theater in Seattle and Myers Symphony Theater in Dallas. He has also performed at Assembly Hall at the United Nations in Geneva and Royal Albert Hall in London.