SamulNori is an ensemble with a mission. They are steadfastly dedicated to the preservation and promotion of ancient Korean folk music and dance, most specifically with respect to the 5,000 year old genre of nongak. As Korea’s #1 folk ensemble, the group has already enjoyed great success in reaching their goal, managing to capture the favor of countless audiences both in their native homeland and in numerous countries abroad. Their performance consists of purely percussive music played on gongs and drums and shamanistic ceremonial dances in which the participants create unique and engaging displays of swirling visual patterns with long ribbons and feather plumes worn upon their heads. Under the most capable leadership of changgo master Kim Duk-Soo, SamulNori adds a whole new dimension of musical expression and intrigue to nongak an other centuries old traditional Korean folk genres, through the incorporation of new and original rhythmic patterns, sharp musical contrasts, and dramatic crescendos that rise at times from periods of complete silence only to culminate in passages of feverish musical activity. The complex and challenging choreography displayed within the dances only continues to add to the excitement of the overall performance as the artists showcase their highly athletic leaps and spins, while playing their instruments simultaneously. The rave reviews attest not only to the quality of the showmanship but also to the production’s totally unique character as well.
Nongak is considered to be the fundamental basis of all of Korean culture as a whole. Although the genre is generally performed by percussionists who play and dance simultaneously, the members of SamulNori opt to present only the music so that it receives a maximum of artistic focus. The music itself is often referred to as farmer’s band and was originally performed as part of the harvest celebration throughout rural communities. Twice a year, in May when seeding their crops and again in October when reaping them, the villagers would celebrate 24/7 with group singing and dancing which involved hand clapping and foot stomping of specially prescribed rhythmic patterns. SalmulNori’s repertoire is characteristic not only of nongak, but also of shamanistic celebratory and religious prayer music, as well as additional ancient Korean folk styles. The group’s name actually translates to ” the playing of the four things”, in this case, referring to the quartet of musicians which serves as the core group of performers for most of the show. The “four things” more specifically include the K’kwaenggwari, ching, changgo, and buk.
SamulNori has developed an international reputation in a wide variety aspects. They have toured extensively world-wide appearing at major concert venues, joined artistic forces with some of world’s top musicians, recorded both cds and DVDs, and have also authored their own publication, while being featured in others. To attend one of their performances is not only an opportunity to experience Korean folk art at its finest, but also to walk way with a most valuable education in Korean folk culture in general.
When: November 11th, Friday @ 8:00 p.m.
Also free lecture/demonstration: November 12th (1:00 – 2:30 p.m.)
To be held @ Harvard University’s Holden Chapel in Harvard Yard
Where: Sanders Theatre (Harvard Square)
Tickets: $28.00 – $40.00 (Purchase info)
More Info: 617-876-4275
October 26, 2011 at 1:59 am
I am extremely pleased to announce the coming of yet another fabulous world music production held in honour of our planet’s most precious and vital natural environment. If you are already familiar with New England Conservatory professor Warren Sender’s highly successful “Playing for the Planet” series then do check out the impressive performance roster for November’s concert, but if not, then read on for further details regarding a most important ongoing humanitarian effort centered around reversing the global warming trend and the ghastly havoc it is wreaking upon our environment at this very moment … Yikes!!!
“Playing for the Planet: World Strings Against Climate Change” is already the 5th installment in a performance series that very effectively joins great world music with a great world cause. At this point, I am going to let the creator of this highly important series describe it to you in his own words, as he has already so beautifully done so: “Playing For The Planet: World Strings Against Climate Change” was conceived as a way for these creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming. Because the climate problem recognizes no national boundaries, the artists represent musical styles from different parts of the globe. Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Durga Krishnan, Eliot Fisk/ Zaira Meneses (duo) and their accompanists may present different melodic and rhythmic concepts, but they share key musical values: listening, honesty, creativity, and respect. And, of course, all of these artists and their accompanists are committed to raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of global warming. Their choice of beneficiary, 350.org, is focused on building global consensus on reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — action which climatologists agree is necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes. It’ll be an incredible evening of powerful music- from some of the finest musicians in New England and the world.”–Warren Senders.
Eliot Fisk – Known for his highly progressive and innovative classical guitar transcriptions of compositions by some of the world’s greatest masters, Mr. Fisk continues to expand both the technical and artistic limits of his instrument. The great Andres Segovia, himself, refered to him as “one of the most brilliant, intelligent and gifted young musical artists of our times, not only among guitarists, but in all of the general field of instrumentalists.” In addition to classical genres Fisk has also experimented in the areas of jazz, flamenco, and world music, and while in the process, has worked with a number of internationally renowned artists. He is the creator of the annual Boston Guitar Fest, a highly popular local event. (More bio & videos / Artist’s website)
Zaira Meneses – Meneses has captivated audiences world-wide with her highly evolved musical sensitivity and endearing stage presence, both as a featured soloist and member of numerous chamber ensembles. Already an award-winning classical guitarist at the early age of 17 in her native Mexico, she has gone on to become a world-class performer appearing at major venues world-wide, oftentimes in collaboration with the likes of top artists such as Jon Kimura Parker and Virginia Eskin. Now a resident of the US, Meneses’ exceptional musical abilities have been recognized by the New York Times. After serving several terms as an artist in residence in the collegiate world, she presently holds steady positions at both Boston Conservatory and Syracuse University. (More bio & videos / Artist’s website)
Durga Krishnan – Well known as a veena virtuoso, Ms. Krishnan is also an exquisitely trained vocalist as well as a leading authority on South Indian classical music styles. Her especially insightful interpretive skills with respect to this genre make her a highly sought after teacher, as she has coached many an award-winning student. In addition, she has graced the international stage both as a performer and composer as well. She will be accompanied by mridangam virtuoso Sri Gaurishankar Chandrashekhar who has collaborated with many of the world’s top musicians during his 15 year career. (More bio & videos / Artist’s website)
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol – Professor Sanlikol holds a doctorate in music from New England Conservatory and has enjoyed a highly successful and varied career, both locally and internationally, as a performer, recording artist, composer, teacher, author, and producer. He has concentrated most of his efforts in the area of traditional and contemporary Turkish music while working with Turkey’s brightest international classical and pop music stars. His 2010 production entitled “Story of the City – Constantinople-Istanbul”, a comprehensive live performance depiction of over 1000 years of local music history, was presented at the city’s prestigious European Culture Capitol festival. Dr. Sanlikol will be appearing with the highly respected local Turkish music ensemble Dunya which he, himself, co-founded. (More bio & videos / Artist’s website)
In October of 2009, I had the fortune of attending an earlier concert, the first, also put on by Mr. Senders for the same wonderful cause, this time in recognition of “International Climate Change Awareness Day.” As an ardent lover of world music, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. Here is a summary of some of the highlights of that event, complete with photos. As I have said so many times before, it is truly a wonderful thing when world music can be employed as a catalyst in support of global well-being in any form. Kudos to Mr. Senders for giving us, the audience, yet another opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project, complete with such exquisite music!
All proceeds of this event go to benefit the mission of 350.org.
When: Friday, November 11th @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Emmanuel Church (Boston)
Tickets: $20.00 (General Admission) (Online purchase) / $15.00 (Seniors and Students) (Online purchase)
Advance purchase options for tickets are available until 3:00 p.m. on the day of the concert (Purchases made after 11/8/11 will be held at the door)
More Info: 781-396-0734 OR www.warrensenders.com
October 22, 2011 at 2:23 am
Join Theodoshii Spassov in the celebration of Bulgarian National Revival Day honoring the very forefathers of an all important movement that sparked a sense of cultural pride within a nation once struggling under Ottoman rule, a movement so effective that it would eventually lead to Bulgarian independence. And a fitting role it is indeed for a musician who is widely recognized as a cultural role model in his homeland, to be leading a North American tour honoring this all important event in Balkan history. It also just happens to be the great kaval virtuoso’s 50th anniversary as well. Joining him on the Boston tour stop will be world fusion ensemble Balkan Tales, lead by vocal virtuoso Vlada Tomova and featuring guitarist and sitarist Chris Rael. It promises to be an evening of first-rate world fusion music. Spassov will be showcasing his own special brand of Bulgarian folk music both as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, blending the genre in a most creative fashion with elements of various other diverse ethnic styles, jazz and classical music. His guests, Balkan Tales, will present their own modernized versions of traditional songs not only from the Balkan regions, but also from the Mediterranean, and Middle East, as well, further embellished with smatterings of pop, jazz, funk, and additional world music influences.
Theodoshii Spassov – This Bulgarian super star/nationally acclaimed cultural hero has been successfully touring worldwide for over 20 years. He has recorded over 20 cds either as a contributing performer or on his own. As a recipient of multiple national and international artistic awards, including a Grammy, he was credited in Newsweek’s “Best of the East” article with actually having introduced to the rest of the world his own entirely new and unique genre of music. Active also in the world of film music, Spassov has succeeded both as a composer and performer, having participated in the recording of soundtracks for some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Ennio Morricone and Carlos Silliotto.
Vlada Tomova – In addition to leading the group of internationally recognized musicians that is Balkan Tales, she also established the Bulgarian women’s choir Yasna Voices, which was at the time, the only ensemble of its kind in New York City. She has also very successfully collaborated with world music super stars Balkan Beat Box and continues to perform at major music festivals across North America.
Chris Rael – As an established virtuoso of the sitar and the Portuguese and 12-string guitars, he has performed at major entertainment venues across the globe and worked with some of the world’s top musicians. He also founded the wildly popular group Church of Betty as well as his very own record label, Fang Records. He is the producer of a number of cds as well as a whole host of live New York City events.
Also joining this special group of world fusion artists will be local guest stars, jazz vocalist Elena Koleva and jazz fusion soloist Plamen Karadonev. This show is expected to sell-out, so don’t be left out, and order your tickets as soon as possible.
21+ (Minors can attend with an adult and a dinner table reservation)
When: October 21st, Friday @ 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.
October 16, 2011 at 1:03 am
Kings of Salsa: Watch/Listen
Hot, hot, and hotter would definitely be a fitting motto for the Kings of Salsa. Known for their sensual and evocative choreography this dance company will surely captivate you with their one-of-a-kind mesmerizing dance movements. And better yet, they have the music to back them up, thanks to the efforts of Cuba Ashire. Under the skillful directorship of Rodan Gonzallez Chavez, one of Cuba’s premier choreographers, this young troupe of nine of the country’s best dancers has quickly become all the rage in their homeland. Presenting their very own specially modernized action-packed versions of traditional tried and true Cuban dance forms including salsa, rhumba, cha cha, mambo, and various Afro Caribbean genres, they will introduce you to current urban youth dance culture such as it is today. Traditional Latin dance garb is at times replaced with common everyday street threads such as jean shorts and pants along with sandals for the feet. In addition to the standard choreography one would normally expect to see in a showcase of classic Latin dance genres such as these, the Kings of Salsa have brought their own set of special highly urbanized dance moves to the mix originating from hip hop and what is known as “street salsa” styles. The show was choreographed with a dual purpose in mind, both to honor the well-known, timeless Latin dance standards we all know and love while at the same time bridging the cultural generation gap through hip, now versions of these classics that are highly characteristic of the current Cuban dance scene experienced by today’s Latino youth. This same theme carries through to the music as well. The talented band members of Cuba Ashire, which features a big brassy sound backed up by highly intense rhythms, will bring you the very best renditions of familiar Latin standards, further embellished with a strikingly contemporary modern flair.
The show has received rave reviews that give testimony to its lively and compelling intensity from beginning to end. The audience is ” virtually transported” to the warm sunny Caribbean where they are welcomed by enthusiastic dancers skillfully displaying their exceptional talents via highly sensual, energetic, and complex choreography matched precisely to the music, note-for-note and highlighted with music and dance solos of exceptional quality. Cuba Ahire’s wildly infectious Latin rhythms have one and all moving in their seats with unbridled enthusiasm. The Kings of Salsa music and dance extravaganza is a showstopper to be sure!
When: October 13th – 15th, Thursday – Saturday @ 7:30 OR 8:00 p.m. (2 hour show)
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (Emerson College)
Tickets: $65.00, $50.00, & $40.00 (Plus $1.50 restoration fee) (Purchase info)
More Info: Contact
October 3, 2011 at 2:36 am