Archive for April, 2012
Round Out Your Week with a Little World Fusion: See What Transpires When Japanese Folk Music Meets Jazz with the Tomoko Omura Quartet: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.
Jazz violinist Tomoko Omura is an artist with a mission. “I want to push the barriers of jazz violin” she urges, recognizing a pronounced absence of string players when it comes to the achievement of true stardom in the world of jazz. Still a young developing artist in the early stages of her career, already she has been haled by the likes of “The Strad” magazine as a creative genius, moving beyond the stylistic advancements made by even the great Stepahnie Grapelli himself. Her latest artistic venture, entitled Roots, involves the fusion of Japanese traditional music and jazz, the music from which will be featured at her Thursday night performance at Ryles with the Tomoko Omura Quartet. As with her earlier project, the “Visions” cd (2008), Omura shares her own highly innovative, leading-edge original works or arrangements, showcasing her ulta-modern interpretative skills and compositional techniques. However, even though she is truly an experimental jazz artist in her own right, one can still notice the influences of her earlier classical music training which remain ever-present throughout all of her compositions, as cleverly constructed improvisations are well balanced against solidly structured harmonies. With respect to Omura’s playing style, she is one of a tiniest minority of violinists attempting to solidly establish the presence of standard jazz idioms within her performances not normally associated with a string instrument. So, why not come and see what this exciting young jazz musician and her quartet have to bring to the genre, this Thursday night at Ryles.
Tomoko Omura developed an affinity for jazz early on during her training as a classical violinist. As a young music student attending Yokohama National University, she was one of a very few studying the instrument to take a serious interest in this particular genre. Eager to develop a career in jazz, she came to the United States to study at the Berklee College of Music where she graduated sums cum laude. During her tenure there, she became the very first string major ever to receive the coveted Roy Hanes award for jazz performance. Currently, she is enjoying a well accomplished professional career as a jazz composer and performer, having been featured in both The Strad and Strings magazines. In addition to her numerous recording credits, she is in constant demand as a stage performer, either as a soloist, leading her own small ensembles or as part of various other jazz groups, appearing regularly at top clubs and other major venues and events around New England and in New York City, as well. She also continues to perform in her native Japan where she was a part of J-Pop superstar, Mai Kuraki’s hit song entitled “Be With U”.
When: April 26th, Thursday @ 8:30 p.m.
Where: Ryles Jazz Club (Mainstage)
Admission: $10.00 (Purchase Online)
More Info: 617-876-9330
Experience the Vision of Beauty and Drama that is Classical Indian Dance at Its Very Best with Priyadarshini Govind: April 22nd, Sunday (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)
Priyadarshini Govind (video)
Priyadarshini Govind is considered to be among the best if not the best in the world at her craft. Performing since the age of 16, she has pushed the art form of Bharatnatyam, one of the oldest styles of classical Indian dance, forward with her progressive approach to both technique and expression. The genre began as a part of the religious rites performed for deities worshiped in Hindu temples over 2000 years ago. Built around an artistic vision of seemless unity between dance movements, often precisely rhythmic in character, and highly expressive drama, this particular style of movement presents itself as a true challenge to even the most accomplished dancer. It is the their job to achieve an exact balance between whats refered to as the “nritta” or manner of movement that emphasizes purely technique and the “nrithya” which is focused upon the dramatic aspects of dancing. The latter is achieved through employment of a specified series of techniques associated with abhinaya, an Indian form of artistic expression. These include mudras (sacred gestures), mime, facial expressions, and body movements.
As a true master of Bharatnatyam, Govind sums up her artistic role thusly, “Dance is such a complete line with visuals, poetry, drama, music … You use your whole body to communicate all of this”. She considers her connection with the audience of utmost importance, aiming to virtually transport them into her world with her as she performs, wherever she happens to be artistically at any given moment. Although Govind considers the dramatic aspects of her dancing as more personally fulfilling, her technique is most impressive nonetheless. One can truly appreciate her sharpness of body line, intriguing footwork sequences, and overall flexibility, physical extension, and control. Her sense of expression is very precise, intense, and down to earth. No phoniness here. She can change character seamlessly at the drop of a hat and no emotion, idea, or concept seems too abstract for her to handle, dramatically speaking. In keeping with her artistically progressive outlook, she often chooses to portray modern up-to-date concepts, which are unique to her own personal dance repertoire. Govind manages to effectively communicate a vast array of varying emotions within in a variety of differing dramatic scenarios, all during a single performance, literally mesmerizing audiences with her theatrical skill in the process. Her visit to Boston presents a rare opportunity indeed for all of us in the area to experience the ultimate in classical Indian dance.
Priyadarshini Govind began dancing in the Bharatnatyam style as a young child. In fact by the age of nine she had begun training with the great masters of her native India. Exceptionally talented, she continues to enjoy an international career of the highest order earning herself the most coveted title of “Kalaimamani” in honor of her artistic achievements. You can read more about her many accomplishments here.
When: April 29th, Sunday (4:00 – 6:00 p.m.)
Where: MIT (Kresge Auditorium)
Tickets: $30.00 (General Admission) / $15.00 (MITHAS Members) / Free (MIT Students)
More Info: email@example.com / 617-258-7971
Discover a Whole New Side of the Music of Eastern Europe with the World Renown Guitarists of the Trio Balkan Strings: April 22nd, Sunday @ 8:30 p.m.
Zoran, Nikola, and Zeljko Starcevic are a father and son team that together have formed the Trio Balkan Strings, a highly successful group showcasing the talents of three of Serbia’s best guitarists. Inspiring audiences with their own special brand of world fusion, they share with the rest of the world a version of Balkan-inspired instrumental music that is not only electrifying and exhilarating but also most contemporary and innovative as well. The group’s uniqueness of sound stems in a large part from a masterful blending of an extensive array of various Eastern European and other world music styles including, Serbian, Romani, Macedonian, Romanian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Mediterranean, Greek, Oriental, and more. Add to that elements of Western style genres such as jazz, swing, classical and rock, and you have a whole new interpretation of what actually began as Balkan folk music. The Starcevics regard each of the many diverse styles of Balkan music as individually unique in character, and yet quite similar in many ways. This viewpoint is reflected in their music which can be appreciated as unique over-all blending of many such genres and at the same time a well constructed collage of diverse stylistic elements, each of which stands out in the mind of the listener as a distinct part of the whole. The guitarists of Trio Balkan Strings are also known for their leading-edge instrumental technique, often displayed in the form of breath-taking improvisational passages or in the execution of musical ornamentations never before performed on a pectoral stringed instrument.
Each member of the trio brings their own special set of talents to the over-all mix. Zoran has recorded countless cds totaling over a million copies, while sons Nikola and Zoljko both graduated from music school and teach classical guitar. As a group they have won international awards in both performance and composition. They have graced the stages of jazz, classical, and ethnic music events throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States, and have conducted workshops with American music students. The Trio Balkan Strings have two cds to their credit entitled Balkan Guitars and Watermill. So, are you ready for a new take on Balkan music? Just come on out to Johnny D’s and spend a unforgettable evening with the Trio Balkan Strings.
Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)
More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720
Join One Very Special Group of Dedicated and Passionate World Musicians in Their Celebration of Earth Day: Help Some of the Best Flutists on the Planet to Save It
Renaissonics – This energetic and upbeat group of Renaissance music specialists are considered to be among the “best of the best” of early music ensembles. They have done much to popularize the music of this period by infusing it with a renewed sense of energy and excitement, largely through their highly improvisational performance style. Still, in spite of it all, their Renaissance period repertoire is presented in only the most authentic manner, thus remaining true to its ancient roots. Each and every member of the group has earned themselves international merit as a soloist and, as a unit, they have performed overseas in France as well as with Michael York of Hollywood fame, the Sumaj Chasquis ensemble of Bolivia, renown jazz artist Bob Moses, and the well-known Latin band Sol Y Canto. They also contributed to the soundtrack of a Ken Burns documentary for PBS. The Rennaissonics currently serve as resident ensemble for the International Early Dance Institute, as well as the Killington Vermont Shakespeare Festival. (Visit their website)
Elizabeth Reian Bennett – As the truest of shakuhachi virtuosos, this Tufts University music professor has earned the most prestigious title of Grand Master of her instrument, an honor she earned as the result of years of extensive training in the art of Japanese traditional music. Not only is she one of a very few Westerners to ever have received such schooling, but she is the first female ever to have attain a professional career as a shakuhachi player. Known throughout the world for her impeccable technique, she was considered to be the very best in all of Japan for over 30 years. Although Reian Bennett is no doubt considered a leading authority on traditional playing styles, as is evident in her exquisite renditions of Japanese monk songs and classical chamber music, she also experiments with her own improvisations and various modern world fusion genres.
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: Saturday, May 19th @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Emmanuel Baptist Church (Boston)
Advance purchase options for tickets are available until 3:00 p.m. on the day of the concert
More Info: 781-396-0734 OR www.warrensenders.com OR Facebook