Gamelan Sekar Jaya 25th Anniversary

Gamelan Sekar Jaya Celebrates its 35th Anniversary, May 1-2

Gamelan Sekar Jaya celebrates its 35th anniversary Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, 2015 in San Francisco with a program of traditional and new work for Balinese gamelan and dance, and the world premiere of “Mikrokosma” by guest performers of the Lightbulb Ensemble.

Sekar Jaya’s 60 performers, led by company director Emiko Saraswati Susilo and guest music director Bapak I Made Arnawa, will perform three new works created for the anniversary: “Pelangi” for gamelan jegog, “Eka Sruti” for gamelan gong kebyar, and “Suaran Toya” for gamelan angklung.

For details, see the Gamelan Sekar Jaya website and this article at San Francisco Classical Voice.

Info on the Lightbulb Ensemble.

Kin Ho and Jeanne Cate Teaching

Teaching Artist Kin Ho is Omnipresent in the San Diego Folk Dance Scene

We continue a series of articles featuring the wonderful teaching artists of World Music in the Schools:

Spend some time in San Diego folk dance circles, and there’s someone you’re sure to meet pretty quick. That would be Kin Ho, CWM teaching artist, performer and instructor of traditional folk dance genres from around the world. Everywhere you look in the local folk dance circles, you’ll find Kin as performer, teacher, and organizer. He finds that students in the Center’s World Music in the Schools program respond well to the movement and rhythm (and fun!) of folk dance, and that—when opportunity presents—their parents enjoy joining in.

Kin was born in Canton Province, China. His family moved to Hong Kong when he was a toddler, and he spent his school years in that cosmopolitan city learning and performing international folk dance and Chinese traditional dance, including the Lion dance with drumming. After immigration to the United States, Kin taught and directed the Chinese Folk Dance Troup of Stockton. Moving to San Diego some twenty years ago, he performed with San Diego State University’s yearly International Folk Dance Concerts. He has taught folk dance classes extensively to both adults and children at all levels and at a variety of festivals and events around San Diego. Through San Diego’s International Dance Association, which sponsors the folk dance classes that he teaches in Balboa Park, Kin is involved with the planning and presentation of several annual folk dance festivals at the Balboa Park Club. He also teaches Greek dancing at the Folk Dance Center in North Park.

Kin’s wife and partner in the folk dance scene, Jeanne Cate, is likewise prominent in the San Diego folk dance world. Indeed, Kin and Jeanne were recently featured in an article in the San Diego UT. Jeanne also often helps out in the World Music in the Schools classrooms.

Both enjoy “spreading the old-country spirit” through dance. Everyone who learns one or more of these international dance traditions, Kin says, carries “a little corner of the world” with them.

Mbira

World Music Instrument: The Karimba Mbira

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that students in World Music in the Schools enjoy working with . . .

The mbira is a hand-held musical instrument that evolved in sub-Saharan Africa. In its many different forms, it is capable of producing both intimate singable melodies for meditation and vigorous percussive rhythms for dance. It can be used to delight and entertain, or it can be used to lend solemnity to religious ceremonies. Made from a small block of wood, with rows of tuned metal strips (lamellae) attached, the mbira naturally produces a subdued soft tone that can be amplified by placing it inside a large hollowed-out calabash gourd resonator (deze).

The mbira can be played as a solo instrument or as part of an ensemble, with other mbiras or with drums (ngoma) or rattle shakers (hosho). When two mbiras are played together, each renders a different but complimentary interlocking musical part (kushaura or kutsinhira). As a native-trained teaching artist, I currently teach a solo mbira type from Zimbabwe—the karimba—in the San Diego K-12 public schools.

Garit Imhoff, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

See the mbira in action on YouTube. Also, San Diego students playing the Zimbabwean karimba.

View Teaching Artist Garit Imhoff in performance with Zimbeat on YouTube.

UT Folk Dancers

Waiting for San Diego’s Folk Dance Revival

Union Tribune San Diego, April 12, 2015

Coverage of a Center for World Music Concert Series event, the International Folk Dance Clubs of Balboa Park’s Springfest 2015.

On a wood-floored ballroom in Balboa Park, a smattering of international folk dance enthusiasts paced their way Sunday through provincial traditions from Quebec, Scandinavia, Scotland, Romania and Greece.

“What makes it fun are the mix of rhythms,” said Diane Baker, a retired physical education teacher who traveled from Newport Beach to participate at the festival. “And you learn about the villages where it originated.”

Read the full article at www.utsandiego.com.

Varimezova Family

Living Masters of Bulgarian Folk Music in LA, April 18, 2015

The Artatani World Series continues Saturday, April 18 with a not-to-be missed performance of the Varimezov family, together with Moira Smiley and VOCO. Probably a good idea to get tickets in advance!

Szvetanka and Ivan Varimezov are recognized around the world as living masters of Bulgarian Folk music. They tour extensively and teach across Europe and America, so much so that singer Moira Smiley calls them the “Pied Pipers of Bulgarian music.” Known for their powerful polyphonic vocals they are also masters of doumbek, tupan, bagpipe and accordion. In a rare family appearance, daughters Radka and Tanya add their own vocal and instrumental genius.

Check details at festivalofsacredmusic.org.

Ancient Greek Music

How Did Ancient Greek Music Sound?

A scholar at Oxford University is reconstructing the sound of ancient Greek music, of which we obviously have no recordings . . .

Imagine if we could reconstruct the music, rediscover the instruments that played them, and hear the words once again in their proper setting, how exciting that would be. This is about to happen with the classic texts of ancient Greece.

Read more at bbc.com.