The San Diego Troubadour, October 2018

J. T. Moring wrote a nice piece on our June 2018 Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists in San Diego concert series for The San Diego Troubadour.  Here are some excerpts:

The roots of American folk music stretch deep and wide, and indisputably tap into a myriad of worldwide cultures: bluegrass’ roots in Irish dance tunes, gospel’s in African call-and-response, Tejaño’s in German polkas, and on and on. The Center for World Music (CWM) promotes performing arts from around the world, expanding intercultural awareness and offering insights into our home-grown musical traditions.

 

The newest initiative at CWM is their Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists in San Diego concert series, whose inaugural season kicked off last June. Each of the three themed shows included multiple performers followed by a discussion. The first show highlighted African performers; the second featured Middle Eastern stringed instruments; the third focused on songs, stories, and drumming from Middle Eastern women. These shows gave the performers an opportunity to recreate and reconnect with the culture of the homelands they left behind. They offered local audiences a unique chance to experience unfamiliar music, created organically on the spot by regular folks. The interpersonal bonds forged through those shows have helped weave the immigrant community into the fabric of San Diego life.

 

These shows gave the performers an opportunity to recreate and reconnect with the culture of the homelands they left behind. They offered local audiences a unique chance to experience unfamiliar music, created organically on the spot by regular folks. The interpersonal bonds forged through those shows have helped weave the immigrant community into the fabric of San Diego life

To read more, take a look at the full article here.

For further information, see our Songs and Stories event listing, as well as this KPBS video report. Finally, there’s also a photo album for each performance.

San Diego Troubadour Link

Clinton Davis

The Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools is delighted to profile teaching artist Dr. Clinton Davis, who is cultivating the next generation of audiences for traditional American music in San Diego.

Clinton Davis is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and educator. He was born and raised in Kentucky and now lives in San Diego, California. A fifth-generation Kentuckian, Davis grew up in Carroll County with faint residues of old-time music lingering in the air. With guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, and piano, Clinton sifts through America’s musical past. With the G Burns Jug Band, Davis arranges music of country, blues, and jazz greats from before World War II for a five-piece ensemble. Their second album received a San Diego Music Award.

G Burns Jug Band

 

Clinton is an enthusiastic scholar and singer of American shape-note music, traveling to every corner of the country to sing these unique tunes of a cappella harmony with others. In the summers of 2013 and 2014, he toured the Sand Mountain region of Alabama. There, he immersed himself in singing that has existed as an unbroken tradition for over 150 years.

 

In 2015, Clinton became an official Deering Artist, partnering with the Deering Banjo Company and appearing in their catalog to showcase their Goodtime Americana line of banjos.

In 2016, Clinton earned his doctorate in music at the University of California, San Diego. He served as an associate instructor at UCSD, leading a survey course in American roots music.

Beginning in 2017, Clinton has presented a series of concerts called the Southern Pacific Sessions, featuring a variety of musicians performing traditional American music at Kalabash Music & Arts in the Bird Rock neighborhood of San Diego.

Clinton teaches private music lessons and leads middle school clawhammer-style banjo classes as a teaching artist for the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program.

If you want to catch Clinton performing, check out his upcoming gigs, along with a plethora of other gems on his website, www.clintonrossdavis.com.

Enjoy this YouTube video of Clinton performing Kenesaw Mountain Rag with G Burns Jug Band.

Refugee Women's Drum Circle

The Center for World Music celebrates the inaugural season of Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists in San Diego, a CWM project that bridges the distance between San Diego’s refugee population and the general the public through the performing arts.

San Diego County is known as a relocation hub for those fleeing persecution and violence. Over the past year, CWM project volunteers and staff worked with local refugee communities to identify performers and artistic leaders. We then facilitated opportunities for these artists to creatively interface with the public, allowing audiences to become immersed in the traditions, journeys, and voices of those finding refuge in San Diego. Through creative arts the CWM aimed to share refugee experiences and contributions, reduce the social distance between San Diego public and its refugee communities, and encourage support of refugee communities.

During the month of June 2018, 49 musicians performed in three locations across the City of San Diego. The events, which drew large and enthusiastic audiences, were hosted by the San Diego Public Library system.

The Songs and Stories series opened on June 6 with Voices of Hope from Africa at the San Diego Central Library  The event featured Matrida Boazi, the Revelation Gospel Band, and Emmanuel Adamson, with the discussion led by Delores Fisher, musician and San Diego State University lecturer.

Revelation Gospel BandRevelation Gospel BandRevelation Gospel BandVoices of Hope Crowd DancingMatrida and Revelation Gospel BandMatrida Dancing with AudienceVoices of Hope Discussion

Here’s a short video of the Voices of Hope concert.

The next event was Musicians of the Middle East on June 16 at the Logan Heights Branch Library. Featured were Fouad Sawa and the Al-Salam Ensemble, along with Dlan Dary. The discussion was led by Dr. Alex Khalil, neurocomputational ethnomusicologist and project scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

Iraqi Refugee Al Salam EnsembleIragi Refugee Musicians AudienceIragi Refugee Al Salam Ensemble with Natasha KozailySyrian Refugee Musician Dlan DarySyrian Refugee Musician Dlan Dary

See more of Musicians of the Middle East in this short video.

Culminating the series was Transformations Through Rhythm & Word on June 21 at the City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex. The program featured storyteller Ari Honarvar, poet/songwriter Shadi Amini, and Shiffa: Refugee Women’s Drum Circle, lead by Dilkwaz Ahmed, Ari Honarvar, and Christine Stevens. The discussion was led by Vikas Srivastava, musician, author, and advocate of non-violence and social equity.

Refugee Storyteller Ari HonarvarRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Musicians ShadiRefugee Musicians Transformation DiscussionRefugee Women's Drum CircleRefugee Women's Drum Circle

KPBS aired a nice video on Transformations Through Rhythm & Word.

This project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of California Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This project was also made possible with matching funds from the Peacemakers Fund and through a partnership with the San Diego Public Library system.

Financial support was provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

The CWM expresses sincere thanks to the San Diego Refugee Forum, the International Rescue Committee, Musical Ambassadors of Peace, UpBeat Drum Circles, License to Freedom, and San Diego Newcomers Support & Development Programs.

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Gamelan Project Article by Alex Khalil

Gamelan aficionados and music educators alike with find much of interest in this great Smithsonian article on the value of music education for kids by Center for World Music board member Alexander Khalil, PhD. Dr. Khalil offers important observations on attention in children, impaired temporal processing, ADHD, and the benefits of bi-musicality.

Our research has found a connection between the ability to synchronize with an ensemble in a gamelan-like setting and other cognitive characteristics, particularly the ability to focus and maintain attention. Our current work explores whether improvements at interpersonal time processing, or synchrony, may translate into improved attention.

Also of interest in this article is Alex’s account of the history of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, based on his experience as a founding instructor during and after the program’s 1999 inauguration in San Diego at the Museum School:

The gamelan program at the Museum School has its philosophical roots in [pioneering ethnomusicologist] Mantle Hood’s well-known concept of “bi-musicality.” Just as one who is bi-lingual must have fluency in more than one language, one must be fluent in more than one musical language to be considered bi-musical. Robert E. Brown, who studied under Hood at UCLA and subsequently founded the Center for World Music, made his first efforts to bring world music, a term he is credited with having invented, to the elementary classroom in 1973 through his “world music in the schools” program in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Read the full text of this article on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Asian Art website.

Find out more about Dr. Khalil’s work at UCSD’s Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center.

And here’s a nice video documenting the ongoing gamelan program at the Museum School.

Sufi Raina

The Center for World Music is pleased to welcome Sufi Raina to our roster of distinguished teaching artists, a team of professional musicians and dancers who bring the worlds’ performing arts into San Diego classrooms through World Music in the Schools.

Sufi Raina Headshot

Sufi Raina is a silver medalist in Kathak, one of the preeminent classical dance traditions of North India. She holds a master’s degree in Kathak from Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandar, Punjab, where her mentor was the esteemed Dr. Santosh Vyas. She also holds a master’s in psychology from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Trained in the Jaipur Gharana (tradition), Sufi was a lecturer in Kathak at KMV College Jalandhar for three years. During this time she taught dance as a major to undergraduate students. She also choreographed performances for the college as well as for national youth festivals. She was invited to England by the North Somerset Music Service, as a part of a cultural exchange program, to perform and teach Kathak in schools, introducing students to Indian classical dance.

Sufi Raina Dancing

Sufi has choreographed many dance performances for the stage and national television in India. She was an assistant choreographer for the Punjabi film Heer Ranjha. An innovative choreographer, Sufi is also trained in folk dance forms of India. Her love for Kathak, combined with countless dedicated hours of riyaaz (intense practice), have brought her to many stages across the world, enthralling an international audience with the nuances of this classical Indian dance form.

Sufi moved to Southern California in 2011. Since then, she has been actively performing in the region. A lifelong learner and a teacher by choice, she is the founder and artistic director of Tej Dance Studio in San Diego.

Sufi has recently taught for the Center for World Music as an artist in residence at Innovations Academy and at the San Diego French American School, as well as presenting assembly performances at Hawking STEAM Charter School and at SDFAS.

Want to see more? Visit these links:

Promotional Video for Tej Dance Studio
Kathak Performance Celebration World Dance Day in Punjab, India

Access for Seniors program with Sole e Mar, Lions Community Manor

Access to the Arts for Seniors is a new Center for World Music program presenting the world’s music dance, and related arts in affordable housing facilities for seniors with limited access to cultural enrichment. During Spring 2018, our Access to the Arts Coordinator, Stacey Barnett, organized five special programs in residential communities around the San Diego area.

Pictured above is our first event, a Mother’s Day celebration, May 9 at the Lion’s Community Manor, Market Street, San Diego, featuring Sol e Mar musicians David Shyde and Brian Pierini.

The series continued with a Memorial Day program, May 25, at the Escondido Garden Apartments, North Midway Drive, Escondido, with American roots and country music by Gemini Junction.

Access for Seniors program with Gemini Junction, Escondido Garden Apartments

Then a coffee hour on June 4 at Sorrento Tower Apartments, Cowley Way, San Diego, with Will Marsh performing “Lutes of the World” on guitar, Indian sitar, and Persian setar.

Access for Seniors program with Will Marsh, Sorrento Tower

Residents of St. John’s Plaza Apartments, Lemon Grove, enjoyed another coffee hour on June 13. This event featured Latin/Cuban music with drummer and CWM teaching artist Mark Lamson and guitarist Israel Maldonado.

Access for Senior program with Mark Lamson, St. John's Plaza

Finally, the season ended with a social at Guadalupe Plaza, San Diego, on July 2, featuring African American spirituals by Delores Fisher, member of the CWM’s Artistic Board.

Access for Seniors program with Delores Fisher, Guadalupe Plaza

Ari Honarvar Transformation Through Word and Rhythm

Evening Edition, KPBS Public Television, June 29, 2018

Please take a look at this fine KPBS video report on the CWM’s June 21, World Music Day program Songs and Stories: Transformation Through Rhythm & Word.

Refugee communities from Iran and Irag participated in this event at the City Heights/Weingart Library and Performance Annex. The event was part of the CWM’s 2018 series Songs and Stories: Refugee Artists from San Diego.

The video report was produced by Mika Kanke and Brian Meyers at Media Arts Center San Diego, with help from Speak City Heights. Thanks to them as well as to the crew at our favorite television station, KPBS, along with our friends at the San Diego Public Library.

Sri Rudraprasad Swain

This month we say farewell to Sri Rudraprasad Swain, our resident teacher for the past six months from the Orissa Dance Academy in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. His presence in the Center for World Music’s Odissi Dance School will be deeply missed.

Sri Rudraprasad Swain began study of Odissi dance at a tender age of five. At age fifteen he joined the Orissa Dance Academy and trained under legendary Guru Gangadhar Pradhan. He was further refined into a versatile and dynamic dancer under Guru Smt. Aruna Mohanty. He has participated in prestigious programs around the world—in Thailand, Germany, Europe, and United States—his most memorable performance being at the International Odissi Festival.

During his second residency with the Center for World Music Sri Rudraprasad Swain directed performances and workshops across San Diego County. He taught over forty students ages 5-50.  He produced fourteen performances and two workshops, spreading his passion for Odissi through the classroom and on the stage.  He challenged his students and gave them the confidence to learn Odissi and perform on stage both in solo and group programs.

On behalf of the Odissi Dance School, we wish Sri Rudraprasad Swain farewell and a special thank you for his dedication and commitment, for sharing his passion for Odissi with his students, and for giving us the opportunity to learn a beautiful dance form. We hope that, as he continues his journey in dance as a teacher and performer, his dreams come true. We look forward to his return for another residency.

See Sri Rudraprasad Swain perform on YouTube.

– Reni Biswas, Program Coordinator of the CWM Odissi Dance School

Mark Lamson Teaching

Toda Criança Pode Aprender (“Every Child Can Learn”), the blog of the Brazilian NGO Laboratório de Educação (“Education Laboratory”), published a fine article on the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program. Here’s a translation:

What do children think about contact with music from other cultures?

October 30, 2017

This article is part of the series: What children think about . . .

Discover the children’s point of view about learning songs from other countries!

In 1963, the Center for World Music was created in San Diego, a nonprofit organization that promotes meetings and presentations by artists from different cultures with the goal of broadening social awareness of diversity.

Over time, the children’s audience became part of the project’s focus and integrated into the curriculum of some schools in San Diego County. The idea was to invest in the education of children so that they could learn from a young age about music, but mainly about the diversity and richness of contact with different cultures. (Read more about the musical experience and development of the child by clicking here and here.)

The Center for World Music has also posted an interesting video that shows the children’s point of view about interacting with instruments, artists and songs from diverse backgrounds! It is worth viewing:

[Transcript:]

What do you love abou music class?

“I like to have the experience of listening to and playing music from other countries.”

What have you learned?

“I learned to play different instruments, from gamelan to the ukulele.”

What do you like best in music class?

“I like to learn new melodies and how to use new instruments like gamelan. It’s cool!”

What do you like best in music class?

“I love having the chance to use different instruments that other schools do not use.”

What did you learn?

“I’ve learned that practice makes almost perfect, never to full perfection, but it helps a lot, because you will not always get it at first.”

“It really brings out the best in you because you really need to do your best and focus on music.”

To learn more about the project, we also recommend listening to the Center for World Music’s executive director, Monica Emery:

[Transcript:]

“The Center for World Music started in 1963, and at that time we were primarily focused on adult audiences. Then we quickly realized that children were the future, and so now we reach 5,000 students across San Diego County. We teach world music in the classrooms because we want to create a society that is more open, accepting, and compassionate. In 1999, we launched our World Music in the Schools program, to bring hands-on world music education into the San Diego classroom. This program is not just about music, this is about children learning through music about themselves and the world around them. We bring master artists and musical instruments from around the world into to the classroom, so children have a hands-on experience with these instruments and the cultures from which they come. If you want to be part of this transformational program, visit us at www.centerforworldmusic.org.”

Here’s where you can learn more about World Music in the Schools!

 

Poway World Music Students

The San Diego Union Tribune, October 21, 2017

Persian master musician and CWM teaching artist Kourosh Taghavi is teaching at Highland Ranch Elementary School in Poway this fall. The class is part of the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program, which has been reaching students in San Diego since 1999.

UT reporter Deborah Sullivan Brennan visited Highland Ranch and attended a third-grade class conducted by Kourosh. She was impressed with what she saw and heard:

This semester, students will learn classical Persian music, Brazilian Capoeira and Eastern and Western folk dances. In the Spring, they’ll study Zulu percussion, Zimbabwean songs, and Brazilian Samba. It’s a good mix for a campus where the students hail from all corners of the globe.

Kourosh Taghavi at Poway

Kouroush Taghavi teaches a song while playing the Persian setar. UT Photo by Don Boomer.

Reflecting on the diversity of languages and cultures represented at Highland Ranch, Mr. Taghavi said:

Music makes you a kinder person. I hope they become more gentle people, more understanding, and with open eyes, ready to experience the world that is before them. I think they will become more content when they know about each other.

The students seem to agree!

Read the full story at SanDiegoUnionTribune.com. A great tribute to having world music in our schools!