The Center for World Music would like to give a warm welcome to Andrea Hernandez, who has recently joined our World Music in the Schools roster of teaching artists in residence.

Andrea Hernandez

Andrea’s vibrant creativity comes from growing up in a large family of singers, musicians, dancers, writers, and artists. Her imaginative home life inspired her to actively pursue all of these arts from a very young age. She grew up drawing, painting, writing, singing, dancing, and playing every instrument she could get her hands on. She has performed Balet Folclórico (traditional dance of all regions of Mexico) since she could first walk, and continues to do so to this day. Her insatiable curiosity and appetite to learn has persisted, as she continues to study many different arts including guitar, piano, drums, flamenco, and capoeira. When she first heard the Indonesian gamelan, she was naturally drawn to it because of its complex musical rhythms.

Andrea was introduced to gamelan while working at the Museum School in 2003 and has been in love with it ever since. She has studied and performed with many teachers including Dr. Alex Khalil, Putu Hiranmayena, Tyler Yamin, Djoko Walujo, and Made Lasmawan. Her primary focus has been Balinese gamelan angklung, but she has also studied Javanese gamelan, gender, and Indonesian dance under Wuri Wimboprasetyo.

Andrea is a member of the USD Gamelan Ensemble, Gunung Mas, and performs with them on a regular basis. At USD, her enthusiasm for learning and playing is almost unmatched and her participation is very much appreciated. She has taught beginning and intermediate gamelan angklung at the Museum School for about 10 years. Andrea is determined to continue developing her abilities and teaching skills so she can help her students find the inspiration to be creative in their daily lives.

We are happy to welcome Ilana Queiroz as a teaching artist in the Center’s World Music in the Schools program. Originally from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, Ilana is currently teaching capoeira—an art form that combines music, dance, and acrobatics—to second grade students at the San Diego French American School. Having taught since 2000 at more than a dozen schools in the San Diego area, Ilana brings a wealth of teaching experience to World Music in the Schools. Outside of California, Ilana taught Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms in Andalucia, Spain, during the years 2004 and 2005. She participates in the Ginga Mundo Capoeira group, and plays percussion professionally with ensembles in many styles. Her most recent musical project is a duo called Bossa Lounge Project, a fusion of Bossa Nova and contemporary Brazilian music.

Ilana Queiroz 3A trained anthropologist, Ilana has a profound interest in culture. She began teaching capoeira because she noticed that this practice had begun to spread all over the world, but that, in the process, the focus on the history, lyrics, meaning, and purpose of the art form was being lost. Ilana loves to use music and dance as an approach to history, and as an anthropologist, she sees capoeira as an excellent vehicle for teaching inclusion and community involvement. As a mother, she ensures the lessons are accessible by children of all ages and learning styles.

 

Capoeira for me is a complete art. It teaches timing, spatial perception, eye contact, respect, community, and partnership. It teaches children to be courageous and to try new activities in different disciplines. Capoeira encourages movement which allows kids to literally see the world from another perspective—doing cart wheels, hand and head stands.

 

Ilana Queiroz 2

In her experience as a teacher, Ilana finds that capoeira encompasses so many aspects of learning that each child can find a favorite element in the art to focus on. Her capoeira class consists of stretches, warm up (often with games related to the history or movements learned), and technique (kicks, dodges, timing, and dance sequences). Musically, she teaches rhythm and various instruments through capoeira songs. Children learn how to play the agogô, pandeiro, atabaque (drum), reco-reco, caxixi and sometimes the berimbau. Every instrument has a different feel and technique, contributing to distinct musical patterns. The students develop the ability to work in harmony with each other and multitask through capoeira’s style of call-and-response. The lyrics are in Portuguese, so students have a chance to learn songs in a new language, bringing the students a new linguistic experience. Some lyrics are very old and simple, reflecting a certain time in the past, so Ilana uses this opportunity to tell the story about what life was like for these songwriters and dancers. In this way she is able to integrate language, geography, history, and movement into her lessons.

Ilana Queiroz 4Ilana’s teaching philosophy is to facilitate contact with the culture, develop a sense of community, and to encourage familiarity of the capoeira player with his or her own body. She also sees great value in exposure to rhythm, the native language, and different instruments. Most especially, she tries to teach her students that happiness is the fuel for a healthy life.

 

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of world music instruments with an article by Jonathan Parker.

15th century bagpipe painting in Härkeberga Church (photo Olle Gällmo)

15th century bagpipe painting in Härkeberga Church

When we think of bagpipes, most of us envision the Scottish Great Highland warpipes played by brawny, kilted men with red moustaches, marching in echelon. Indeed, the Highland pipes are known the world over, due to the regiments of Scots sent throughout the British empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. What few people recognize is that this instrument is only one of a very large family of musical instruments, played in dozens of countries. There are bagpipes from India, Persia, Bulgaria, North Africa, Russia, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Spain, Estonia, Poland, and Germany, to name a few. Many countries even have several; France has at least ten, and Scotland has no less than three distinctly different types. Altogether more than one hundred kinds of bagpipes exist, each with its own performance tradition and repertoire.

Today we’ll take a look at one of the farthest-flung of these, the Swedish säckpipa. As with many varieties of bagpipe, this humble instrument was played largely in the rural parts of the country. One early depiction of a bagpipe in Sweden is from around 1480, in a painting by Albertus Pictor in Härkeberga church in Uppland, although the form of the instrument he depicted suggests that its origin may be different from the surviving historical examples of the säckpipa. Also played for dancing, the säckpipa harmonizes well with the fiddle, but it was usually played as a solo instrument. It is mouth blown, having but one drone and a chanter with a compass of eight notes. Known in different parts of Sweden as dråmba, koppe, posu, or bälgpipa, its sound is quite sweet and about the same volume as a fiddle, making it an agreeable indoor instrument.

Säckpipa made by Leif Eriksson (drawing Paul Johnson)

Säckpipa made by Leif Eriksson

Instrument makers constructed the pipes from birch wood, with a calfskin bag, and sparingly decorated it with hand-carved ornaments. The reeds were made from Phragmites australis, the common pond reed, harvested in the winter and chopped out of the ice. Some early examples also have a second “dummy” drone, which is not drilled and has no reed. The säckpipa seems to be most closely related to the Eastern European bagpipes of Bulgaria and Macedonia, with a cylindrical chanter bore and reeds of the single blade type. This should not be too surprising, considering that Scandinavians traded, battled, and marauded all the way down to Constantinople, in what is now Turkey.

The säckpipa has recently undergone a rebirth, having been taken up by many young musicians over the last few decades. The last piper, or pösuspelman, in an unbroken tradition was Gudmunds Nils Larsson of llbäcken in Dala-Järna, who died in 1949. Fiddler Per Gudmundson, at the urging of Gunnar Ternhag of the Dalarnas Museum in Falun, decided in 1981 to reconstruct the instrument and its musical repertoire. Woodworker Leif Eriksson was asked to help, and he and Gudmundson replicated the instrument based on examples found in museum collections. Together they worked out the details, and built a working set of pipes. Per went on to research the available written and recorded music, taught himself to play the instrument, and recorded an album in 1983 which has become a classic volume, Per Gudmundson: Säckpipa. This LP was rereleased in CD format in August 2015 on Caprice Records.

The author and his pipes (drawing Paul Johnson)

The author and his pipes

Since its revival in 1981, a number of other makers have begun building this instrument, and there are now hundreds of active players in many countries. For more information about this instrument and how it has developed since this revival, visit Olle Gällmo’s säckpipa website.

Video links: Polska Efter Nedergårds Lars, solo säckpipa | Polska Från Säfsnäs, fiddle and säckpipa

— Jonathan Parker is the World Music in the Schools program director for the Center for World Music, and has played the säckpipa since 1986. Illustrations are by Paul Johnson; Olle Gällmo provided the photo from Härkeberga church and other valuable support.

This article appeared in slightly different form in the September 1990 issue of the San Diego Folk Heritage journal Folk Notes.

Javanese Gamelan at SDFAS

On July 16, 2015 the California Arts Council (CAC) announced the investment of more than $4 million in arts education across the state. The Center for World Music is one of fifteen San Diego-based arts organizations to be funded through the CAC Artists in Schools grant program. The Center will receive $11,400 in support for World Music in the Schools, a program that integrates world music and dance into arts learning for San Diego students.

The CWM will use the grant to support four year-long, in-depth residencies providing instruction by professional native/native trained teaching artists in four selected K-8 San Diego area schools. Traditional music and dance from India, Africa, Iran, and Indonesia will be represented. Weekly classes will be offered to both beginning and advanced students. All classes will be hands-on, providing group dance and music lessons.

“This program is deeply appreciated by schools and students, and in high demand,” said Monica Emery, the Center’s executive director. “It is especially important in an environment in which funding for arts education has been drastically cut.” Emery cited studies demonstrating the positive effects of music education on self-esteem, discipline, and academic achievement.

For further information, contact Monica Emery, executive director, 619.363.3007.

Download the Center for World Music press release.

Hirotaka Inuzuka

We extend a warm welcome to Hirotaka Inuzuka, who joins World Music in the Schools as a teaching artist. Hirotaka will be Balinese gamelan instructor at the San Diego French American school, beginning this fall.

A specialist in Indonesian gamelan music, Hirotaka began playing Balinese gamelan during his undergraduate studies in Ethnomusicology at UCLA. He continued to deepen his knowledge of Indonesian music and dance at California Institute of the Arts under the mentorship of I Nyoman Wenten, where he earned his MFA in World Music Performance. He continues to travel to Bali regularly to expand his expertise and study with Bali’s most renowned artists and teachers.

Currently Hirotaka is a prominent member of many gamelan groups in the greater Los Angeles area, such as Burat Wangi, Pandan Arum, and Bhuwana Kumala. He has performed in the United States, Japan, and Bali, participating in events such as the Bali Arts Festival and Bali Mandara Mahalango. In October of 2014, he played as part of Performing Indonesia at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Hirotaka has taught gamelan privately, as well as at workshops and community classes in Southern California, including the “Music of Bali” series at Art Share LA in 2014 and at Glendale Community College in 2015. In 2014, he established Sekaa Gambuh Los Angeles, a group dedicated to play the music of Gambuh dance drama. Facing extinction due to Bali’s modernization, Gambuh is one of the oldest surviving Balinese dance forms.

With his focus on teaching and performing gamelan music, Hirotaka has opened his own community gamelan studio in Tujunga, California, where he teaches and trains new players in order to further the preservation and performance of gamelan music in North America.

See Hirotaka Inuzuka on YouTube: Interview and Profile | Hirotaka’s YouTube Home Page

One of the most important things students do in Miles Shrewsbery’s music classes at the Museum School and at Hawking Charter School is take off their shoes.

This is no ordinary music class. An American tabla artist and teaching artist for the Center for World Music, Miles instructs students grades K–6 how to play a North Indian percussion instrument called the tabla. An essential part of studying the tabla, like many traditional world music instruments, is the passing on of the symbolic meaning and special significance of the instrument and its cultural origins. Miles teaches the geography of North India, its language, and the stories about the history and masters of the instrument. Students also learn the various customs surrounding this musical tradition.

“These elements are inseparable from the music. The context of music is what creates the unique feelings and expressions from a given culture,” says Miles.

MIles SchoolMiles teaches his students that playing the tabla is more than the physical act of playing the drums. It’s also about understanding a worldview — something that Miles came to realize through his own study of the tabla in India and the US.

From the moment Miles first heard the tabla at age 17, “it was love at first sound.” He had an immediate connection with the instrument, even though he knew nothing about India and its culture.

Miles’ teachers, Abhiman Kaushal and Pandit Nandkumar Bhatlouande of Hyderabad, India, educated him about the rich context in which the tabla originates. “In addition to practicing, I studied the language, values and the cultural practices. For example, I learned about respect  and responsibility for one’s family, one’s teacher and to the tradition of the tabla — the whole interchange.”

Removing your shoes before playing the tabla is one of the practices Miles encourages in his students. He explains, “we remove our shoes just before playing the tabla. Why? On the practical side, most activities in India are traditionally done sitting crossed legged on the ground, so this is a way of keeping the space clean. On the spiritual side of things, the idea comes from within Indian music. We believe that the instrument is a pathway to God, so in a sense, removing your shoes signifies both respect and cleanliness to the instrument and what it represents. We also never step over the instrument, much like the Indonesian gamelan, because it is disrespectful to show the bottom of one’s feet toward something as sacred as an instrument.”

The students of the Museum School and Hawking Charter School are exposed to many of the most important skills, knowledge, and wisdom Miles has gained from his years of dedication to the tabla. Each student is now part of a long continuum of musicians who have passed down the artform within one of the oldest musical traditions in the world. Not bad for an elementary school music class.

“We really underestimate how much children can register when it comes to developing a broader cultural understanding,” Miles says. “I’m always amazed at how much children can master, both at the level of playing the instrument and of understanding the cultural nuances of the tradition. I wish adults were such quick studies!”

 

Profile picMiles Shrewsbery is an American tabla artist and disciple of Sri Abhiman Kaushal and Pandit Nandkumar Bhatlouande of Hyderabad, India, as well as a co-owner of Avaaz Records. Miles is trained in the Farukhabad Gharana of his teachers and is a respected performer of its rich, aesthetic repertoire through his years of dedicated study and practice. Miles has performed all over the world in prestigious venues such as the Symphony Space (New York City), Smithsonian Museum (Washington D.C.), Tokyo Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo, Japan), Royal Horticultural Hall (London, England), and St. Paul Cathedral (New York City). He has performed with top musicians such as Shujaat Khan, Deepak Ram, Googoosh, Cheap Trick, and Yusef Lateef. Some notable soundtracks and recordings where Miles’ tabla and percussion can be found are: Sinbad (Dreamworks 2003), The Rundown (Columbia 2003), The Riches (FX 2007), Yusef Lateef and Adam Rudolph – Into the Garden (Meta Records 2003), Dave Stringer – Divas and Devas (Spirit Voyage 2007), and Dave Stringer – Yatra (Silenzio 2011). In 2004, Miles earned a B.A. in ethnomusicology from UCLA, and in 2009, he earned an M.A. in ethnomusicology from UCR. In 2012 Miles was awarded the American Institute of Indian Studies’ Senior Performing Arts Fellowship, which supported Miles to further his studies and practice in New Delhi, India for one year. Currently, Miles is a teaching artist in residence for the Center For World Music in San Diego, California.

 

To see video of Miles performing, please visit these links:

Traditional:

House Concert in New Deli, India

Tabla Solo – Delhi Kaida

Contemporary:

Eight Dollar Watermelon

Chasm

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of world music instruments with an article by Curt Bouterse, Ph.D.

The banjo (its city name), or banjer (its traditional country name) is often thought of as a uniquely American musical instrument. And that is true, as far as it goes. But, like almost everything that wasn’t already here before the Europeans landed, its origins lie elsewhere. When Africans were brought to the New World as slaves, they brought the knowledge of a wide variety of instruments with a neck and a body covered with skin. While there were similar ancient instruments elsewhere in the world, it is clear that the African pattern, especially the akonting, from the area of Senegal and the Gambia—even its style of playing—was the inspiration for the evolution of the banjo. The most likely crucible for such development was the Caribbean: the earliest observers and extant examples come from there. One of the distinctive marks of the instrument was the short, high-pitched string played as an intermittent drone.

A painting, before 1790, is perhaps the earliest depiction of the instrument in the United States.

A painting, before 1790, is perhaps the earliest depiction of the instrument in the United States.

Early chroniclers in the United States included Thomas Jefferson, who characterized it as a distinctive instrument of the slaves in Virginia. Somewhere along the way European influences such as tuning pegs and a flat fingerboard were added. Probably for practical reasons, the usual gourd-bodied construction was superseded by a drum-like shell and transformed into its modern form; early 19th century instruments are clearly recognizable as the banjo as we now know it.

A genre painting by William Sidney Mount, 1856, showing its early modern form.

A genre painting by William Sidney Mount, 1856, showing the instrument in its early modern form.

Follow these links to see videos of musicians playing a modern gourd banjo & fiddle, the author playing a small gourd banjo of his own making, the akonting (the banjo’s most likely ancestor), and the ngoni, another West African instrument.

Curt Bouterse, Ph.D. is a member of the Center for World Music’s Advisory Board, and is a historical scholar, organologist, traditional musician, and instrument maker widely respected for his deep knowledge of Early and Medieval Music, World Music, and American Folk Music.

We are pleased to share that Putu Hiranmayena, Balinese gamelan musician and much loved teaching artist for the Center for World Music, will be pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Ethnomusicology in the fall of 2015.

To help bid Putu a happy journey we asked Phil Beaumont, Director of the Museum School and David Harnish, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Music Department, University of San Diego, to write a few words on their experiences working with Putu.

When one walks into the classroom, whether young or old, one can immediately feel the essence of Putu’s passion for Balinese gamelan and, in particular, teaching it to children. HIs smile is contagious, and sets a tone for our students to learn to love the intricate music they play. Putu understands that music is meant to be enjoyed and to be a part of who we are. After teaching students the many possible variations of a piece, he allows them to take ownership as a group and develop their own arrangements for performance. In doing so, he has captured them as musicians, and they can then capture their audience. A true gift.

— Phil Beaumont, Director of the Museum School

 

For me, I Putu Adi Tangkas Hiranmayena just showed up. I had no idea that other parties (e.g., Alex Khalil, The Museum School, the CWM, and his father [I Made Lasmawan]) had played a part in bringing him to San Diego. Putu contacted me out of the blue, told me he was the son of Pak Lasmawan (a good friend), and volunteered to join the USD Gamelan Ensemble, which I had just started the previous year. What a stroke of luck! Putu had not done a lot of work directing ensembles before coming to San Diego, but he was a skilled musician and drummer and knew a number of tunes. I immediately arranged a stipend for him, and later asked that he direct our gamelan (Balinese gamelan angklung), which he did for two years.

I saw him blossom into a fine and dynamic director, adding his own innovative ideas here and there to the repertoire. He communicated well with our students and got everyone excited about playing as he increased the tempo. He also demanded that students play with precision. We at USD will really miss him and I will personally miss him a lot, but I am very proud of his accomplishments and know he will be in good hands at University of Illinois, where he will team with I Ketut Gede Asnawa and the ethnomusicology faculty. His ideas of metal and gamelan and contemporary music may come further to fruition. Hopefully, we will all see him again some day back in San Diego. I intend to visit him in Bali as well and to meet him at ethnomusicological conferences.

— David Harnish, Ph.D., Chair and Professor, Music Department, University of San Diego

 

putuhiranmeyaWe always knew Putu would one day continue his formal education in ethnomusicology and experimental arts academia. The Center for World Music bids him the best in all of his future endeavors, and thanks him for his contributions to our musical and cultural efforts in San Diego.

While pursuing his Ph.D., Putu will continue work in Balinese gamelan, improvisation, and high adrenaline activities. This includes development of theories in embodiment and creative practices. He hopes to start a gamelan ensemble emphasizing real-time composition.

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 berimbau (bee-rim-bau) is a single string percussion instrument, described as a musical bow with African origins. It is the main instrument used to produce the complex rhythms in Brazilian music that accompanies capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. The berimbau consists of a flexible wooden bow called the biriba or verga, a steel string called the arame, and a gourd called cabaça. The berimbau is played with the help of a small, thin stick called the baqueta or vareta, a metal or stone disk called dobrao or pedra, and a caxixi (shaker).

Every part of the berimbau plays a role in the production of the music and rhythm:

Biriba (verga) — The berimbau takes its name from this wooden rod, which is known as the backbone of the instrument. It can be made of many different kinds of wood, but the Brazilian species Eschweilera ovata (Cambess.), of the family Lecythidaceae is considered to be the best material for this part of the instrument.

Arame — Made from a piano string or salvaged from an automobile tire, this steel string has to be strong enough to withstand the tension of the biriba, as well as the battering of the baqueta. Its vibration produces the sound of the berimbau.

Berimbau illustration

Cabaça — Made from a hollowed-out and dried gourd, the cabaça is used to amplify the sound of the arame.

Baqueta — This beater is made from wood, and is used to strike the arame and produce sound.

Dobrão — Usually a coin or flat metal disk, the dobrão is used to vary the sound of the berimbau. When touched against the metal string it produces a higher pitch, and when pulled away from the string the pitch becomes lower. As an alternative to the coin, some players use a small flat stone (pedra).

Caxixi — A small percussion instrument, which consists of a closed basket containing seeds, which is shaken to produce a rhythmic sound. When played with the berimbau, it is held by a loop handle in the same hand as the baqueta, so that it shakes when the baqueta strikes the arame. It is believed that the caxixi summons good spirits, and wards against evil ones.

Berimbau closeupTo assemble the berimbau, the arame is attached to both ends of the biriba and pulled taught, which bends the beriba into its characteristic bow shape. The cabaça is attached to one end of the berimbau with a lace, which also helps the musician support the berimbau with their pinky finger while playing.

There are three sizes of berimbau, often played in an ensemble, and each contributing a different aspect to the music:

Gunga — This instrument has the largest cabaça (gourd) and the most flexible verga, and it produces the lowest pitch.

Médio — This berimbau uses a smaller gourd, with a tone and pitch between that of the gunga and the viola.

Viola — With the smallest gourd, and a less flexible verga, this instrument produces the highest pitch, and is used to add rhythmic fills between the steady rhythm shared by the other berimbaus in the ensemble.

— Claudia Lyra, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist and artistic director of the Brazilian ensemble Nós de Chita

You can view Claudia demonstrating the berimbau on the Center for World Music’s YouTube Channel.

Natasha Kozaily grew up on the small island of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean Sea, 180 miles south of Cuba and 195 miles west of Jamaica. Her parents came from opposite sides of the globe (her mother, a native Cayman Islander, and her father, far from his native Lebanon), resulting in Natasha’s deep love and curiosity for the wide world around her. This can be seen throughout her music, teaching, art, and life.

Natasha has been a teaching artist for the Center’s World Music in the Schools since 2015, when she conducted a 12-week residency teaching Caymanian song and folklore at the San Diego French American School. Natasha has subsequently taught for the CWM at several other schools, including Hearst Elementary and the Museum School, where she also teaches ukulele and songwriting.

A nomad and creative tour de force, Natasha embraces the arts in all its forms. Lover of the stage and theater, she honed her craft at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City where she graduated in 2007. She studied classical piano from the age of seven, and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Cardiff University in Wales, specializing in Ethnomusicology. Her undergraduate ethnomusicology thesis entitled “An Island’s Story: Told through the music of Julia Hydes” is celebrated and treasured as the first and only in-depth writing on Caymanian folk musician and drummer, Miss Julia Hydes (b. 1909, d. 2015). In 2014, Natasha was honored in celebration of Cayman’s National Heroes Day with The Emerging Pioneer Award for her significant contribution to the culture and heritage of the Cayman Islands.

After graduating, Natasha moved to San Diego, California where she now writes, records and performs music under the moniker NATULA. When Natasha is not touring she enjoys sharing the gift of music with others, teaching private piano, ukulele, and voice to students of all ages at Kalabash School of Music and the Arts in the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla. She also teaches various workshops on Caymanian Folk Music and Songwriting to kids and adults in San Diego and abroad. She believes that music is not only a wonderful tool for self-expression, but also a key to understanding ourselves and humanity in this beautifully diverse world we all belong to.