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Mark Lamson: Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian Drumming

The Center for World Music would like to recognize Mark Lamson for his  dedication as an outstanding teaching artist in residence for World Music in the Schools.

Mark LamsonCenter for World Music teaching artist Mark Lamson is a highly acclaimed percussionist, ensemble director, recording artist, producer, educator, and one of San Diego’s best-recognized authorities on Cuban and Brazilian drumming and percussion. As a valued instructor in our World Music in the Schools program, he has taught the exciting rhythms of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian drumming, communicating concepts in music, math, collaboration, and culture to hundreds of San Diego school children in his classes.

Mark has seven recordings and countless performances to his credit. He is known for his professionalism, expertise, and experience in playing a broad range of musical styles, and for assembling ensembles featuring top-notch talent. While Mark’s repertoire includes R&B, rock, Latin jazz, New Orleans brass band, funk, and hip hop, his true passion lies in fusing the popular and traditional music of Brazil and Cuba, with modern American and Latin American styles.

Based in San Diego, California, Mark is the director and lead percussionist for Sol e Mar, a dynamic Brazilian/Latin music collective which he co-founded in 1985. Sol e Mar can deploy anywhere from 3 to 50 performers, ranging from a bossa nova jazz trio to a full drum bateria replete with Brazilian samba dancers in full Carnaval regalia. In 1994, Sol e Mar won “Best Latin Band” at the Second Annual San Diego Music Awards.

Mark Lamson at Bird RockMark is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University and has also taught at Santa Clara University in San Jose, California, at California State University Long Beach, and at Palomar College. He is a sought-after workshop leader and lecturer, and has been invited to teach and speak at institutions of learning across the United States and around the world.

Check out Mark’s website at https://marklamson.com/.

Garit Imhoff, Musician and Storyteller

The Center for World Music would like to recognize Garit Imhoff for his years of dedication as an outstanding teaching artist in residence for the World Music in the Schools program.

Garit in the Garden

Garit Imhoff is a professional mbira player, teacher, and all-around performer, specializing in storytelling and movement. He is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and has participated in world music ensembles for over forty-five years. He has studied and performed traditional Zimbabwean music extensively, both in the United States and in Zimbabwe, and has studied the traditional music, puppetry, and cultures of Java and Bali in Indonesia. Mr. Imhoff learned and practiced Zimbabwean music under the tutelage of many great teachers including Ephat Mujuru, Jacob Mafuleni, Stella Chiweshe, Tute Chigamba, Irene Chigamba, and Musekiwa Chingodza.  As one of its cofounders, Mr. Imhoff is an active performing member of Zimbeat, a professional San Diego-based music ensemble that specializes in the traditional and popular music of Zimbabwe.  He is also a performing member of Kembang Sunda, a San Diego-based traditional west Javanese gamelan orchestra.

Zimbabwe DayIn 2013 Mr. Imhoff was awarded a grant through the Artist Outreach Project of the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation–funding to support teaching children in Encinitas at the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito. The Center for World Music partnered with the Picerne Foundation and Ticha Muzavazi, instrument builders and teacher of students with disabilities in Zimbabwe, to develop specially made small-sized Zimbabwean mbiras that could be easily played by young children. The resulting year-long project subsequently developed into Center for World Music classes in public and private primary schools throughout the County of San Diego.

Mbira Students

Combining storytelling, dance, and singing to engage his students, Mr. Imhoff has been using the small-sized mbiras to instruct San Diego K-12 children in the compelling traditions of Zimbabwe. His music classes in the schools are supported by grants from the California Arts Council, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the local San Diego community.

Stefanie Schmitz — Brazilian Music and Rhythms

Congratulations to Stefanie Schmitz, Teaching Artist for the World Music in the Schools program, for winning a grant from Rising Arts Leaders to attend the Teaching Artist Institute.

Multi-instrumentalist musical artist and teacher Stefanie Schmitz has been exploring the San Diego music scene since 2001. Her talents span an eclectic range of genres including jazz, classical, samba, choro, funk, musical theatre, playing the clarinet, tenor saxophone, Brazilian percussion, and more. Stefanie attended the University of California San Diego where she received bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and in French Language Studies.Stefanie Schmitz She directs and performs with a number of San Diego-based music groups, including Choro Sotaque, Super Sonic Samba School, the Zicas, and Restoration One. She shares the same knowledge and enthusiasm she exhibits as a band leader with her students, teaching private and group lessons on clarinet, saxophone, and percussion to students over a range of ages and ability levels. As a teaching artist for the Center for World Music, she also works in school classrooms, sharing her passion for Brazilian rhythm with San Diego area K–12 students.


RALSD LogoUnder the sponsorship of the Center for World Music, Stefanie was selected in November 2015 to participate in the Teaching Artist Institute, a professional development program offered by Arts for Learning, an affiliate of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning. For a working musician who collaborates with schools as a teaching artist, this program is of tremendous value. Stefanie was awarded a matching grant from Rising Arts Leaders of San Diego to support her participation in the Teaching Artist Institute.

 

“In addition to learning about child development, lesson planning, and classroom management, I am connecting with other local teaching artists and developing my own personal mission statement as a performer, learner, and teacher. I’m looking forward to sharing my new energy and ideas with my students!”


Stefanie’s love affair with Brazilian music began when she took a samba drumming class. She started San Diego’s first choro group Choro Sotaque in 2009, performing traditional Brazilian folk music on clarinet. The group recorded its debut CD in 2015, which is available for purchase at chorosotaque.bandcamp.com. Stefanie has also performed with and led the community based Brazilian drum and dance group Super Sonic Samba School — a group which performs regularly for festivals and events around San Diego. Stefanie Schmitz MarchingStefanie seeks out her yearly fix of new inspiration at California Brazil Camp — a weeklong music and dance camp in the redwoods of Sonoma County. In 2013 she left her staff position at UC San Diego to embark on a six-month musical odyssey to Brazil, where she absorbed Brazilian language and culture, and studied with masters of samba and choro in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Olinda, and Jericoacoara.

As an associate artist for Lamb’s Players Theatre, Stefanie has played in the orchestras for several musicals, most recently in West Side Story. She also plays saxophone for the eclectic funk/rock/reggae band Restoration One, which was nominated for a 2014 San Diego Music Award. Most recently, she can be seen playing and singing with the Zicas, a new Brazilian music project.

When Stefanie is not playing music or teaching, you will find her making art, tap dancing, practicing yoga, or singing in her car. She blogs about her musical adventures at Everything Is Music, stefanieschmitz.blogspot.com, and she sells her original handmade jewelry in San Diego coffee shops and on Etsy.

Check out Stefanie’s website at www.stefanieschmitz.net for her upcoming performance schedule or to sign up for her mailing list.

Read Stefanie’s articles on the agogô and tamborim.

The Brazilian Tamborim

This article is one in a series of reports on the fascinating variety of musical instruments that audience members encounter through Center for World Music programs.

Stefanie TamborimThe tamborim is a Brazilian drum of Portuguese and African origin. It is a small handheld frame drum used in samba, pagode, bossa nova, choro, and other Brazilian folk rhythms. It is typically made of a metal frame with a nylon or plastic head, although it can also be made of wood or plastic with an animal skin head. Because of the similarity between their names, it is often confused with the tambourine, a frame drum with metal jingles around the perimeter found in much music around the world, including the United States. The tamborim can also be confused with the pandeiro, the Brazilian version of the tambourine. Unlike the tambourine, however, the tamborim has no jingles and is played with a wooden stick, a finger, or a bundle of long flexible nylon rods that strike the head all at once. It typically plays a punctuated syncopated pattern that fits with the other interlocking rhythms in an ensemble.

TamborimIn a Brazilian Samba School setting, metal frame/nylon head tamborins (plural spelling) are played with the bundled-nylon rod baqueta. The resulting sound is a loud, high-pitch “CRACK” that cuts through the din of the other drums, making ear plugs a necessity. The tamborins in the Samba School maintain the underlying groove of the samba rhythm by playing carreteiro, which in Western musical terms is a constant series of 16th-notes played with a Brazilian “swing.” They manage to keep up with the rapid samba tempos by flipping the drum up and down so that the striking hand is not doing all of the work. When the tamborins are not playing carreteiro, they are playing desenhos (“designs”) which are unique rhythmic patterns that give the samba a special personality. Each Samba School has its own unique desenhos that are sometimes accompanied by choreographed movement. This instrument creates an exciting transition when the Samba School starts up, and a few moments later the tamborins make their big entrance and take the music to the next level!

— Stefanie Schmitz, World Music in the Schools Teaching Artist

Listen and see examples of the tamborim:

Choro Sotaque, Stefanie’s choro group (listen for the tamborim during the first 30 seconds)
Mocidade Samba School tamborim section
Tamborim demo

 

Marie Hayes

Marie Hayes Sings Traditional Music from the Balkans and Beyond

The Center for World Music would like to welcome Marie Hayes to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, joining our World Music in the Schools program.

Marie Hayes has been singing Balkan harmony music ever since she attended a Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble concert in Oakland in 1990. There were ten woman on the stage, elbows linked in a semi-circle, singing the most captivating music she had ever heard. She was also struck by the rich, refined choral style of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, whose music initially amazed her. Ultimately, it was this exciting and expressive nature of the “village voice” sound that drew her in.

It wasn’t long before she found friends in San Diego who wanted to join her. Their quartet, Harmonija, whose motto was “Harmony Music from the Balkans and Beyond,” entertained people for the next decade. They performed at coffee houses and parties, and gave many concerts for San Diego Folk Heritage, often teaching workshops at that organization’s annual music festival. Marie performed for ten years singing and playing percussion with Eastern Exposure, a Balkan dance band that played live music for folk dancers all over Southern California. She has recently formed a new a cappella vocal group, Trio Zheni, with singers Mary Ann Downs and Stacey Barnett.

As a teacher of Balkan singing, Marie’s main goal is to help students learn to listen to each other and work together to produce a sound they can be really proud of—and feel the thrill of hitting a perfect chord that makes the whole room ring.

Marie takes workshops and private lessons regularly from world-renowned singing teachers sponsored by the Eastern European Folklife Center. These include Bulgarians Donka Koleva, Tatiana Sarbinska, and Iliana Božanova, UCLA Balkan Choir Director Tsvetanka Varimezova (and her daughter Tanya), Bosnian Mirjana Lausevič, and Macedonian Esma Redžepova. She has also studied with American master teachers such as Mary Sherhart and Michelle Simon for Balkan singing, Canadian Brenna MacCrimmon for Turkish singing, Christos Govetas for Greek singing, and Polly Tapia Ferber for doumbek (drum) and frame drum. Because Balkan rhythms are varied and sometimes quite complicated, she finds that a knowledge of drumming is essential.

Marie has a degree in sociolinguistics from UCSD, where she also studied music. She has taught English as a Second Language at Miramar College, been a tutor for the Laubach Literacy program, and spent seven happy years as a teacher at Mission Bay Montessori Academy, where she loved teaching music and movement to the preschoolers in her class.

Photograph by Steve Gould

Hawking Tabla Class Video

North Indian Percussion at Hawking Charter School

Our friends at the Stephen W. Hawking Charter School have just posted a nice video showing their World Music in the Schools students engaged in the rhythms of North Indian tabla. Under the direction of Miles Shrewsbery, tabla master and CWM teaching artist, they seem to be having quite a bit of fun.

The World Music in the Schools tabla program has been going strong at the Hawking Charter School since August 2013.

On YouTube:

Turn the Music Off

Why It’s Time to Turn the Pop Music Off

Worried and/or stressed by “pop pollution” in our environment? British philosopher Roger Scruton offers some interesting thoughts on the ubiquity of pop music in our culture for the BBC News Magazine’s “A Point of View”:

 Rhythm, which is the sound of life, has been largely replaced by electrical pulses, produced by a machine programmed to repeat itself ad infinitum, and to thrust its booming bass notes into the very bones of the victim. Whole areas of civic space in our society are now policed by this sound, which drives anybody with the slightest feeling for music to distraction. . . . The banal melodies and mechanical rhythms, the stock harmonies recycled in song after song, these things signify the eclipse of the musical ear.

But there’s hope:

The addictive ear, dulled by repetition, is shut tight as a clam around its pointless treasures. But you can prise it open with musical instruments. Put a young person in a position to make music and not just to hear it and immediately the ear begins to recover from its lethargy. By teaching children to play musical instruments, we acquaint them with the roots of music in human life.

For more, read on here.

Andrea Hernandez — Balinese Gamelan Angklung

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.

Javanese Gamelan at SDFAS

CWM Awarded $11.4K Grant from CAC for World Music in the Schools

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

The Center Welcomes Gamelan Artist Hirotaka Inuzuka to World Music in the Schools

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