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Hardanger Fiddle

World Music Instrument: The Hardanger Fiddle

We continue our series of reports on the fascinating variety of world music instruments with an article about the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle.

Hardanger Fiddle

Illustration by Paul Johnson

The fiddle is one of the most common instruments, found in one form or another in nearly every part of the world. It is best known today as the violin, which found its present form in sixteenth-century Italy.

Other bowed instruments have emerged in a range of cultures from Iceland to India. One of the most charming, both in the auditory and the visual sense, is the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle (also known as the hardingfele). This close cousin of the violin developed in the Hardanger district of western Norway, southeast of the port city of Bergen. It was developed by makers who probably combined aspects of the old Norse fiðla with the viola d’amore, one of the relatives of the violin. It seems to have first appeared in the 1600s, and quickly became popular throughout the region. Isak Neilsen Skaar and his son Trond Isaksen were two well-known early makers of the instrument. During the period from 1825 to 1875, the Helland family of Telemark brought the fiddle to its highest point of development. Jon Erikson Helland and his sons Erik Johnsen Helland and Ellef Johnsen Steinkjøndalen brought an exceptional degree of craftsmanship and artistic ability to their fiddlemaking, and incorporated a number of worthy improvements.

Several features make this instrument distinctive to Norway: the use of eight strings (only four of which are played with the bow; the other four vibrate sympathetically), the dragon’s head in place of a scroll, the overlapping f-holes, and the lavish use of inlay and decoration. Many fiddles have elegant floral drawings covering their surfaces, and often the peghead is detailed with gold leaf. There are also important structural differences, among them a lack of interior linings, very small corner blocks, and a bass bar which is carved into, not glued to, the sound board. The fingerboard and bridge are often nearly flat, allowing the player to bow more than two strings at a time.

The hardingfele is played in a variety of tunings; among them the common violin tuning GDAE (low to high) with the sympathetic strings tuned DEGA. Another is ADAE with DEF#A. The sympathetic strings give this fiddle’s sound a delightful coloration, with dark, shimmering undertones.

The folk fiddling of Norway draws one back to a simpler time, to a time of hard work at the loom or in the forests and fjords, of long winter evenings spent singing around the central fireplace, and of solemn processions and joyous wedding feasts with family gathered from afar.

A video of Sindre Vatnehol playing the Hardanger fiddle

For more information on recordings, performances, instruments, and strings, visit the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America at http://www.hfaa.org.

Jonathan Parker  is the World Music in the Schools program director for the Center for World Music.

This article appeared in slightly different form in the November 1989 issue of the San Diego Folk Heritage journal Folk Notes.

World Music Instrument: The Jarana Jarocha

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

Jarana Three SizesThe jarana is an eight-string, five course instrument typically used in son jarocho music from Veracruz, Mexico. This style is also called música de cuerdas or son abajeño in other areas within the larger region of Mexico known as the Sotavento. The first and fifth courses of the jarana are single strings, while the second, third, and fourth courses typically consist of double strings. The most common tuning is G C E A G. The jarana, like many other stringed instruments in the Americas, is a Mexican adaptation of the Spanish vihuela.

There are typically several different sizes of the jarana, often played together, and sometimes using different tunings within the same ensemble. The three sizes of jarana shown in the photo are called tercera, segunda, and primera.

Luthiers (lauderos) carve the body, neck, and peghead of the jarana out of a single block of wood, with a thin soundboard glued to the front. Mexican cedar is the traditional material used in making these instruments, although woods such as mango, walnut, and others have more recently been used. For tuning, friction pegs made from a harder wood (much like those on a violin) are commonly fitted. The strings, formerly gut, are now made from nylon.

— Eduardo García teaches jarana as an artist-in-residence for the Center for World Music, and is a professor in the Visual and Performing Arts Department at California State University San Marcos.

The CWM uses jaranas in its World Music in the Schools program made by Victor Francisco Siono: Taller de Lauderia. Guitarras de Son, Marimboles y Jaranas Victor Siono

Watch luthier Caramino Utrera Luna make a jarana.

Some video examples of jarana playing:
https://youtu.be/7hcIH-5nVug
https://youtu.be/H6Y4HmSDTXs

 

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 http://marklamson.com/.

To see Mark perform with Sol e Mar visit their website for a list of their upcoming performances. http://solemarevents.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 San Diego Rising Arts Leaders 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.

World Music Instrument: The Brazilian Tamborim

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

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.