WORLD (PITCH P-200211)
1. FRYD Ensemble JEG SER DEG, O GUDS LAM, Å STÅ
Berit Opheim, voice
Per Jørgensen, trumpet and percussion
Einar Mjølsnes, Hardanger fiddle
Sigbjørn Apeland, harmonium, percussion, voice
Bjørn Kjellemyr, double bass
2. Reza Derakhshani CHARGAH-SHUR
Reza Derakhshani, tar, setar, ney, voice, and percussion
Cameron Hatami, kemancheh
Hearn Gadbois, percussion
3. Frank J. Oteri JUST SALSA
Orlando Fiol, timbales
Jimmy Ordoñez, conga
Henry Fiol, guiro
Jennifer Charles, clave
Frank J. Oteri, synthesizer
Arnoldo Vargas, digital piano
Beth Bloedow, flute
Chris Washburne, trombone
Oren Bloedow, electric bass
4. Traditional American WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN
Mark Rankin, just intonation banjo
5. Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols BEFORE AND AFTER THE TEKKE
Ana Milosavljevic, amplified violin
Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols, electronics and voice
6. Theodosii Spassov SOLO FOR KAVAL
Theodosii Spassov, kaval
Jeg Ser Deg, O Guds Låm, Å Stå is a traditional religious song with lyrics by the Danish bishop and poet Hans A. Brorson (1694-1764). The words refer to the sight of the “Lamb of God” standing on the top of Mount Zion. The piece was performed in just intonation tuning using several traditional Norwegian instruments. The arrangement was made by the performers of the Fryd Ensemble, who live in the Bergen area of Norway. The group is directed by the harmonium player, Sigbjorn Apeland, a church organist and ethnomusicologist, who expresses a clear bias for just intonation favoring traditional Norwegian instruments. The music was recorded directly to 2-tracks without overdubs in Ullensvang Church in Norway during the period of September 3-5, 1998. The engineer was Morten Lindberg and the producer was Asle Karstad. The CD "Fryd" is on Vossajazz Records VJ 98004-2, and is available from Musikkoperatørene, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The rights for the Fryd Ensemble’s recordings are reserved by Tono, ncb.
Reza Derakhshani was commissioned to integrate two different dastgah, which became Chargah-Shur. The trio performance with Cameron Hatami and Hearn Gadbois took place at the New York University Theatre on June 12, 1991 as part of the American Festival of Microtonal Music’s “Global Village Multi-Media” theme. Reza Derakhshani had just moved to New York following a professorship at Tehran University teaching art. Reza Derakhshani: “The strongest points of our music are its freedom to improvise and its ability to express profound emotions and its deep, rich melodic structure. So to me Persian music is a great source of inspiration. But the conditions surrounding our music are not healthy, and so it is not evolving. Wrong attitudes, unhealthy competition and lack of real criticism are all very damaging. Our musicians don't try enough to know about other forms of art, cultures and types of music, which is the key to their growth. New-comers basically copy the generation before out of a confused respect for traditions and this mistake is passed on to the next generation. Concerts are boring and lack basic elements of the art of entertainment. Here and there you see some artistic efforts but there is no fundamental movement to speak of. Creativity is never a priority, its ground rules are never taught, understood or appreciated. Various restrictions by the music establishment make the whole thing worse and the rest is not hard to guess. I respect all those who preserve artistic traditions but they have to realize that the world of art is larger than just what they do. In fact, when traditions become taboos, they lose an important aspect of what makes them artistically valuable. You can't escape yourself, in my case, my “Persianality!” So it's always Persian music I play, but in my own way and according to my own taste. In general I follow new sounds, where ever they take me. I see no boundaries except a foundation of Persian culture. [The biography was drawn from “Nava, Shur, and Blues: Interview with Reza Derakhshani” by Saeed Ganji, Kuwait, June 2005, http://www.tehranavenue.com/.]
Reza Derakhshani was raised near Semnan, a Sangsari speaker, in a small town in the North-Eastern part of the Iran. According to Saeed Ganji, Reza Derakhshani “started painting as soon as he knew how to hold a pencil in his hand, and by the age 12 he was getting paid to paint portraits and do calligraphy. From seventh to eleventh grade he won 5 first prizes in national art competitions. He says that knowing about painting has helped him tremendously with his music, and that he has learned to apply concepts from painting, such as texture, color and composition, to his music. He fell in love with the tar at age 12 after he accidentally heard a tape of Aqa Hoseingholi, a master of Qajar period. But since he could not find or afford a tar or a teacher at the time, he instead started to sing. Finally at the first year of college he had a chance to start studying the tar with Mohammadreza Lotfi. Later he learned other instruments such as setar, ney, kamancheh and guitar.”
Cameron Hatami was born in Brooklyn, New York. He started his informal ethnomusicological training at age 9 annually circumnavigating the earth with his father, whether studying guitar with jazz musician Ted Dunbar, or the kemancheh (Persian spike fiddle) and setar (lute) with Ostad Morteza Varzi. He also studied documentary film making at NYU. His eclectic musical training culminated in degrees from Rutgers and Virginia Commonwealth Universities. Hatami has performed at the United Nations, Lincoln Center, Cooper Union, Cornell, Princeton, Rutgers, Folk City, as well as venues throughout Europe. Hatami’s composition and arrangements incorporate Persian melodies with American blues, country, and jazz genres. Some recordings feature his adapted guitar which utilizes microtonal scales from the setar. A member of Songwriters Guild of America, Music Educators National Conference, and BMI, he publishes and produces compositions for many well known musicians. Hatami collaborates as an educator with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, creating interdisciplinary lessons for music students.
Hearn Gadbois was born in Des Moines, Iowa, into a family of visual artists. He started playing blues harmonica at age twelve and at fifteen he discovered conga drums and decided to pursue music as a career. Within two years he was gigging throughout the mid-west in a variety of groups: soul, calypso, percussion ensembles, African dance troupes, free jazz, fusion jazz, big-band jazz, vocal jazz, and coffee-house folk. In 1981 he moved to New York with The Wallets, a promising young band that quickly met with difficulty and moved back to Minneapolis, later to record for Capitol Records. He decided to concentrate on making quieter, more 'acoustic' music and teamed up with cellist Robert Een (of the Meredith Monk ensemble) and accordionist Carter Burwell (of film soundtrack renown) to form the band Big Joe. He also performed and recorded with what was to become a glut of singer-songwriters, of which some of the better-known are Patti Smith, Suzanne Vega, Katell Keineg, and Anna Domino. He is director of the Skola Ritmu in Prague and performs with Slet Bubeniku/Gathering of Drummers, Vladimir Vaclavek, and with his partner, dancer-choreographer Renata Milgrom. He has recorded two solo CDs, Joinery and One Thousand and One Fingers, as well as an instructional CD.
Frank J. Oteri’s Just Salsa (1991) is a Latin jam session, or descarga, using strict salsa rhythm (clave) to punctuate the melodies and harmonies of a series of repeated riffs (montunos) in 11-limit just intonation. As in more conventional descargas, the montunos were all pre-composed while everything else was completely improvised by the performers within the pre-established rhythmic and intonational guidelines. The added consonances of pure sevenths and elevenths, as well as the serene beauty of pure thirds, offer many new possibilities for this music. The musicians are all very comfortable and familiar with each other and provide their collective all to resonating at a finer degree of relationship, all the time liberating their sounds into new emotional terrain. Nine musicians complete the ensemble for this June 12, 1991 performance.
Frank J. Oteri has been involved with microtonal exploration and music composition since the American Festival of Microtonal Music first began; we did several early microtonal radio broadcasts together on WKCR in New York. Oteri's recent microtonal compositions include: circles mostly in wood (2002) for wind quintet in quartertones, Fair and Balanced? (2004) for saxophone quartet in quartertones, Imagined Overtures (2005) for rock band in sixthtones, and Spurl (2009) for solo clarinet or alto saxophone which employs a 13-limit JI octatonic scale. In addition to his compositional activities, Frank serves as the Composer Advocate at the American Music Center where he is also the Editor of its web magazine, NewMusicBox (www.newmusicbox.org), which he was hired to create in 1998. He also has one of the largest world music collections on the planet and has published more in depth music interviews than most anyone.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken played here for banjo and vocals is performed by Mark Rankin in just intonation tuning. The performance is taken from an American Festival of Microtonal concert in New York’s St. Peter’s Church on November 2, 1986. Here Rankin is the consummate performer, jammin’ in the church with the audience joyously contributing. This performance had been released earlier on the original PITCH cassette (volume I, No. 3). Accordingly, it is a great pleasure that this celebrated performance is brought to an ever wider audience.
Mark Rankin lives a very freewheeling life. He has made music in Antarctica and throughout 62 different countries. For the past 25 years he has sold kits designed to adapt contemporary stringed instruments to interchangeable magnetic fretboards in order to play in different tuning systems and different frettings. The fretboards slide on and off the neck, under the strings, as with the banjo used in the performance. Mark Rankin is a scholar in all things microtonal, a researcher in related fields, who recently gave a Musical Mathematics presentation to the San Diego microtonal community. Mark Rankin may be reached by e-mail at: email@example.com
Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols says about Before and After the Tekke: “Intrigued by a book about an 18th century dervish in Bosnia and my visit to an 18th Century tekke - dervish monastery - in Herzegovina, I began looking for clues to bring these feelings to light. Christian Orthodox and Islamic music idioms influenced this fantasy journey which blends voice, analog synthesizer and hybrid violin sounds. I designed the intonation of the piece by shortening the distance between most of the half steps in this G scale. Ana Milosavljevic commissioned the work and we enjoyed premiering it together in New York, Europe, and Asia (China). The piece won the First Prize at the 2008 International Chamber Music Festival in Sarajevo, an award dear to my heart. Strangely, if you travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, you won’t find this music. It is dreamed up from sounds that I have once known and then forgotten." This CD features a live performance of the piece from the May 1, 2008 American Festival of Microtonal Music concert at the Church of the Epiphany in New York City.
As one of the few, if not only, woman composer and producer from Bosnia and Herzegovina working in the U.S. today, Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols draws upon the unique musical and cultural energies of both places. Described as “powerful and atmospheric… evocative of the sacred” (IAWM Journal) and “…an ecstatic musical experience” (Mark Greenfest, New Music Connoisseur), her music has been heard on four continents including the 2008 Beijing International Congress on Women in Music, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the American Festival of Microtonal Music, SABCTV Art Works in South Africa, The 15. International Review of Composers in Belgrade, Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, International Festival for Cutting Edge Dance Theater in London and in numerous performances in New York, such as ASCAP’s Thru The Walls Series, The Knitting Factory, LaMama, E.T.C., Music With A View at the Flea Theater, AMC theaters and The Times Center. Svjetlana has been featured on the Voice of America international telecast, New York's Public TV and Cable broadcasts, the American Music Center’s Counterstream Radio, and in major radio and TV programs in her native country. Her work in film has been nominated for Best Independent Feature/Black Reel Awards and presented at the Tribeca Film Festival. She has received awards from the American Composers Forum, New England Foundation for the Arts, the Institute On The Arts And Civic Dialogue at Harvard University and the Soros Foundation, as well as ASCAP's Buddy Baker Film Scoring Scholarship and multiple ASCAPlus Awards. Svjetlana holds a B.A. in musical Composition, a B.A. in Musicology from Sarajevo University's Academy of Music and an M.F.A. in electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, iEAR Studios.
Serbian-American violinist and composer Ana Milosavljevic has given solo recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, the Kennedy Center’s Millen¬nium Stage, TheTimesCenter, Kolarac Con¬cert Hall, Belgrade Philharmonic Hall, Greenwich House Arts (in the series Women's Work), and Donnell Library, and has also performed in Merkin Hall, CAMI Hall, the United Nations in New York, and numerous international festivals. Acclaimed as “an imaginative artist willing to think big” (The Strad), and a “virtuoso performer” with “a won¬derful mix of technique, sensitivity and passion” (New Music Connois¬seur), she has premiered, performed, and recorded works -- some written especially for her -- by such composers as John Adams, Chen Yi, Tania León, Eve Beglarian, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Svjetlana Bukvich-Nichols, Margaret Fairlie-Kennedy, Katarina Miljkovic, Ljubica Maric, John Eaton, Beth Anderson, Milos Raickovich, Johnny Reinhard, and Gian Carlo Menotti. She can be heard on Albany, Chandos, Innova, and Neos Classics labels. A versatile performer often featured with TAKE Dance, as well as in multimedia concerts, Ana has won grants and awards from Artists International Presentations, New York Women Composers, Inc., and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as sponsorship from the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Broadcast appearances include Voice of America international telecasts, WNYC radio, the American Music Center’s Counterstream Radio, New York’s Public TV, and Serbian radio and television. Ana has written music for theatre and dance. Her new work Reflections received its world premiere at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall. Based in Manhattan, Ana is currently recording a solo CD of music by living women composers. Her website is: www.ana-violin.com.
Theodosii Spassov’s Solo for Kaval represents a lifetime of solo performances in this May 20, 1993 American Festival of Microtonal Music concert. Spassov is a renowned master of the kaval, also known as the peasant flute of Bulgaria. The Kaval has an amazingly chameleon-like ability to make different sounds. The kaval, an eight-hole wooden "shepherd" flute, is one of the oldest Instruments in Europe, rich in tone and technical possibilities. The composer describes formative musical training in the herding of sheep through music played upon the Kaval, which one hears in the performance May 20, 1999 American Festival of Microtonal concert in Columbia University’s St. Paul’s Chapel. He is internationally known for developing a unique style which fuses Bulgarian folk music with jazz and classical music elements.
Theodosii Spassov was born in Isperich in northeast Bulgaria on March 4th, 1961. He began his early training on the kaval at the Kotel Music School and The Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv/Bulgaria. For over 20 years, Theodosii has toured all over Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Canada and United States. In 1994, he performed with Sofia Women's Radio Choir which was awarded with a Grammy award for "Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares". In April of 1995, "Newsweek" magazine recognized Spassov as one of the most talented Eastern-European musicians in its "best of the East" article, noting that "Spassov is not merely surviving the post-communist cultural wasteland. He has actually invented a new musical genre." At home in Bulgaria, Theodosii Spassov is a national figure and a musical hero, recently honored with the "Music Artist of the Year" award. He is the Artistic Director of the world-renown "PHILIP KOUTEV Ensemble of Music, Drama and Dance.
Directed by Johnny Reinhard
All recordings “live” from AFMM concerts, other than FRYD Ensemble of Bergen, Norway
Recording Engineer: Norman Greenspan Mastered by Paul Geluso
Cover Art by Orlanda Brugnola
www.afmm.org ALL RIGHTS RESERVED PITCH P-200211 WORLD
AMERICAN FESTIVAL OF MICROTONAL MUSIC © 2009