Here’s a press release for a performance I’m co-producing with Scoop Sweeney:
AUSTIN – Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe will bring their musical performance, “From Jerusalem to Cordoba,” from Paris to Austin on December 3, 7pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Bethell Hall, 301 E. 8th St., Austin, 78701-3280. The performance is a celebration of the musical and mystical traditions in and around the Mediterranean, from ancient Judaism and Paganism, to medieval Christianity and Islam. It features ancient and original music sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, Greek, Medieval Spanish, Occitan, and Arabic. Instrumental accompaniment includes Middle Eastern percussion, oud, dulcimer, Tibetan bowls, Indian tampura, and African mbira.
The performance is built on short poetic and narrative texts that include both original material and quotations from Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Ibn ‘Arabi, Yehuda Halevi, etc. The narrative thread woven through the performance evokes a rarely-perceived common ground, and an alternative view of sacred traditions which have so often been in conflict. Braslavsky and Rowe have presented this performance at venues throughout Europe.
The Italian newspaper La Republicca describes the performance as “fascinating… with great spiritual power.” Author Jacques Attali describes it as “A remarkably successful voyage in sound, depicting those rare times when Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace and dialogue.” Rev. Lauren Artress, Canon at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, calls it “uplifting and inspiring,” and notes that “Catherine and Joseph are truly gifted musicians. Allow them to enrich your life.” Jon Lebkowsky in Wired Magazine described the music as “…at once new, traditional, and transcendent. … chants and chant-like original compositions powerfully realized as invocations of the human essence — whether it be the soul, spirit, or consciousness — in its ascendant form: a kind of meditative dance.”
Braslavsky and Rowe will lead a discussion following the performance.
REGISTER for the event: http://jerusalem-cordoba.eventbrite.com/
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/event.php?eid=121950591195831
Website for Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe: http://naturalchant.com
Catherine Braslavsky holds master’s degrees in mathematics and biology, but she has dedicated her life to the performance of sacred music. She studied classical voice as well as Gregorian and Medieval chant. In 1986, she began intensive studies of the music of Hiledgarde von Bingen. In 1989 she began to practice overtone singing with David Hykes, and few months later, became a member of his Harmonic Choir. She was also an assistant teacher in his workshops.
This led to extensive concertizing, in France at major concert halls such as the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Sacred Art Festival in Paris, and abroad in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Warsaw, Zurich etc…
She left the Harmonic Choir in 1995 in order to devote herself entirely to her own musical projects.
Long attracted by Indian music, she studied the South Indian classical tradition with Nageswara Rao in 1992-93. Since then she has pursued research in ancient music (Jewish, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek and early Christian), and contemporary musical traditions.
In 1991, she began to work with Joseph Rowe and Thierry Renard. After several years of research, they performed their first major concerts in 1994, recording their first album “Alma Anima” as well. Since then she has concertized extensively in France, and has performed several concerts in the U.S. She has also performed and composed music for the theater, collaborating with Alain Kremski and Joseph Rowe in the highly acclaimed production “L’Ombre de Lumière”, based on the music and texts of Hildegard of Bingen. She also collaborated with Kremski in “Musiques Rares,” and with Joseph Rowe in the “Credo” project, as well as the recent performance piece “From Jerusalem to Cordoba”. She has also composed and recorded music for French television and documentary films.
An active music teacher, she has developed her own method of “natural chant,” consisting of deep work on the voice, exploring certain musical traditions, and a new approach to improvisation. She teaches in Paris, both individually and in classes, and often directs workshops in France and abroad.
Joseph Rowe has studied classical guitar and Middle Eastern oud (with Hamza El Din), a master whose unique marriage of voice and oud, and of Nubian and Arab influences, has been one of the pioneers of what is now called “world music.” He has performed several times onstage with Hamza, notably in a concert with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco.
He also concertized extensively with other Arab, Persian, and African musicians, as well as with medieval groups. During extensive travels in Africa, he learned and performed with musicians from the Congo (percussion, flute), and with Mideastern dervishes (percussion, voice, oud), as well as with Afro-Brazilian percussionists and healers.
During the 1980’s he worked as a radio producer for National Public Radio stations, and was among the first designers of programs combining classical, jazz, world, and new music, and interspersed with cultural and public affairs interviews.
He now lives in Paris, where he has turned more and more to music and theater, working as musician, writer, composer, and actor. Besides his extensive work with Catherine Braslavsky, he has collaborated with Marc Zammit at the Théâtre Molière in Paris, and with Alain Kremski and Michael Lonsdale at the Cluny Museum (Paris Festival of Sacred Art). He has composed music for a number of theater pieces by authors such as Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Jean Giono, and Roland Dubillard. He has also composed and recorded music for French television and documentary films. A writer and storyteller, he writes texts for theatrical performance pieces with music.
In his work as literary translator, he has translated books by authors such as Henry Corbin, Jacques Attali, Régis Debray, Jean-Yves Leloup, Pierre Rabhi, and books on Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama.
He is also active in research and teaching in the areas of creative-potential therapy, and exercises for integral evolution making use of theater and music. Partly inspired by his study with Bill Douglas , he has developed his own system of exercises called “Holorhythm,” a synthesis of body movements, vocalizations, percussion, speech, and meditation, which help unlock the gates to deep listening, inner and outer attention, and creativity. He teaches workshops and sees individual clients in France and abroad.
For more information about this event, or to schedule interviews with the performers, contact Jon Lebkowsky, events at weblogsky.com, 512 762-6547.