Spin yarn, spin music, spin what you will. Renate Hiller has some beautiful things to say about working with the hands and the contemplative aspects of crafting and other creative pursuits.
“It makes us skilled in general… This makes us think of what is needed by something else. So we are in a way practicing empathy — empathy with the material, empathy with the design… You have to find your way; you have to listen with your whole being.” -Renate Hiller. Thanks to Chuck Smith and Sono Kuwayama for the video and to Trent Gilliss of OnBeing for bringing this to our attention.
I had a lovely trip to Turkey and Greece this last month. It was a study vacation of sorts and I have returned to the States with new compositions, friendships and inspiration. It warmed my heart to be with old friends and deepen old relationships. I had a fruitful meeting with Tolgahan Çoğulu in Istanbul and will be putting the finishing touches on a piece to be recorded for his microtonal guitar. I studied with three wonderful musician-teachers Harris Lembrakis, Hakan Talu and Evgenios Voulgaris. Thank you to Refik Algan and friends, Dimitris Malanos and family, Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma, Eleftheria Daoultzi and Mania Asimakopoulou for their awesome hospitality and friendship. Truly, I’ve been blessed to spend time with such beautiful musician-humans the last weeks.
Things back home have been moving along. In August I made a trip to Cedarhouse Sound in NH and laid down yaylı tanbur, ney, bass and vocals on some of Lua Hightower‘s beautiful new tracks. It was such a pleasure to sink into the ilahi/zhikr pieces and get with Lua’s energy.
Çeşni Trio is giving a few concerts before the end of the year. Please come and check out this relatively new ensemble featuring myself, Tev Stevig and Fabio Pirozzolo. The trio plays original compositions and arrangements based in Turkish art music and folk traditions and branches out from there. We play two dates with Brooklyn based Dolunay: 11/11 @ The DAC in Denmark, ME and 11/12 @ Club Passim in Cambridge, MA. We will play as part of the Mandorla Music Series on 12/2 @ Third Life Studio in Somerville, MA. In addition to these, we continue our monthly residency @ Outpost 186 in Cambridge, MA: 9/28, 10/26, 11/23 and 12/28.
Orkestra Marhaba is always up to something. We have some Sema/Ayin performances this fall as well as one offs throughout New England. Check the website for specific dates.
Then there’s the band that keeps me on the move… In the last few months Ameranouche has been throughout the Northeast, Mid-West, Colorado and New Mexico and Canada. Thanks to all the friends that have kindly hosted us and come out to the concerts. We continue the touring life off and on throughout the fall and are trying to finish up a record in the spaces between.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to getting back with my students after a month away. They continue to inspire and bring me joy. Music is not found in instruments, but in the transmission between hearts.
Among many musical projects, new compositions and inspiring students, I’m blessed to have a part in bringing Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma to New England in early April!
Daly is a virtuoso on the Cretan lyra, a small, pear-shaped bowed lute that has traditionally accompanied dance and epic songs. He’s spent his life exploring the possibilities and connections in modal music, recording and performing all over the globe as well as hosting the annual Labyrinth musical workshop in his home village of Houdetsi on the island of Crete. Daly and Thoma are fresh off a performance at Carnegie Hall in December 2015. How sweet to have them in our neck of the woods!
4/7 MIT Chapel – Cambridge, MA
4/8 Kittery Dance Hall – Kittery, ME
4/9 Denmark Arts Center – Denmark, ME
4/10 Hooker-Dunham Theatre – Brattleboro, VT
A Happy New Year! May 2015 smile on you and yours.
Orkestra Marhaba has a new website! Neyzen, singer, and queen of usul Shanteri did a wonderful job putting it together. She included all sorts of great info on the tradition and its instruments: www.orkestramarhaba.com.
Ameranouche is playing 3 sets at New Year’s By the Bay in Belfast, ME. We start around 9 PM and will ring in the New Year. The ‘Nouche is also in the mixing/mastering/packaging stages of our new record due out in April.
It has been a while. Many sounds have come and gone. Among other things:
Some ongoing updates are happening to the website. You’ll notice some new pieces in the “music/words” section. One is an essay on the student-teacher relationship. The other is an outline for a workshop I hope to start leading in the next months on developing a polymetric sense of time.
Ameranouche is almost done with tracking for our new record. We feel we’ve captured something very special. Lot’s of gigs as well! Stay updated here: www.ameranouche.com
I’m fresh off a trip to Istanbul. Many sounds heard. They will take some time to understand and integrate. Some will remain ineffable. I feel inspired. Looking forward to playing with Orkestra Marhaba in and around the Boston area and continuing to study the repertoire. Keep up with OM here: www.facebook.com/OrkestraMarhaba
I am living in Penngrove, CA through the new year! I am excited to be studying in person with my teacher W. A. Mathieu. I will also have time to compose, record, casually check out the Bay Area music scene, and get some mountain time in the Sierras and Cascades. You may find me back on the east coast for some gigs here and there (I’m still available to gig, record, or compose under the right circumstances). Besides that I’ll be back in New England come the cold and snowy months!
If you’re interested in the more song based things I do, I’ll periodically update the Harrist Family Band site with demos created here in Sonoma county.