Playing For The Planet: World Music Against Climate Change — June 2, 2018

Mark your calendars for one of the year’s most exciting musical events!

On Saturday, June 2, the seventeenth “Playing For The Planet” benefit concert showcases master musicians from three different musical traditions, in a benefit for the environmental advocacy group 350MA.org.

Come and hear Mal Barsamian and Charles Dermenjian performing Armenian and Turkish music, Gus LaCasse’s Acadian & Cape Breton fiddling, and a Hindustani performance by vocalist Ramchandra Joshi.

The music begins at 7:00 pm, at The Community Church Of Boston, 565 Boylston Street (Copley Square), Boston.

Admission is $20; $15 students & seniors.

Tickets are available online through eventbrite.

For further information, please call 781-330-8032.

 


“Playing For The Planet: World Music Against Climate Change” is the seventeenth concert in an ongoing series of cross-cultural events produced by Boston-area musician and environmental activist Warren Senders.  These concerts were conceived as a way for creative musicians to contribute to the urgent struggle against global warming.   Their choice of beneficiary, 350MA.org, is focused on building global consensus on reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels — action which climatologists agree is necessary to avoid catastrophic outcomes.

Because the climate problem recognizes no national boundaries, the artists represent musical styles from three different parts of the globe, and share key musical values: listening, honesty, creativity, and respect. And, of course, they are all committed to raising awareness of the potentially devastating effects of global warming.  It’ll be an incredible evening of powerful music — from some of the finest musicians in New England and the world.


About The Artists

 

Mal Barsamian and Charles Dermenjian

Mal Barsamian’s musical career began when he was four years old playing the doumbek (hand drum) with his father Leo Barsamian at an Armenian picnic. Mal comes from a family of oud players starting with his grandfather, great-uncle, his uncle and of course his father. He has gone on to become a sought-after oud player (lute) and clarinetist as well as other instruments such as doumbek, guitar, bouzouki, and saxophone in Armenian, Greek, and Middle Eastern communities for forty years throughout the country.

Mal Barsamian

He performed with the late Esber Korporcu, an important figure in Boston’s Middle-Eastern music community, and has also appeared with Mehmet Sanlikol’s Dunya organization. Mal is a specialist in music written by Armenian composers active in Istanbul during the later years of the Ottoman Empire. Also trained as a classical guitarist, he obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in classical guitar performance studying with Robert Paul Sullivan from the New England Conservatory of Music.
Mal is on the applied faculty staff at Tufts University’s World Music Department, teaching oud, saxophone, clarinet and percussion, an applied faculty member at Boston College and also leads the Middle Eastern Ensemble at New England Conservatory of Music.

Charles Dermenjian

Charles Dermenjian plays percussion, featuring the doumbek, the most commonly played percussive instrument throughout Middle Eastern cultures, and has performed extensively both across the United States and abroad. In addition to playing with numerous Middle Eastern musicians, Charles has performed locally with Stan Strickland, as well as several Berkley College faculty. Aside from performing, Charles has devised and applied specific rhythmic teachings as a form of meditative group therapy.


Gus LaCasse

“…a natural-born fiddle player…whose energy would power a small city.”

— Peter Sutherland, Young Tradition Vermont —

Gus LaCasse

A folk fiddler with both speed and savage energy, Gus La Casse’s repertoire reflects his innovative spirit and dedication to the Cape Breton and Acadian fiddle traditions, playing both standards of the genre and his original material. Based in Downeast Maine, Gus maintains an active performance schedule as a solo artist and with other musicians including guitarist Peter Lindquist, rock-to-world-music band Big Tree and a contra dance trio.

Gus’ music has also taken him beyond Maine. He was the 2014 student in residence at The Acadia School of Traditional Music, appearing on the Canadian international television broadcast from the Congrès Mondial Acadien 2014. He traveled to Ireland as part of the Young Tradition Vermont touring group in 2016, and has enjoyed playing the legendary Club Passim in Cambridge, MA.


Ramchandra Joshi

An accomplished vocalist and harmonium player, Ramchandra Joshi was introduced to the world of music at the age of 8 by his mother Smt Anjani Tilak, a disciple of Pt Manikbua thakursdas. He has trained with Smt. Tulika Ghosh, a disciple of Pt Gyanprakash Ghosh from Kolkata, at Sangeet Mahabharati Music Academy in Mumbai.

Ramchandra Joshi

Ramchandra Joshi’s Gayaki is inspired by the legendary vocalist from Gwalior Gharana Dr.Veena Sahasrabuddhe, with whom he performed on several occasions, notably the 1994 Malhar Festival at the Nehru Cente.

A specialist in khyal, thumri, natyasangeet, bhavgeet, bhajans and ghazals, he has toured extensively in India, USA, UK and Switzerland. Ramchandra holds B+ Grade from All India Radio.

As a harmonium accompanist Ramchandra has performed alongside many senior and junior artists like Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar, Konkana Banerjee, Sanhita Nandi,Girish Chatterjee, Sandeep Bhattacharya, Rahul Deshpande, Mahesh Kale, and many more. He has lived in the United States since 2003.

On June 2, Ramchandra Joshi will be accompanied by Sri Rajesh Pai on tabla.


About 350.org and 350MA.org

Co-founded by environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, 350.org is the hub of a worldwide network of over two hundred environmental organizations, all with a common target: persuading the world’s countries to unite in an effort to reduce global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million or less. Climatologist Dr. James Hansen says, “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 400 ppm to at most 350 ppm.” (Dr. Hansen headed the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and is best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.) Activists involved in the 350 movement include Rajendra Pachauri (Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Vandana Shiva (world-renowned environmental leader and thinker), Archbishop Desmond Tutu (1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a global activist on issues pertaining to democracy, freedom and human rights), Van Jones, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Kingsolver and many more.

350MA.org is the Massachusetts Chapter of this worldwide advocacy group, and the hub for the Better Future Project.

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The Community Church of Boston is a free community united for the study and practice of universal religion, seeking to apply ethical ideals to individual life and the democratic and cooperative principle to all forms of social and economic life. We invite you to read on to discover more about us, join us one Sunday for a thought-provoking and joyful time, or contact the church to find out more about our community: info@communitychurchofboston.org

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Tickets are available online through eventbrite.

Sabri Moudallal — Great Voice of Syria

I know very little about this music, but from the moment I first heard Sabri Moudallal sing I was transfixed. His voice production is completely embodied, and age has not withered nor custom staled his infinite variety. What a magnificent voice.

The former muezzin of the Great Mosque at Alleppo, Syria, he was born in 1919 and died in 2006.

Born in Aleppo in 1918, highly esteemed by native Aleppians but scarcely known beyond the city limits, he has almost always lived outside the ” star system “. His talent was revealed relatively late on his life, from the seventies on, when he gave a series of concerts in Paris with his group of the time, a vocal quartet known as ” The Muezzins of Aleppo “. Ever since then he has received constant requests from abroad, has been appointed principal muezzin of the city and was even decorated in 1996 by Farouk Hosni, the Egyptian Minister of Culture.

Link

Syrian Classical Music

Many years ago there was a store in Harvard Square that specialized in Middle-Eastern music. I went in there pretty frequently; the music is close enough to Hindustani tradition that I felt a great aesthetic consanguinity, but different enough that I never knew what was going to happen. I got to know the proprietors casually, and they began recommending items to me when I dropped in.

One day the primary storekeeper pulled out a CD and said, “You must hear this!” It was “Sacred and Profane Songs of Syria,” a recording of Sabri Moudallal, the principal muezzin of the Great Mosque at Aleppo, Syria. I was riveted. Amazing breath control, vocal projection that suggested a lifetime of sending sound over long distances…and a level of passion that I’d rarely heard anywhere. So I bought the record, and I bought a subsequent recording, “The Aleppian Music Room” a couple of years later.

Here’s a page with a bio and a photograph.

Moudallal was very old at the time of the recordings. I can only imagine what he sounded like as a young man. Every so often over the years I’ve checked YouTube for some of his music… And today?

Enjoy. Although the sound on these uploads is pretty crappy, the music is exquisite. The second piece is especially beautiful. Moudallal has some solo interludes about five minutes in; they tear me to shreds every time. Check out the long embellished phrases that begin at 5:47.

Playing for the Planet: Beth Bahia Cohen’s set

Beth Bahia Cohen and her accompanists opened the evening with a single twenty-five minute suite which included three separate melodies from different parts of the Middle East. The performance included lots of beautiful violin playing from Beth, a lovely oud solo from Mac Ritchey, and some great percussion from Todd Roach and Gabe Halberg. Rhythmically charged, passionate, lyrical…what a great way to start things off!

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