Past events: 2004/2005
This archive page is for reference only.
Sugkyi Nyima - Lhamo Opera from Tibet
Gods, hermits, hunters, enchanted forests, and star-crossed lovers - it could only be opera (or Tolkien!) And unlike in European versions, it all ends well because the Buddhist ethos of this entertainment defeats evil and rewards the steadfast. Tibet has kept the colourful, fascinating art form of Lhamo very much to itself over the last few hundred years, enjoying it in the summer months in the public parks in Lhasa or in the compounds of the monasteries. The brilliant costumes of the ache Lhamo ('sister goddesses'), who gave their name to the genre, are joined on stage by groups of hunters (ngonpo, with huge dark masks and white beards) and other sundry characters: deities, priests, story-tellers, high-born ladies and gentlemen, and some more rustic characters. The latter are there to make fun of everyone, satirising the entire society, and criticising social matters which are on everyone's minds: taxation used to be a firm favourite! Lhamo stories are well known by the audience, so there is a good deal of interaction, with shouts of warning for the goodies and boo for the bad guys. The songs are sung to a sparse accompaniment of cymbals and drums, and these instruments also give the tempo to all the action and miming. A rich combination of stories told with music, mime, acrobatics and glorious costumes, and unlike anything else you have experienced before!
Pictured above: Lhamo Opera
"Les Dangereuses": a project developed jointly with Bath Festival Trust & a world premiere tour
In India the tradition of "thumri" had its origins in the expression of love for the deity KRISHNA when it was linked with mime of KATHAK dancers and storytellers. This developed into a form of expression of love between human beings but with spiritual undertones. This style reached its height in the royal courts and the "music rooms "of the wealthy landed gentry developing into a more popular form of entertainment. Mali had the Manding court tradition of praise historians or griots who sang topical lyrics about betrayal, conflict, and love. Jazz comes out of deeply emotional experiences of people displaced from their roots and has an intensity and ambience not too different from the other two styles in this unique collaboration; jazz has its intimate atmosphere of the club, songs of love, separation and story telling. All three styles are full of improvisation.
Three powerful females meet and interact to produce a ground breaking new direction in contemporary vocal music: Shubha Mudgal who has classical training is bestowed with a powerful and resonant voice with - like Kandia Kouyate and Juliet Roberts - an equally powerful stage presence. A versatile singer, her involvement with Bollywood and experimental work with the likes of Nikki Yeoh has endeared her to the younger Asian audiences. Juliet Roberts is one of the most powerful voices in contemporary British music and has the great ability to embellish the words of a song with her own character. Jazz is often said to be nearest to Indian music when it comes to improvisation and the intimacy of the performance. Kandia Kouyate is one of Mali's most enigmatic singers whose album BIRIKO (Sterns) has been called one of the most important recordings of traditional African music in the new millennium. Her personality, power and music led to her being referred to as "la dangeureuse" - from which the title of this project came.
Supported by Visiting Arts and the Esmee Fairbain Foundation
Pictured l-r: Juliet Roberts, Shubha Mudgal, Kandia Kouyate
John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain feat. U. Shrinivas and V. Selvaganesh - on tour throughout the UK
Including dates at Birmingham Symphony Hall and London's Barbican Centre.
Pictured above: Flyer for John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain feat. U. Shrinivas and V. Selvaganesh
Munojat Yulchieva from Uzbekistan
Munojat Yulchieva is the brightest star of Uzbek classical music at the end of the 20th century. She studied music at Tashkent State Conservatory under the guidance of Shavkat Mirzaev, who has been her spiritual teacher since 1978. For the past ten years she has toured Europe, Asia, the USA and Latin America. Her repertoire consists of the best examples of Uzbek classical music as well as music by contemporary bastoqors, composers in the traditional Uzbek style. Thanks to her unique voice (a low alto encompassing two-and-a-half octaves) Munojat performs songs from both female and male repertoires.
A well-known and highly respected artist, she has participated in numerous traditional music festivals throughout Europe as well as in Morocco, Brazil and the United States. Munojat has received several distinguished awards, and has recorded many albums, notably in France and in Germany. This year Munojat was nominated in the Asia/Pacific category for the prestigious BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards.
Pictured above: Munojat Yulchieva
Nizami Brothers: Qawwali from India
Featured in a BBC R3 World Roots programme last February in an interview of them taken in the actual shrine of Nizamuddin Aulyia in Old Delhi, these fine qawwali singers perform much more in the traditional classical style which was at once lyrical and tremendously rhythmic.
Nusrat Fateh Ali made qawwali very popular in the West and modified his style in doing so. The Nizami brothers are true to their traditions and do not involve Western instrumentation but are no less exciting. Led by Ghulam Sabir and Ghulam Waris, they are associated closely with the sacred shrine of the Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya, in Delhi, and trace their ancestry to the qawwali singers to the great Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.
Qawwali is somewhat misunderstood as a song form. It has its origins in the songs of praise of Sufiism performed at the shrines or khanakas of great Sufi saints. The words are beautiful and often the singers will improvise and create poetry as they as well as their audience get more inspired and enter into a spiritual trance like state. The group consists of seven artists who sing, play the harmonium, tabla and dhol.
Pictured above: Nizami Brothers
Indian Music Summer School 2004
The AMC summer school concerts have been very successful over the last five years. In 2004 but we wish to not only present the artists in a different way but would also like to tour them. Their phenomenal skills and musicianship really have to be heard and seen by audiences outside London. We intend to hold an all-night concert or a small festival in the form of a series of morning, afternoon & evening concerts and also offer all the artists to perform other concerts outside London.
Rajan + Sajan Misra the two great brothers and masters of khyal. They have worked on an AMC commission with Michael Nyman (Sangam) in 2002 and have performed with him in London, Manchester and in July 2003 at the Cartagena Festival in Spain. The fantastic musicality, intonation, virtuosity, and depth of their singing leaves one breathless.
Uday Bhawalkar sings the ancient style of dhrupad accompanied on the pakhawaj by Manik Munde. This is a beautiful, serene and yet robust style of singing which requires great vocal control.
Sunanda Sharma is a fine classical singer, teacher and young star of the Benares Gharana, who has gained her knowledge and experience from the great Smt Girija Devi. This year she is returning to teach a range of thumri and light classical vocal music.
Purbayan Chatterjee has established himself as one of the brightest sitar players of the younger generation of Indian classical musicians. He belongs to the Senia Maihar Gharana founded by Ustad Allauddin Khan and he carries the rich legacy of the great sitar maestro Pandit Nikhil Banerjee.
These fine artists will be joined for The Little Chilli Festival in London the master of the santoor Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Kathak maestro - Deepak Maharaj (Son of the legendary Pandit Birju Maharaj) and contemporary musicians - Trilok Gurtu and Indian rock group Orange Street.
Chinese Music Summer School
Following the success of the 2003 Chinese Music Summer School the AMC are bringing master "qin" player - Li Xiang Ting will be giving classes to "qin" students and will be available for giving concerts. UK resident Cheng YU will be giving classes on the "pipa" and again will be available for giving concerts - especially with her ensemble.
Li Xiang Ting (qin: 7 stringed zither)
The qin zither is one of the most and ancient and sophisticated instruments in China. An intimate solo tradition, it is inspired by the more meditative aspects of Daoism, seeking mystical communion with nature.
Cheng Yu (pipa: 4 stringed lute)
The pipa is highly versatile, sharing with the qin an important historical role in the self-cultivation of the elite and the aristocracy of the imperial dynasties, yet it also features prominently in the earthy folk styles of, for example, the Silk-and-Bamboo ensembles of the Shanghai tea houses and the Nanguan narrative singing of Fujian on the south eastern coast. Pipa music is famed for its unique richness of expression. Cheng Yu is also founder of the UK Chinese Ensemble that seeks to promote a wide variety of traditional repertories as well as exploring contemporary styles.
Ning Baosheng (dizi: transverse flute)
Ning Baoshen is a world renowned dizi flute master. He is a principal soloist and leader of the wind section of the Central Orchestra of Chinese Music in Beijing. During more than four decades of dizi performances he has made his name a s a distinguished dizi virtuoso, and has published many research articles and solo CD's, as well as new compositions for the dizi. His creation, based on a long-lost Chinese flute known as 'guhu', was awarded the 'Technological enhancement award' by the Minister for Culture in 1993, and gained the 'golden prize' from the State Innovation Patent Bureau. Mr Ning plays a number of flutes including the xiao, bawu, hulusi and xun ocarina.
Hu Bin (erhu: 2 stringed fiddle)
Hu Bin was born in Xi'an, Northwest China and began to learn the erhu (Chinese violin) at the age of 10. She went to study it for 10 years at the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, graduating with distinction in 1986. She won first prize at the Shaanxi Provincial Erhu Music Competition in 1987 and worked as an erhu player with the Shaanxi Provincial Traditional Music Ensemble. Since settling in Britain in 1982, she has performed widely in Britain and Europe.
After launching the very successful Little Chilli Festival in July 2004, AMC is touring Bireshwar Gautam who is one of India’s rare artists whose talent covers both Kathak dance and the romantic vocal style of “Thumri” in October. Bireshwar Gautam, fondly referred to as “Biru”, is probably one of the finest rising stars of classical music in India and yet he still makes that rare and much cherished connection with the golden period of Indian music. He has been trained in Kathak under the guidance of some of the greatest names of this style – Guru Bandana Sen, Padmashri Late Pt. Gopi Krishna and Padmashri Damayanti Joshi. If this was not enough, he also trained in vocal music under the guidance of his father the late Sailen Pal, and specialised in the khayal gayaki with Pt. Vasantrao Kulkarni and romantic vocal style of thumri under the eminent Smt. Shobha Gurtu. This combination of Kathak and Thumri – to superb standards of rendition, make Biru a remarkable artist who has received recognition and much praise from fellow artists and public alike. He has performed in many prestigious festivals throughout India and abroad both as a dancer and as a singer.
Pictured above: Bireshwar Gautam
Japanese Music: Shinichi Kinoshita (shamisen)
Accompanied by Hiroshi Motofuji (wadaiko), Yoko Nishi (koto) and Sayuri Ono (shinobue). The acclaimed Tsugaru-Shamisen star and top Japanese traditional instruments players present a fusion of traditional and modern improvised rhythm and sounds. Shinichi Kinoshita 's outstanding technique and soulful sound has given him reputation as "the shamisen player with divine hands".
Tsugaru-Shamisen is a three-string banjo-like instrument played in the folk style in Tsugaru region of northern Japan with history of more than 100 years. Its character and spirit are often compared with jazz, both in its improvisational approach and in its roots. it evolved from blind street minstrels who played door to door. With its earthy and percussive sound, it is particularly popular with younger Japanese now.
Born in 1965 and starting shamisen lessons at age 10, Kinoshita passed a Tsugaru-shamisen audition at age 17. He went on to win the Tsugaru-shamisen Nationwide Tournament two years running (1986-87) and in 2000, he won the first championship of "Tsugaru Shamisen National Tournament of Successive Class "A" Champion Yamada Chisato Cup Contest. inoshita has performed in over 25 countries. Last year he participated in International Istanbul Music Festival and gave concerts in UK.
Pictured above: Shinichi Kinoshita