Saturday, October 29, 2011

maria talasz & christel veraart at anchorage art shows

Show Dates & Times
Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center
600 W. Seventh Avenue, Anchorage
Free Admission
Phone: (907) 272-5634

Annual Holiday Food & Gift Festival
Nov 4-5-6, 10 am - 6 pm
Annual Arts & Crafts Emporium
Nov 19-20, 10 am - 6 pm

In November, Dutch/American artists Maria Talasz and Christel Veraart will join forces and present their work at the Annual Arts and Craft Shows in Anchorage, Alaska. We would like to invite you to come and celebrate these events with us.

Maria Talasz
Born in Oostzaan (The Netherlands), the artist has lived in Alaska since 2001. Her preferred medium is birch wood, often combined with paint, brass, hardware, mirror glass, string and nylon rope. Her artwork always carries a relationship to nature, showing the dynamic flow of life. She aims to draw the viewer into that wonder, to experience that which energizes. Working together with commissioned clients has always been a cherished part of her work. They become part of the artwork, with discovery made behind every specific request. That which is held dear becomes a vibrant dimension of the art.

Christel Veraart
Referring to her music as Soundscapes, Christel combines sound with images and poetry, creating a unique experience. Her music reflects her own life experience, extensive travels throughout the world, and an enduring love of nature. Like Maria Talasz, she was born in The Netherlands where she studied classical music and voice. Her work and studies took her to Latin America, which has left a lasting imprint on her style, both in melody and rhythm. She moved to the US in 2001 and has recently moved to Alaska. Below is a display of her music, soundscape cards, and coffee table books that she will present at the upcoming shows.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

norma winstone, another great discovery

London born Norma Winstone (1941) is a British jazz singer and lyricist who has had a career that  spans over forty years and is probably best known for her wordless improvisations.

Still, I didn't discover her until last week, when I came across her latest album "Stories yet to tell" with Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German bass clarinet/soprano sax player Klaus Gesing. The first song I heard was "Just Sometimes" and Winstone's narration captivated me from the start. It isn't very often you find a singer with such an powerful way of drawing you in. Even less common is it to find an ensemble where the singer plays such an integrated part and in which all musicians take turns in telling their story. When singing texts, Winstone draws her fellow musicians ever deeper into the story lines sketched by the lyrics, until the plot is illuminated from three perspectives. She uses her voice ‘instrumentally’, to interweave improvised lines with her partners and participate in the blossoming harmony.

“Stories Yet To Tell” is the second ECM album from the British-German-Italian trio that made the Grammy-nominated “Distances” (also beautiful by the way). Glauco Venier and Klaus Gesing have collaborated in musical projects since the mid-90s, including a long running duo. They invited Norma to join them for Italian concerts a decade ago and the singer soon recognized a potential for developing a trio music with its own specific character, meanwhile documented on three outstanding recordings: “Chamber Music” (Universal, released 2004), “Distances” (ECM, 2008), and the present disc, produced by Manfred Eicher in Udine in 2009.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

amina alaoui, recommended listening

While researching for other music I stumbled upon Moroccan born Amina Alaoui and her album Arco Iris, the artist's latest album with ECM.  Intrigued by what I heard, I went ahead and purchased the album. It was a rainy afternoon in Anchorage, Alaska, and her voice and outstanding ensemble took me on a journey I would not have wanted to miss for the world.

There is “no need to discuss the origins of fado, flamenco or Al Andalusi” for the music itself explores the melting pot of styles, and Amina’s delivery makes the interconnections impossible to miss.

Gharnati (Arabic for Granada) is one of the major Andalusian musical styles, migrated from Granada, Spain, to Morocco in the 15th century. Its roots lie in the diverse music schools of medieval Andalusia, where the Arab-Andalusian musical style originally developed some 800 years earlier. Gharnati was preserved by the Tlemceni families and other communities that fled Spain to settle in several places, Morocco, especially in Fez.

Born in Fez (Morocco) in 1964, Amina Alaoui pursued an eclectic musical path that lead her to work with musicians from medieval, Persian, and flamenco musical backgrounds. She is also a scholar of philology (study of language in written historical sources), linguistics, and dance, and a prominent exponent of the ancient music style gharnati (Arabic for Granada).

On Arco Iris she is accompanied by her outstanding ensemble in which violin often echoes the voice, and oud, flamenco guitar and sparkling mandolin surround it. Guitarist José Luis Montón from Barcelona has a strong following amongst flamenco adherents worldwide. Mandolinist Eduardo Miranda was born in Brazil, has lived the last two decades in Portugal, and links choro and fado styles through a vocabulary influenced by jazz. Violinist Saïfallah Ben Abderrazak and oud player Sofiane Negra are from Tunisia. Idriss Agnel, Amina’s son, plays percussion and adds a shimmer of electric guitar.

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