World Festival of Sacred Music Opening Night Gala Concert at UCLA
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Vitello's presents legendary Latin jazz percussionist Poncho Sanchez. Having released over 24 albums, Poncho Sanchez and his band bring a live show of pure energy to the stage. Sanchez's signature combination of salsa, straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz and soul is nothing less than dazzling. If music were about pictures, percussionist Sanchez's sounds would best be described as a kaleidoscopic swirl of some of the hottest colors and brightest lights to emerge from either side of the border. His latest album, with Terrence Blanchard on trumpet, is Chano Y Dizzy. Learn More
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Hear music from some of the featured groups in this concert.
This spectacular lineup of international and local artists includes Chirgilchin, Master Throat Singers from Tuva (near Mongolia); Rupayan, an eight-member Sufi and Qawwali folk music ensemble from the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India; Waldemar Bastos, the great voice of contemporary Angola, who lives in exile in Portugal and combines Afropop, Portuguese fado and Brazilian influences; Emiko Susilo performing Javanese songs with American jazz guitarist Rob Levit; and the Lian Ensemble performing classical Persian music.
The 2008 World Festival of Sacred Music–Los Angeles presents nearly 1,000 artists performing over 16 days in 41 sacred events of music and movement throughout Los Angeles, crossing neighborhoods and cultural, religious and ideological boundaries in the spirit of peace. The fourth WFSM–LA will fill the city’s historic landmark theaters, churches, temples and outdoor spaces with renowned international and local artists expressing many diverse forms of musical creativity, from grassroots folk music to jazz and formal European and Asian classical traditions.
*About the Artists
Taking their name from a word meaning “miracle”—literally, “dance of air in the heat of the day”—Chirgilchin is an ensemble of young virtuoso singing musicians from Tuva, a small republic in central Asia near Mongolia and Tibet. The members of Chirgilchin are masters of several styles of throat singing, each with its own capacity to mimic elements of the wild steppe. To witness their music is to enter the deepest regions of human voice and to dream of another reality: the reality of the mountains, the horses and the ties to land.
Waldemar Bastos (Angola)
The great voice of contemporary Angola, Bastos defected to Portugal in 1982, because his homeland, once one of Africa’s richest, was brutalized by civil war. Hope and reconciliation are the themes explored in his music. Bastos is an intuitive musician—urbane, cosmopolitan, drawing from a wealth of influences, local and global—who uses his shimmering guitar and golden, yearning voice to create infectious and passionate songs and styles from Angola, the Congo, Brazil, Porgutal and beyond.
Lian Ensemble (USA)
The art of improvisation lies at the heart of the mystical heritage of classical Persian music. The Lian Ensemble—founded by three composer/instrumentalists, Houman Pourmehdi (tonbak, percussion, nay), Pirayeh Pourafar (tar) and Mahsid Mirzadeh (santour)—is a group of renowned performers based in Los Angeles who embrace these two realms with warmth and sophistication. The intensely woven textures of their music and gentle reciprocity of their playing has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “gifted” and “virtuosic.”
From the caravan routes of the Thar desert of Rajasthan in northern India comes the heady rhythmic music of the Langas and Manganiars. Representing unbroken lineages of folk tradition, Rupayan is an eight-member ensemble of hereditary musicians, poets and singers. A spectacular convergence of Muslim musicians, Hindu devotion and local culture, Rupayan’s desert ballads, guided by clapping hands, drums and harmonium, tell stories of epic heroism and love for god, while stylistically belonging to qawwali—the devotional music of the Sufis—an ancient stairway to divine ecstasy. Rupayan has performed worldwide, and toured for three years with the Zingaro equestrian show.
Emiko Susilo (Indonesia) and Rob Levit (USA)
Cultures develop in a cyclical fashion, evolving with elements of the past and creating new ones. This may be an apt process to describe the genesis of Asmarandana—an intuitive, intimate and supple collaboration between award-winning American jazz guitarist Rob Levit and Emiko Susilo, a classical vocalist of extraordinary grace and depth whose voice—beautiful, clear-toned and with phenomenal range—was nurtured amid the ancient temples of a Balinese village. The word asmarandana means “the fire of passion,” “the price of love” or “to give love.” Their music is marked by longing or sadness, but always by a spirit of deep, abiding tenderness.
About the Ticket Supplier: Foundation for World ArtsThe World Festival of Sacred Music is a sixteen-day celebration of the rich sacred music traditions of the people of Los Angeles, with musical events produced in venues ranging from the city's major stages to intimate places of worship. Recognizing music as an expression of humanity's most profound aspirations and as a way to transcend borders of all kinds-linguistic, national, cultural, ideological, racial and religious- the festival is the result of an outpouring of interest and enthusiasm from community partners and artists who participated in the the Festival in 1999 and 2002.
Broadly defining "sacred" to encompass a wide range of musical forms, this intercultural, interfaith, interethnic collaborative effort is founded on the belief that sacred music has the ability to bring forth shared human values on which humanity's future depends: peace, understanding and respect for all living things.
The World Festival of Sacred Music is not a commercial venture, nor does it promote or endorse any political or religious agenda. Rather, the festival provides a rare opportunity for people to come together to share cultural traditions; to contemplate the spiritual, ethical and ecological questions of our times; and to investigate issues of tolerance and diversity within our complex, urban environment.
A largely volunteer effort, based on the intention to utilize the arts festival model to build genuine community cooperation and understanding, the World Festival of Sacred Music is presented by UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance, EarthWays Foundation, and the Foundation for World Arts.