Meridian Music Composers In-Performance Series presents Jen Baker with David Samas
Date: Nov 14,2012
Time: 07:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Jen Baker and David Samas perform new works that have been years in the making in their collaboration. The First Nations' Ley - Concerto for Multiphonic Trombone is a 9 - site cycle that tells the story of a song for peace and freedom (voiced for multiphonic trombone, invented instruments, and extended vocal techniques) as it travels through the seven major vortices (energetically dense places) in the US along the First Nations' Ley, extending east-west across the northern part of the country from the monastery at Shellburn Falls, to Mt. Shasta and on to Mona Kea. Overture for Steel Plate and Multiphonic Trombone is the first composition we're aware of that uses strictly multiphonics on the trombone with a duo instrument, and Music for Three Worlds, a graphic score using specific textural and melodic relationships to convey three distinct levels of reality.
Ley lines are the circuitry of the geomagnetic field, or meridians, encompassing the earth. Similar to the nervous system of the human body, these meridians carry information and energy specific to each particular line. They all pass through various sacred sites, major cities, fault lines, lakes or springs, volcanoes, and mountain ridges. The quality of energy along any segment of a ley line is most directly affected by other locations and events occurring on it. The aboriginals of Australia know them as song lines because shamans use them to pass information over great distances in the form of a song.
Jen Baker and David Samas share a belief in the unifying factor of all ancient healing traditions: that all things are interconnected and that everyone or thing has the ability to affect everyone/thing else, no matter how small or remote. They needed to create a way to work together musically, which would require transcending their geographic locations on opposite coasts of the US. They began their work by researching the ley lines that crossed their countries and decided to focus on the First Nations' Ley, because the proximity of its path comes close to both of their current locations.
From a musical standpoint they have independently and collaboratively explored a variety of multiphonics, and have discovered the spiritual implications of such exploration. Multiphonics is the simultaneous production of 2 or more tones through the same apparatus, as in Tibetan chanting, certain styles of flute playing, and the didgeridoo, to name a few. They found that nearly every known ancient culture utilizes "multiphonic" sounds on various instruments/voices as a means of cracking, or opening, the space of the spirit world, so it can be accessed from the physical world.
Jen Baker projects her trombone into the far reaches of the conceivable, redefining the role of the performer in creative music. Since earning her degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Mills College, she has premiered and/or commissioned dozens of new works in various chamber groups and for solo trombone. As a touring soloist, she performs Lyrical Vibrations, her unique blend of composition and improvisation based on multiphonics. Her first CD, Blue Dreams (2008, Dilapidated Barns) is a collection of these pieces. She has recently performed with TILT Brass in Chris Jonas' Garden for the Intermedia Art festival in Santa Fe NM, and with Pauline Oliveros and Stuart Dempster (Deep Listening Band) for a digital simulation of the very first Deep Listening recording (done in a cistern) at EMPAC, Albany NY. As an improviser, she has performed/recorded with Fred Frith, Cecil Taylor, Dafna Naphtali, Joelle Leandre, Nate Wooley, and Damon Smith, and was featured on the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's Oscar-nominated Encounters at the End of the World. She played in the final performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the Park Avenue Armory (NYC), and as a founding member of both Bang on a Can's Asphalt Orchestra and the musical, Beowulf, A Thousand Years of Baggage, has toured on both coasts and internationally. She performs regularly in the New York City area with a host of classical and new music ensembles, enjoying a variety of classical, multimedia, and avant-garde music. www.baker7jenz.com
David Samas is a composer, cosmologist, poet, painter, performer, philosopher, farmer and father of 4; he is a practitioner and professor of arcane healing technologies and traditional magics- a field which includes massage, herbalism, hypnotherapy, psychoacoustics and shamanism. He has a BFA from the SF Art Institute in conceptual art and an MFA in poetics from the New College of California. As a young man he performed with the SF Boys Chorus, the SF Opera and the SF Symphony with which he won a GRAMMY for the “best classical recording” of 1994.
He currently focuses on inventing instruments and extended vocal techniques. He is the creator of the Superb Metallophone, the Gamelan Piano, the Crystalithaphone, Glassilalia and a number of musical paintings which serve as sets, orchestras and characters for his inventive operas and shadow plays. He uses Tuvan overtone singing and Tibetan deep chanting along with a host of birdsongs, whale songs, howling and polyphonic split tones to weave a dense tapestry of unusual sounds.
check out his invented instruments on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.383195125039619.110511.100000474044278&type=3
or listen to him on soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/david-samas