The Just Alap Raga Ensemble
Pandit Pran Nath 10th Anniversary Memorial Tribute
Concerts in the MELA Dream House
Saturdays, June 17 and 24, 9 pm
La Monte Young, voice
Marian Zazeela, voice
Jung Hee Choi, voice
Da'ud Constant, voice
Charles Curtis, cello
Brad Catler, tabla
The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD
MELA Foundation Dream House
275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, between Franklin & White Streets in Tribeca
Saturdays, June 17 and 24, 2006, 9 pm
Admission $24. MELA Members, Seniors, Student ID, $18.
Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended.
Info and reservations: 212-219-3019; email@example.com.
Two Concerts of Evening Ragas in the contemporary Kirana Style of North Indian Classical Music will be performed by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela with The Just Alap Raga Ensemble in a memorial tribute to Pandit Pran Nath on the 10th anniversary of his passing, Saturdays, June 17 and 24, at 9 pm in the MELA Foundation Dream House light environment, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor. PLEASE NOTE: The Dream House will be closed on Thursdays and Saturdays, June 15, 17, 22 and 24 to prepare for the scheduled concerts.
Pandit Pran Nath, who passed away on June 13, 1996, virtually introduced the vocal tradition of North Indian classical music to the West in 1970. His 1971 morning performance at Town Hall, New York City, was the first concert of morning ragas to be presented in the U.S. Subsequently, he introduced and elaborated to Western audiences the concept of performing ragas at the proper time of day by scheduling entire series of concerts at special hours. Many students and professional musicians came to him in America to learn about the vast system of raga and to improve their musicianship. In 1972, Pran Nath established his own school in New York City under the direction of his disciples La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, the Kirana Center for Indian Classical Music, now a project of MELA Foundation. Over the years he performed hundreds of concerts in the west, scores of them in New York City, and in Fall 1993, he inaugurated the MELA Foundation Dream House with three Raga Cycle concerts. He continued to perform here annually during his remaining years and on May 12 and 17, 1996, his two concerts of Afternoon and Evening Ragas in the Dream House were his last public performances.
Pran Nath's majestic expositions of the slow alap sections of ragas combined with his emphasis on perfect intonation and the clear evocation of mood had a profound impact on Western contemporary composers and performers. Following Young and Zazeela, minimalist music composer Terry Riley became one of his first American disciples. Fourth-world trumpeter Jon Hassell, jazz all?stars Don Cherry and Lee Konitz, composers Jon Gibson, Yoshimasa Wada, Rhys Chatham, Michael Harrison and Allaudin Mathieu, Sufi Pir Shabda Kahn, mathematician and composer Christer Hennix, concept artist and violinist Henry Flynt, dancer Simone Forti, and many others took the opportunity to study with the master.
Pandit Pran Nath has said, "Alap is the essence of Raga. When the drut [faster tempo] begins, the Raga is finished." With the Just Alap ensemble, La Monte Young applies his own compositional approach to traditional raga performance, form and technique: a pranam (bow) of gratitude in reciprocation for the influence on his music, since the mid-fifties, of the unique, slow, unmetered timeless alap, and for one of the most ancient and evolved vocal traditions extant today. Featuring extended alap sections and sustained vocal drones in just intonation over tamburas, Young and Zazeela premiered this ensemble on August 22, 2002 in a memorial tribute to Ustad Hafizullah Khan, the Khalifa of the Kirana Gharana and son of Pandit Pran Nath’s teacher, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan Sahib.
La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela will be accompanied by Jung Hee Choi and Da'ud Constant, voices, Charles Curtis, cello, Brad Catler, tabla, and The Tamburas of Pandit Pran Nath from the Just Dreams CD. The Just Alap ensemble will present the continuing avant-premiere of a new composition by La Monte Young, “Raga Sundara,” a vilampit khayal set in Raga Yaman Kalyan, composed under a commission grant from the NYSCA Individual Artists Program.
In The Hindustan Times (2003), Shanta Serbjeet Singh wrote:
“[Young and Zazeela] would create works like the “Just Alap Raga Ensemble” which would amaze musicians of the caliber of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj or the Gundecha brothers were they to hear it. In fact I wish they would hear it and savour their own legacy of Indian classical music in two new ways, one, by way of the Youngs’ immense sadhna and two, by way of the fact that today the great art of Hindustani Shastriya sangeet has actually become so much a part of the world of music. Did not the ancients say: Vasudeva Kumutbhakam—the world is a family? A work like “Just Raga Ensemble” actually proves it.”
In the article, “PRAN NATH, LA MONTE YOUNG AND MARIAN ZAZEELA, TALES OF EXEMPLARY GURU BHAKTI,” SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) quarterly magazine "The Eye," it is noted:
“He [Young] is a master of Hindustani classical music. La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, founders of the MELA Foundation Dream House in New York are responsible for having single-handedly introduced vocal Hindustani classical music to America. In 1970 when they brought renowned master vocalist Pandit Pran Nath of the Kirana Gharana to the U.S. and became his first Western disciples, studying with him for twenty-six years in the traditional gurukula manner of living with the guru, Americans and Westeners only had a nodding acquaintance with Indian music, that too, only instrumental music through the performing tours of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Also some introduction to Indian rhythm techniques through the charismatic playing of Pandit Chatur Lal, the tabla player who always accompanied Ravi Shankar through the sixties. But the deep, unfathomable intricacies of Khayal Gayaki and of the whole cosmos of Alap were totally unknown to them. Indeed, as his many American shishyas, most of them practicing musicians themselves, would say later, even unimaginable. Young and Zazeela, who taught the Kirana style and performed with Pandit Pran Nath since 1970 in hundreds of concerts in India, Iran, Europe and the United States, have continued their Guru’s work in the most exemplary manner. In June 2002, shortly before he died, Khalifa Hafizullah Khan Sahib, Ustad Wahid Khan Sahib’s son and a great sarangi master, conferred on Young the title of Khan Sahib.”
Admission is $24 / $18 MELA members; seniors; students with ID. Limited seating. Advance reservations recommended. For further information and reservations 212-219-3019, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.melafoundation.org
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE CONCERTS WILL BE RECORDED LIVE AND AIR CONDITIONING WILL NOT BE USED BECAUSE OF THE NOISE IT PRODUCES ON THE RECORDINGS. AS A RESULT, THE SPACE WILL BE VERY HUMID AND WITH LITTLE AIR CIRCULATION. THE LIGHT ENVIRONMENT AT THIS TIME OF YEAR CAN MAKE CONCERTS IN THE DREAM HOUSE EXTREMELY HOT. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND IF YOU ARE OVERLY SENSITIVE TO ANY OF THESE CONDITIONS. DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY. WE INVITE YOU TO ATTEND THE NOVEMBER PANDIT PRAN NATH 88TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE CONCERTS (DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED) FOR A MORE COMFORTABLE CONCERT ENVIRONMENT.
MELA's programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency and generous contributions from individuals and MELA Members.
IRA COHEN'S "THE INVASION OF THUNDERBOLT PAGODA" DVD -- SHIPPING IN JUNE 2006
High-quality transfer from the original 16mm film, with color correction supervised by the director
The legendary soundtrack, newly remastered by Tim Barnes, featuring The Universal Mutant Repertory Company (Loren Standlee, Ziska Baum, Angus MacLise, Raja Samyana, Tony Conrad, Henry Flynt, Hetty MacLise and Jackson MacLow)
Two new, never-before-released alternative soundtracks to "Invasion" by Sunburned Hand of the Man and Acid Mothers Temple SWR (Tsuyama Altsushi, Yoshida Tatsuya and Kawabata Makoto)
16-page commemorative booklet featuring mylar photography and poetry by Ira Cohen and Angus MacLise, and critical texts by Ian Macfadyen and Allan Graubard
"Brain Damage," a new film directed by Ira Cohen and produced by BASTET created from never-before-seen original 16mm outtakes, featuring a new soundtrack composed by Will Swofford with the Expanded Instrument System
"From The Mylar Chamber," an original slideshow of 60 mylar photographs with soundtrack by Angus MacLise and original poetry by Ira Cohen.
Director's Commentary track by Ira Cohen
Ira Cohen: "It was in 1968, the year before Woodstock, between the giant bottle of liquid mercury Tony Conrad found in a doorway on 42nd St. and the Mylar chamber, we experienced a shared voyage conceived in three parts: The Opium Dream, Shaman and Heavenly Blue Mylar Pavilions, an alchemical journey born of out common consciousness -- culminating in the akashic bindu drop swirling in the sky's reflected azure. No minimalism here, but a maximalist adventure . . ."
J. Hoberman in the Mar. 16, 2006 Village Voice:"Part 'Dr. Strange,' part 'Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,' ['The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda' is] so High '60s that you emerge from its 20-minute vision perched full-lotus on a cloud of incense, chatting with a white rabbit and smoking a banana.... 'Invasion' is a languidly opiated costume ball in which an assortment of masked and painted bohos, some sporting outsize elf ears, loll about a candlelit, Mylar-lined set, blowing soap bubbles and nibbling majoon. ...In lieu of action, Cohen uses all manner of superimposition and prismatic image-splitting; his big effect, however, is the deliquescent Mylar reflection. What saves 'Invasion' from preciosity is the vague menace of Angus MacLise's improvised pan-piping, tabla-tapping, creature-yipping score. Although this masterpiece of Tibetan-Moroccan-Druidic trance music was reissued on CD several years ago, it truly blossoms in conjunction with the exotic smorgasbord served at Cohen's psychedelicatessen."
"The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda" DVD ships June 2006 in NTSC format only.
USA - $29.95 postpaid
Canada - $34.95 postpaid
World - $39.95 airmail
Great weekend in London!
Thanks to Maureen, Tony, Sylvia, Gardar Steve and Banks of course.
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