Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble in concert

Bringing worldly music to us -  Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble

By David Owens

One of the joys of traveling is the chance to hear music of all flavors from distant places. If it wasn't so expensive I'd travel all the time! I do have the good fortune to spend quite a bit of time in Russia and be exposed to all kinds of folk and regional music. Sometimes impromptu concerts as in  the strains of voices rising from the subway from grandmothers singing songs from their childhood.

Or organized as on the "Day of Russian Birch Tree" to hear some traditional music from visiting folks from small villages.  And the music is often accompanied with some moves or folk dances.  The vocal tradition is rich in Russia and extends in influence all the way from Europe to China. Even the Orthodox Church only allows voices, no instruments to interrupt the voice of true faith. A concert in St. Issac's Cathedral is not to be forgotten.  And Russian folk music is just the beginning.

Fortunately, a few groups in the USA have traveled for us and brought a large selection of exotic from traditional and folk traditions from Eastern Europe for our enjoyment.
It is an ancient music that hearkens back to the earliest musical experiences that traveled our of Africa to Siberia and the whole of Europe and Asia.

It is an innate music very mother knows and is passed on for generations.  I can't help but feeling very spiritual when listening to this music and feel a few waves of goosebumps as the emotion of expression makes itself known.

There is a special opportunity to hear two wonderful groups, Kitka, of international reputation and a fledgling group rapidly rising in stature, the Rogue World Ensemble. And even a voice workshop the next day to continue the experience.

Getting to this concert is a lot easier than traveling to Eastern Europe and wandering for days with ears wide open. They are bringing this spirit right to us!

 More music videos  from Kitka

“Kitka’s music: Beautiful, primal women's songs steeped in ancient traditions and inspiration that ring fresh like Spring air after a long Winter.” - David Owens

Kitka vocal arts ensemble

Kitka and their beautiful Eastern European vocal music 

In their words, "Kitka is an American women's vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Dedicated to developing new audiences for music rooted in Balkan, Slavic, and Caucasian women's vocal traditions, Kitka also strives to expand the boundaries of folk song as a living and evolving expressive art form. "

Kitka's activities include an Oakland-based series of concerts and vocal workshops; regional, national, and international touring; programs in the schools; recording, publication, and broadcast projects; master artist residencies.

Kitka: Cradle Songs
Kitka has released eleven critically acclaimed recordings, nine on its own Diaphonica label.
Cradle Songs has been named "One of the Top Ten CDs of 2009" by NPR, and one of the "Most Memorable Internationally-Flavored CDs of 2009" by the Los Angeles Times. 

The  World of Eastern European Lullabies 
Kitka’s Cradle Songs
The mother, the cradle, the voice, and the universe. Melodies born on dry slopes and in deep boreal forests to the joys and sorrows of families from villages in the Russian Far North to Armenia and Greece. 

Rogue World Ensemble

Rogue World Ensemble

A fairly new group in the Rogue Valley, the Rogue World Ensemble is gaining a lot of fans as their  repertoire grows.  They have an infectious good spirit and a strong vocal harmony that would make them a great concert all by themselves.  

Rusalka - Rogue World Ensemble

Rogue World Ensemble celebrates the folk singing traditions of cultures from throughout the globe. The unique vocal qualities and intricate harmonies of the world’s many diverse cultures conveys the complexity of the human heart as uniquely expressed through music. 

"We believe that music is a universal language that transcends borders. Sharing the folk singing traditions of our world brings forth the potential for transformation, connection, and peace."

Rusalka is a women's vocal quartet related to the rogue World Ensemble  that celebrates the musical traditions of Eastern Europe, Israel, Russia and its neighbors.

To have Kitka and the Rogue World Ensemble together is a real treat!

Kitka and Rogue World Ensemble

In Concert April 8, 2011 in Ashland, OR

Friday, April 8, 20118pm
Tickets: $20/advance, $22/door, $10/teens 12-17,
children under 12 are free with paying adult.
Unitarian Fellowship, 4th and C Streets, Ashland



Friday, March 11, 2011

Finding Hope Now

By David Owens

Finding Hope Now is a new  movie creating quite a buzz. And it was  filmed in Fresno!
The movie,  from Skin Mead's screenplay, is based on Pastor Roger Minassian's book, "Gangs to Jobs" published in 2003.

It's a true story about how a local Pastor started a program to take gang kids off the streets of Fresno and prepare them for real jobs. It focuses on Santos, a 16-year-old  kid torn between joining a gang to survive and support his pregnant 14-year-old girlfriend -- and joining Reverend Minassian's program to change his life.

Writer Skin Mead  wrote the screenplay   and is producer
for the movie directed by  Jennifer Tadlock

Skin Mead's screenplay has already won a number of awards
Now the film is showing at film festivals and is sure to gain some notice.
Watch for wide distribution to come soon!

Movie Cast


Skin Mead (screenplay)

More Finding Hope Now  Staff and Cast on IMDB

The book

"Gangs to Jobs” tells how a program  helped transform the auto theft capital of California into a 2000 All-America City.
Inspired to action by the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the Rev. Roger Minassian began a journey from middle class pulpit to “the other America.”

What the author discovered led to the founding of Hope Now For Youth, an award-winning solution to gang crime and violence that since 1993 has placed nearly 1,700 gang members into jobs at 400 businesses, with an amazing 85% success and only 8% recidivism.

Helping us conquer fear most people have of gang members, the author allows the us to understand the causes of negative gang behavior. Minassian is instructive as he integrates stories of successful ex-gang members with practical steps citizens can follow in their own communities.

This book offers hope and a practical method of gang intervention. the book finishes explaining how this highly successful program was started and how it can be implemented elsewhere.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Belly Dancers on F Street, Fresno Chinatown

Rogue Festival in Full Swing

Rogue Festival Belly Dancers in Chinatown
Burlesque and belly dancers bring to life the Full Circle Brewing Company on F Street near the Azteca Theater in Fresno's Chinatown. Ninety-seven performances during the 10-day festivities which includes Art Hop and Mardi Gras.

The Full Circle Brewing Company is a great venue for live acts, almost like a  Rogue Festival Year-round.  Belly dancers and musicians make regular appearances on F Street.

- David Owens

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Twitter for Saxophone lovers

No Twitter for Bill Clinton on the Sax,
maybe he is following these guys ...!

Saxophones that Tweet

Fans of Saxophone music and sax players alike can keep up to the minute with their favorites on Twitter:

Twitter makes it easy to feel the crush of musical talent and get inspired.

Anyone have some more Tweeters to suggest for inspiration?

-David Owens