A Klingon Christmas Carol 2013 is nearing the end!

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Members of bomwI'pu' (the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project) with SQuja' at the Cincinnati Klingon Christmas Carol

Members of bomwI’pu’ (the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project) with SQuja’ at the Cincinnati Klingon Christmas Carol

I’ve made a couple of appearances at this year’s Cincinnati run of A Klingon Christmas Carol as a Klingon.  While most of you folks already know I do this–and have been doing this for some time now–it has been a pleasure to see the production by a different group of folks and company.

Though it is with some sadness that I’ve had to tell folks that the Cincinnati run is done (since last Sunday) and that the Chicago run has been sold out for the last week till closing night (this Sunday) it is with some honor that I can say that last year’s Chicago run is available on DVD–so win much honor now and get your own copy as this will be the only way to see the show until next year!  Of course, the musical score is written by me and recorded by my Klingon band, il Troubadore.

You can hear some snippets from the score here:

https://soundcloud.com/jon-silpyamanant/sets/klingon-music

Closing night was particularly fun as Joe Patti of Butts in the Seats actually drove a couple of hours to see the us and the show–read about his thoughts here.  On top of that, Drew McManus also gives a shout out to the me and the show.

j'onn with Joe Patti, director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University, and author of the "Butts In the Seats" blog.

j’onn with Joe Patti, director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University, and author of the “Butts In the Seats” blog.

And what can beat meeting the creator of the Klingon Langauge, Marc Okrand, during opening night of the Cincy production?

The Il Troubadore Klingon Music Project with the creator of the Klingon Language, Marc Okrand, after playing during the opening night of the Cincinnati Klingon Christmas Carol!

The Il Troubadore Klingon Music Project with the creator of the Klingon Language, Marc Okrand, after playing during the opening night of the Cincinnati Klingon Christmas Carol!

In other news, I finally got to see this clip of the video of our performance with the Wookiee Bellydancer as it aired on Channel 4 in the UK during the “50 Funniest Moments of 2012″–I’ve uploaded the clip to our youtube:

Strangely (or maybe appropriately?) enough, they’ve dubbed over our music with some Bollywood tune, but here, you can hear the song in the original Shyriiwook in the viral video from that performance in Chicago last year here:

I imagine this coming year will only be geekier than 2013, so don’t worry–I’m sure more photo and video documentation of the  strangeness that is my geeky musical life will continue to appear and if I have anything to say about it!

on Klingon weddings and playing the Sci-Fi/Fantasy circuit

Jon Silpayamanant as a Klingon performing before a production of The Pirates of Penzance (in Outer Space)

Jon Silpayamanant as a Klingon performing before a production of The Pirates of Penzance (in Outer Space) in New Albany, Indiana.

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, there is an embarrassment of riches as far as performing options are concerned, if you’re willing to think outside the box.  The past few years I’ve been playing the Sci-Fi/Fantasy circuit.  I hesitate to call it the “Sci-Fi/Fantasy Convention circuit” if only because some of the best paying gigs I’ve gotten recently happen to be at organizations outside of the Convention circuit proper.

And some of that has started to creep into the so-called ‘high arts’ realm with organizations such as Symphony Orchestras playing themed shows dedicated to particular Sci-Fi or Fantasy franchises (e.g. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars) as part of their pops seasons.

On the whole, however, there’s always been music at conventions–even if it only consisted of filk music.  Part of the Klingon schtick is as much act as play and the idea came to me as a whim after il Troubadore started playing Sci-Fi conventions at the request of some bellydancers.  We decided we needed our own act and schtick, thus was born the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project.

Ok, so I talk about the short series of events from bellydancer request to Sci-Fi convention to developing a full blown Klingon Band personae as if it’s an everyday thing.  But seriously, for me, it is.

That’s the specific issue at hand here.  Over the years I’ve heard all manner of musicians grouse about the lousy economy and the lack of work.  And here, I’m talking primarily about those musicians who do not hold full time or professional positions as musicians–this includes freelancers, but also just your normal everyday band musician.  I know I’ve brought up this issue plenty of times in the past, but don’t want to flood this post with a ton of links.

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Performance: Greek Islands Hafla

If you are reading this, it’s because it was written earlier today and set to future post as I will be performing at the Greek Islands Restaurant in Indianapolis when this autoposts.  The group I’ll be playing with is one I co-founded with vocalist and mandolinist, Robert Bruce Scott, in May of 2004, il Troubadore.  Rather than give you my bad prose description of us or repost our bio from the website url I just linked, the image below, from the Indianapolis Star written by David Lindquist could just as easily condense what we’re about.

il Troubadore in the Indianapolis Star

We will be hosting our monthly World Music and Dance night at the Greek Islands Restaurant in Indianapolis, a business run by the Stergiopoulos family since 1987.  We call the monthly event the Greek Islands Hafla.  The Arabic word, hafla, means “party” but in connection with bellydance communities it has taken on a life of its own.  This is a description from Shira.net website:

Hafla. (Pronounced “HAHF lah”.) This basically refers to a party. A private hafla thrown by a belly dancer usually involves Middle Eastern music (sometimes live musicians jamming, sometimes just taped music), dancers taking turns performing for each other, and some open-floor dancing for everyone to get up and enjoy the music. A more public hafla may be effectively a full belly dance festival, with vendors selling their wares and a more formalized stage show.

The local bellydancers in the Central Indiana area know the Greek Islands Hafla as a bellydance night though we do occasionally have some folk dancers that pop in from time to time.

I’ll probably be there until about midnight or so so won’t get a chance to post today hence the autopost.  And for you perusal, here’s a video of us performing at Kira’s Oasis in the Dayton, Ohio area (11 September 2009) for a fabulous dancer, Sherena, who used to be a member of the internationally touring Bellydance Superstars.  The tune is a Greek Laika by Manos Hadjidakis called Milise Mou (“Talk to Me”) and a favorite of our bellydancers.

Performance: Indianapolis Artsgarden

Carenza and il Troubadore

Carenza bint Asya (u.l.) with il Troubadore: Robert Bruce Scott (u.r.) & Jon Silpayamanant (bottom)

If you are reading this, it’s because it was written earlier today and set to future post as I will be performing at the Indianapolis Artsgarden in Indianapolis when this autoposts.  The group I’ll be playing with is one I co-founded with vocalist and mandolinist, Robert Bruce Scott, in May of 2004, il Troubadore.

We’ll be performing with one of our most frequent and long term collaborators bellydancer, Carenza bint Asya, in one of the coolest venues in Indianapolis.  Basically, it’s a giant glass dome settled above Washington and Illinois Street in downtown Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis Artsgarden provides a magnificent environment for more than 300 free performances and exhibits each year. The Artsgarden also houses the Cultural Concierge, a centralized source for free maps, ticket information, visitor guides, directions and more for Indianapolis arts events. The facility is available for rental to non-profit, corporate and government organizations, as well as for wedding receptions. Owned and operated by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, this seven-story-tall glass enclosed structure offers a spectacular view of the city.

Built in 1995, the Indianapolis Artsgarden stands 17 feet above the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets and connects to the Embassy Suites complex, the Conrad Hotel, and Circle Centre Mall. It is linked by the indoor skywalk to the Hyatt Regency, Canterbury, Omni, Westin, Marriott and the Indianapolis Convention Center.

Indianapolis Artsgarden

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Thursday Rehearsal Reflections: Ahel El Nagam

Ahel El Nagam

Ahel El Nagam performing at Shiraz Mediterranean Grill in Louisville 24 July 2009

Tonight I’ll be rehearsing with one of my other bands, Ahel El Nagam (yes, the website is very much in need of updating–I’ll get to that when I have a chance-hah!).  We bill ourselves as Louisville’s Classical Arabic Band as most of our repertoire consists of, well, Classical Egyptian tunes as well as a number of folk and traditional tunes from Turkey, Armenia, Iraq, Andalusia, Israel and other countries and regions from the Middle East.  Ahel El Nagam means, roughly, “People of the Tune.”

The group formed sometime in the middle of 2007 and I believe my first performance with them was sometime during the Spring of 2008.  At it’s formation the group was four members strong with an instrumentation that ranged from oud, tabla (Egyptian tabla), flute/bellydance, electric sitar/mandolin.  The first couple of shows I played with them (with cello) we had a five member group.

Sadly, we’ve slowly lost “full time” members as folks move on, or move out of the area, or whatever.  The majority of the shows we’ve played the past couple of years have been pretty much what you see in the photo above, me on tabla (or cello) and Denise on oud (or tabla/riqq).  We’d both been far too busy the past few months to rehearse much less play a show, though with some upcoming gigs in the works we’re getting together for the first time since last fall (I believe). Continue reading