Yes, it’s Nowrūz–the Persian New Year. Last year I had the pleasure of playing a Nowrūz party for a Bahá’í congregation. The best part of that–other than getting to eat traditional Persian food and desserts (yum)–was getting to hear two fabulous Persian Classical musicians. In MUNCIE, Indiana of all places! Here’s a short video I took of Ehsan and Behrouz Kousari (Santour and Zarb, respectively):
il Troubadore ended the celebration, but I could have just listened to the Kousari brothers forever! It turns out that Ehsan Kousari is also a Santour builder–there’s a short documentary of him at the EVIA (Ethnographic Video for Instruction & Analysis) Digital Archive in a collection titled “Indiana Musical Instrument Makers and their Craft: Field Interviews and Demonstrations (2005).”
Some time ago I had started a community on livejournal (back in January of 2003) called “Avantcello.” It was a space for folks interested in non-standard cello practice to post their interest or work. I had given a number talks on Experimental cellos and cellists over the years up till that point and wanted to have some place to connect with folks who were interested since I wasn’t really finding any sort of community at the Internet Cello Society forums interested in this kind of thing.
Back in the mid to late 90s I was really experimenting a lot with cello. I was heavily into improvisation and started performing my own house concert series doing works by some of the “Academic Avant-Garde” composers and Fluxus artists as well as getting into electronics and amplification. I pretty much quit playing [the cello] by 1997 and got involved with the non-academic Experimental and Noise Music scene.
I toured around a bit and did a number of Performance Art shows (another interest I had at the time) as well as multi-media performances involving Experimental video that I was starting to do. In the end, some of that was becoming unsatisfying as well though I enjoyed the journey. The cello was starting to call me back. Continue reading “Experimental Cellos and Cellists”→