Happy 1390!

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).”

Continue reading “Happy 1390!”

Experimental Cellos and Cellists

Charlotte Moorman playing Nam June Paik's TV Cello
Charlotte Moorman playing Nam June Paik's TV Cello

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”