Laetitia Sonami; Real Vocal String Quartet
Programmed by Sarah Cahill
May 7, 2010
Wobbly (DJ Set)
Jon Leidecker performs his own music under the pseudonym Wobbly, but given that much of his music is made out of thousands of samples of other people’s music, the difference between a set of his own music and a DJ set is only a matter of pacing. Tonight, Monteverdi, Mbuti Pygmies, Emmanuelle Parrenin, Laurie Spiegel, Hardfloor at half speed, Gérard Grisey, Xenakis, and Ravel, glued together with field recordings of a cappella music from around the globe, will be projected into the three-story-high atrium of the Berkeley Art Museum.
Laetitia Sonami; Real Vocal String Quartet
Ghost Rivers, installation by Laetitia Sonami
Performance by Dustin Schultz and Jacqueline Gordon
Large cardboard tubes found abandoned in a San Francisco construction site become the exposed nerves of our sonic environment in this new installation and performance by composer, performer, and sound artist Laetitia Sonami. The sound installation, adapted to the architecture of the Berkeley Art Museum, is made of clusters of these tubes, some of which spring up to the ceiling, defying immobility and gravity. Sounds flow momentarily through the hollow nerves, bringing to the surface the “here and there” of our sonic environment together with the imagined sounds of our fantasies.
About Laetitia Sonami
Composer, performer, and sound installation artist Laetitia Sonami was born in France and settled in the United States in 1975 to pursue her interest in the emerging field of electronic music. Sonami’s work combines text, music, and “found sound” in compositions that have been described as “performance novels.” Her sound installations combine audio and kinetic elements embedded in ubiquitous objects. Sonami has performed at numerous festivals across the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, and China. Her awards include the Alpert Award in the Arts (2002), a Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Award (2000), a Creative Work Fund Award (2000), and a Studio PASS-Harvestworks residency (2001). Sonami is a guest lecturer at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College.
Real Vocal String Quartet
Kitchen Girls, by Dina Maccabee
An inventive melding of the Appalachian tune “Kitchen Girl” with a bass-heavy rhythmic tune from the southern Sahara band, Tinariwen.
Chorale, by Irene Sazer
Informed by Bach and jazz harmonies, this piece is both played and sung.
Green Bean Stand, by Irene Sazer
The Brazilian tradition of playing and singing in unison, most often heard with guitar and vocal, inspired the inception of this tune. The piece features cello and violin improvised solos.
Elephant Dreams, by Alisa Rose
This piece began as a fiddle tune that grew beyond the bluegrass band it was originally for and invited in baroque harmonies and a wild Vivaldi-esque violin solo.
Farewell to Spring, by Dina Maccabee
First recorded by Ramon and Jessica, another stunning ensemble of Dina’s with Jesse Olsen, Dina kindly arranged for us this song-poem of flowers set to pizzicato and arco filigree in the strings.
Falling Polska, by Roger Tallroth, arranged by Alisa Rose
This piece is written by the guitarist of the Swedish traditional music band, Vasen. The polska is a Nordic folk dance.
Kothbiro, by Ayub Ogada, arranged by Irene Sazer
Written by the Kenyan artist, Ayub Ogada, and recorded with vocals and his nyatiti, a lyre-like stringed instrument, this treatment strives to capture his authentic sound.
We call this small set of completely improvised movements Now, because that is when we make them up.
Darling, by Irene Sazer
A sweet and lyrical love song, the strings become the band for lead vocals and harmonies.
Sweet Honey Bee, by Duke Pearson, arranged by Irene Sazer
Recorded on Blue Note Records, this is a sweet 1960s cool jazz tune from the great American jazz pianist and composer, Duke Pearson. The group adds its own vocal touches.
Fonte Abandonada-Passatempo, by Pixinguinha, arranged by Irene Sazer
A choro is a cry or lament in Portuguese and is a style of Brazilian popular music from the early part of the last century. The music also expresses much joy. The choro is sometimes referred to as Brazilian ragtime. The composer, born in 1897, was a renowned flautist, composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor.
About Real Vocal String Quartet
Formed in 2003 by violinist Irene Sazer (known for her work with the Turtle Island String Quartet), and featuring violinist Alisa Rose, violinist/violist Dina Maccabee, and cellist Jessica Ivry, the Real Vocal String Quartet sings and plays simultaneously. The group’s influences range from traditional American string band music to contemporary improvisation, from Brazilian folk rhythms to hypnotic meditations from West Africa. Through it all, the threads of spine-tingling vocal and instrumental harmony and fearless, inspired improvisation weave a web of original acoustic music played with a deep groove. The quartet performs to sold-out audiences around the Bay Area and released its first studio album earlier this year.
About the Programmer
Sarah Cahill, recently called “as tenacious and committed an advocate as any composer could dream of” by Joshua Kosman in the San Francisco Chronicle, has commissioned, premiered, and recorded numerous compositions for solo piano. Composers who have dedicated music to her include John Adams, Terry Riley, Frederic Rzewski, Pauline Oliveros, Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. Cahill is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory and hosts a weekly music show on KALW. She also curates the annual Garden of Memory summer solstice concert, which she started in 1995, at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland.
The BAM/PFA galleries are open until 9 p.m. on most Fridays, with drinks and DJs in the lobby starting at 6 p.m., and an array of performances and other programs in Gallery B at 7:30 p.m. Guest programmers include Sarah Cahill, Franklin Melendez, Anne Colvin, and BAM/PFA film curators Kathy Geritz and Steve Seid. For information on upcoming events and to buy advance tickets, visit bampfa.berkeley.edu/late.
L@TE is made possible in part by Bank of America, the Tin Man Fund, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees. Special thanks to our media sponsors, East Bay Express and San Francisco Bay Guardian.