- In the Kansas City Star’s “Dear Abby” column, the author writes about the importance of community in bringing kids up in music.
- Speaking about musical community, UK-based Music Makers Academy is putting together a new subscription plan to offer more support to musicians and foster greater community.
- Last weekend the Great Falls Symphony performed a program entitled “iSymphony Shuffle,” featuring guest violinist Jenny Oaks Baker and a diverse mix of classical, popular, and Disney-featured tunes!
- This interesting article explores the psychology of the music major, and the perspective that the many hours they spend in practice halls and rooms are well worth the effort. Do you agree?
- A fascinating new software product is designed to revolutionize the way people learn music and how to play musical instruments.
Finally, the Kronos Quartet, well known for its constant innovative breakthroughs in music, is teaming up with a virtuoso collaborator from Kabul – Homayun Sakhi. This is a phenomenal story that shows the ways in which music can bridge the cultural and societal divide between two countries separated by more than just distance.
Victoria writer Esi Edugyan has made quite a splash—including multiple book-prize nominations—for her novel Half-Blood Blues, about black jazz musicians living under Nazi terror at the start of the Second World War. Though based on historical fact, her book is fiction. Afghan performer Homayun Sakhi, though, has lived through some remarkably similar episodes, and not too long ago. Under the fundamentalist zealots of the Taliban, the reigning master of the guitarlike rubâb’s public appearances were banned, and his life was definitely at risk. Eventually, like the jazz musicians in Edugyan’s book, he had to make a dangerous nighttime border crossing, his instrument concealed in the trunk of a car, to reach safety—first in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, and more recently in California.
Remarkably, he’s not bitter about his troubles.
Speaking through an interpreter from his Bay Area home, Sakhi contends that his exile has been “the most positive choice I’ve made”, in that it’s helped him grow as an artist, through connections he never would have made had he remained at home in Kabul. And for proof of that, we need only look at the concerts he’s giving this month, which find him in the company of both his own trio, with percussionists Salar Nader and Abbos Kosimov, and the esteemed avant-garde string quartet Kronos. Unusually, both bands will play separate sets, and then all seven musicians will come together to play Sakhi’s Rangin Kaman, a half-hour-long composition that combines European chamber music, Afghan modes, and a good dash of spirited improvisation.
According to Kronos violinist David Harrington, the collaboration came about through a happy accident, but is blossoming into something more.