12 02 2018

IMG_4449Loud live music ricocheting down the stairs and out into the street, the hubbub of many conversation, food and drink – in the LIBRARY (no ‘shhh’ here!!) It was the opening of Pierre Sylvain’s art show Fantastical Journey: voodoo, slavery jazz! at Middletown’s Russell Library. Pierre (who lives in Middletown with his wife, son, and daughter) is a Haitian native who paints about his home country, and the culture and music of African Americans in the United States. His styles and colors vary, but his passion and energy come through all his work. The paintings are on display in the main lobby and upstairs near the information desk through March 31 during regular Russell Library hours, 123 Broad Street, Middletown.

Womens art

Katherine Bradford

The space in the Zilkha gallery on Wesleyan University’s campus is currently housing paintings by six New York City women (Gina Beavers, Katherine Berhnardt, Katherine Bradford, Jackie Gendel, Liz Markus, and Rose Wylie) in a show entitled A New Subjectivity: Figurative Painting After 2000, curated by Jason Stopa. Staff who unpacked the works said the shipping materials were as varied as the content. The exhibit runs through Sunday, March 4 during regular gallery hours: Tuesday, noon-7p, Wed-Sun noon-5p. Walk-through available February 13 at 4:30pm and guided tours on Saturdays at 1m. All events are free and open to the public.

Music from East Asia, Wesleyan University

7 12 2017

3 December 6, 2017

I had heard Asian music in Chinese restaurants. But it wasn’t until I attended a concert at Wesleyan many years ago that I realized (true confessions) that the tangy twang, minor-key sound was actually produced by unique different instruments then western instruments. This year’s Wesleyan concert included performances from three distinct Asian music classes.

11.03.17 Asian music orchestra

Director Ender Terwilliger introduced the instruments of the Chinese Music Ensemble and provided an opportunity to hear one’s sound and characteristic. For example, the number of strings on an instrument ranged from 2 to 108! The dizi (a type of flute) added an enticing, charming, and poignant sound that echoed, danced, and tied into musical patterns of the rest of the orchestra.

The Korean Drumming and Creative Music students provided less traditional music, directed by Jin Hi, Kim, who soloed on the electronic komungo (a zither; Jimi Hendrix would have felt at home with its sound).  Another soloist, Poorya Pakshir played the Iranian tonbak (a type of drum).  The inclusion of a dance, performed by Celine Tao, amidst the drummers highlighted and augmented the rhythm

11.03.17 TaikoThe first time I attended Taiko drumming, I was taken by surprise. Held in a small concert hall, 20 students stood in front of their drums and, at the appropriate time, whaled on them, to the point of startling everyone from their seats. It reminded me of sitting at the side of the parade, with bass drums vibrations cursing throughout your body, massaging and stirring each organ.

In this larger performance space, the sound fills the area but it’s slightly less dramatic. Over the years I’ve noticed that students and instructors have advanced to some really fine tuning and sophisticated drumming patterns. Director Barbara Merjan described some history and construction of the drums, which provided opportunity for additional appreciation.