Podcast

About the Sarod, the Popular Hindustani Instrument

This episode of Sonosphere features the North Indian instrument, the sarod. One of the most popular instruments in Hindustani music, the sarod’s 20th century master was Indian composer, teacher and musician, Ali Akbar Khan.

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Ali Akbar Khan

440px-Sarod_001We speak with contemporary sarod virtuoso, Ken Zuckerman about mastering the demanding instrument and how he and Khan brought various innovations and inventions to the sound.

Zuckerman  has been called “…one of the world’s most eclectic masters of improvisation.” He completed thirty-seven years of training under the rigorous discipline of India’s legendary sarod master Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, up to the maestro’s passing in June 2009. He also performed with Maestro Khan in numerous concerts in Europe, India, and the United States.

We will hear more from Zuckerman in upcoming episodes on Indian Classical Music. Stay tuned!

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Underscore: Composer Alex Weston

Welcome to Sonosphere’s Underscore series where we highlight composers, artists, creators, and more. This episode we highlight Alex Weston,  a New York-based composer. 

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After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University with a composition degree, he then moved to New York. We’ll discuss his time working as music assistant to composer Philip Glass, helping Glass with various film and concert pieces, while also pursuing his own writing. Weston’s music showcases his wide-ranging influences, combining classical structures along with more modern harmonic language, and electronics.

Weston’s music has also been featured on “The Affair” (Showtime), the Ken Burns-produced documentary “The Emperor of All Maladies” (PBS), and various projects for NBC, Netflix and others. His film scores have premiered at festivals around the world including Sundance, and Slamdance.

He’s had concert works commissioned by the Lyrica Chamber Music Ensemble, the Utah Wind Symphony, MADArt Creative, Ballet in the City, and more, including a recent performance at the John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts.

farewell artThis month he released his score for the Lulu Wang film The Farewell. On this episode we talk with him about his process for The Farewell and his approach to music in film versus his approach to commissioned works for live dance and others. Enjoy this month’s Underscore.

 

Nadah El Shazly

Welcome to Sonosphere! The first artist we present in our 2019 Sound Observation series is Nadah El Shazly, Egyptian composer, musician and producer. She will be performing at Crosstown Arts’ Green Room on May 31st as a part of her first tour in the U.S. We are so excited to have her in Memphis. Artist talk at 7 pm, performance at 8 pm.

Sonosphere spoke briefly with Nadah prior to her show. She talks about collaborating in the Cairo music scene, her debut album and her experiences on her first U.S. tour.

Thanks for listening.

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Drones: A Brief History of Sustained Tones in Music

In this month’s episode of Sonosphere, we focus on the use of drone sounds in music. There is a lot to cover with Drone music, often known as a part of the genre of Minimalism and modern ambient. 

JoannaDemers_Drone_HeaderSonosphere caught up with Joanna Demers, author of Listening Through the Noise: The Aesthetics of Experimental Electronic Music, Drone and Apocalypse, and others. 

We will focus on the drone itself, what is drone music, and the common drone instruments as a continuation of the Birth of Modern Music series on avant-garde, classical music and minimalism.

This episode begins with the evolution of the drone sound as a musical style and aesthetic used in many parts of the world. Join us!

Sound Observations on Afrofuturism: Building Communities

We are ending 2018 on a very inspiring note. We hosted our final Sound Observation series by inviting Chicago-based composer Nicole Mitchell to Memphis.

In this episode, we present Afrofuturism: Building Communities, a panel that explored beyond the concept of Afrofuturism. Memphis based Publisher and Author Sheree Renee Thomas led the discussion featuring Nicole Mitchell, and a few Memphians, including Producer/Performer and CEO of James Dukes aka “IMAKEMADBEATS,” Author/ Publisher Troy Wiggins, and Emcee, Teacher, and Author Danian Jerry.

IMG_7139They went beyond explaining afrofuturism and talked about how afrofuturism exists as much in the present as in the past and future. They also discussed how it can be used as a tool to help the community and build worlds that fit a black narrative.

Stay tuned to the next episode featuring Nicole Mitchell’s performance at Crosstown Arts.

Thank you for a wonderful year. Sit back and enjoy this fulfilling conversation. 

Unapologetic: A Conversation at Dirty Socks Studios

This episode Sonosphere visits Dirty Socks Studios, which is the base camp for Unapologetic. The studio is a sanctuary for those who dare to commit to their craft. The theme is dedication to yourself and your mission. unapologeticV5-copy-300x295

Unapologetic is a collective that looks to push Memphis forward. The collective is a cast of characters that are as odd as their aliases. Lead by IMAKEMADBEATS, Unapologetic has put the city on notice. Memphis has the reputation that you have to leave to make it in most industries especially music. Non-Memphians tend to capitalize on the “Memphis Sound,”

Unapologetic is changing that notion. This starts in Dirty Socks Studios where we will pick up our conversation.

okkyung lee

Korean cellist, composer, and improviser, Okkyung Lee talks with Sonosphere about her time at this year’s Big Ears festival in Knoxville, TN, working with Evan Parker, learning to love the cello, and what’s in store for her this year.

 

 

Join us!

 

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Okkyung Lee performing at Big Ears Knoxville 2018

Remix Memphis: The Sounds around the City

This episode Sonosphere dives into Remix Memphis with Alex Greene and Luis Seixas, two Memphis musicians that make the duo The E.G.G.G.

Remix Memphis grew out of a partnership with the Urban Arts Commission and the city of Memphis’ 3.0 comprehensive planning initiative that worked to solicit participation from community leaders, residents and planners to inform future land use and neighborhood plans for the city.

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Alex Greene demonstrating the sounds of Memphis at the Carpenter Art Garden.

Art was an important piece. As a musician Alex was interested in the sounds of the city. He talks with us about the process and how The E.G.G.G. and other local musicians are using the field recordings from Remix Memphis.

Enjoy the episode and if your interested in learning more about the recordings email: remix.memphis@gmail.com

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The E.G.G.G. performing at the Cove in May 2018

Sound Observations with Maria Chavez & Christina Carter

In this month’s episode we highlight Sonosphere’s Sound Observations series. Sound Observations is a quarterly performance and lecture series featuring experimental artists from around the nation.

We were honored to host turntablist and DJ Maria Chavez, and vocalist and musician  Christina Carter of The Charalambides on May 11, 2018.

Maria and Christina’s site specific works took place in the atrium of the Crosstown Concourse building, an old Sears Roebuck building retrofitted for art galleries, residential and commercial spaces. The result is echoing vocals and scratchy, vinyl sounds that swirl up a red staircase to the entrance of the stage.

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Enjoy this Sound Observations performance in this month’s episode below.

 

To hear about Maria’s performance in Marfa, TX a few years ago, tune into an earlier episode on the Marfa Myths festival! 

 

Kai Riedl: Moogfest Continued…

“….the synthesis of music, art and technology.”

Moogfest continued… brings you a brief interview with Kai Riedl, Operations Director at Moogfest. He says this festival seeks to bring new forms of creativity, form communities around art and technology, and create spaces for artists of all inclinations, genres, subcultures and movements.

Although it seems timely to showcase female and non-binary artists this year, according to Kai, Moogfest has had a history of being an inclusive festival.

Check out the interview below!

 

Tracks in the episode:

Smerz – Worth It

Caterina Barbieri – Information Needed to Create

Mouse on Mars – Dimensional People I

Jon Hopkins – Singularity

Michael Stipe – Everything’s Coming Undone

And don’t miss the past episodes we posted on this year’s Moogfest participants Tess Roby and Delta Sound Labs.