A free noon concert series presented by the American Folklife Center and the Music Division at the Library of Congress in cooperation with the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. All concerts are in the Coolidge Auditorium.
Aubrey Ghent has been playing guitar and sacred lap steel for over thirty-eight years. The steel guitar was first introduced to the House of God Church by Aubrey's uncle, Willie Eason, during the 1940s. Willie taught Aubrey's father, Henry Nelson, who played for more than 50 years in the church and around the United States. Aubrey was greatly influenced by his uncle and father. He began learning the instrument at age six and playing for church services at age nine. He has continued his great family legacy of the lap steel style for thirty-eight years and has been named the "Master Lap Steel Guitarist." Ghent recorded on the Arhoolie roots label for six years and has several recorded selections on each of the label's Sacred Steel volumes.
Two first place World Hoop Dance Champions have joined together to model and dance a vision of male and female balance, harmony and respect as traditionally practiced by their ancestors. Dallas Chief Eagle, Rosebud Sioux tribal member, and Jasmine Pickner of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe are both world-traveled hoop dancers. They share with audiences an ancient hoop dance story outlining sacred hoop wisdom.
Dallas Chief Eagle is a member of the Rosebud Lakota (Sioux) Nation and master of the Hoop Dance. For Dallas, the Hoop Dance is more than a dance; it is a way of keeping Lakota traditions alive. The ancient and honorable tradition of the Hoop Dance explains the Plains Indian world view as the hoops intersect and grow into ever more complex shapes, always and forever returning to the beginning. His twenty-seven hoops represent the different colors and sizes of trees, which, to Dallas, also represent the diversity of life. His ornate dance regalia itself resembles a tree, with animals on its branches - a porcupine roach and eagle feather on his head, fur on his legs and dragonfly beadwork on his "trunk." As with the Lakota word can' gleska which means both "spotted hoop" and "tree," the two come together closely for Dallas, who demonstrates the power of this symbolism in his intricate hoop dance.
Jasmine Pickner, a member of the Crow Creek Lakota tribe, was encouraged to dance from an early age by her grandmother, Theresa Red Bear. Red Bear brought her family to Mitchell's Corn Palace during the 1950s and 60s to perform. At about age 7, Pickner began hoop dancing, and has become a leading proponent of the form. She is a member of the reigning World Champion hoop dancing team and the adopted daughter of Dallas Chief Eagle. Pickner credits the dancers she saw growing up with enhancing her interest in dancing, as well as the family tradition. She is an accomplished performer, having spent the past eight summers dancing each weekend at the Alex Johnson hotel in Rapid City.
Springing from a group that sang Christmas carols in the Washington area in 1990, Reverb has become one of the area’s outstanding gospel groups. Two-time winners of the Washington Area Music Association’s Wammie Award as the best gospel/inspirational harmony group, Reverb has performed along the East Coast and has toured East and Southern Africa, the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean. They have been featured on C-SPAN, BET, Fox Morning News, the WUSA Morning Show and other television programs. The group is also known for singing the National Anthem for the Washington Nationals baseball team at RFK Stadium, the WNBA Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center, and the NFL Philadelphia Eagles at Veterans Stadium. In 2004, they released "The Mission Statement," a CD which Washington Post music critic Mike Joyce describes as "winning mixture of vocal dexterity, impressive craftsmanship and heartfelt emotion."
Flory Jagoda grew up in the Sephardic tradition in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in a musical family of which she is the sole survivor. A performer for much of her life, she is intent on preserving and passing on the traditions of her heritage so that they may not be lost and tragically forgotten. She has performed throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and with her family, and she has also inspired, taught, and performed with most of the other groups in the U.S. who perform Sephardic songs. Her four recorded albums, Kantikas di mi Nona, Memories of Sarajevo, La Nona Kanta, and Arvoliko (released in 2006), along with her live performances, are acts of cultural preservation and salvage in the face of repeated destruction. Flory’s repertoire is vast, encompassing Sephardic songs, songs in Serbo-Croatian from the former Yugoslavia, Italian folk songs, and her own compositions, many of which have become widely known. Her many honors for cultural preservation include a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002.
Howard Bass has performed throughout the United States as a soloist and has been a guest accompanist with vocal and instrumental ensembles throughout the Washington area and beyond. A founding member of La Rondinella, with whom he made three recordings for the Dorian label, he has also performed and recorded with HESPERUS, the Smithsonian Chamber Players, the Folger Consort, the Baltimore Consort, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington, among others.
Susan Gaeta is a vocalist and guitarist born in Hartford, Connecticut. For eight years she performed jazz and American folk music as a soloist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she also studied and performed Argentine folk music accompanied by classical guitarist Oscar Casares. Susan recently completed an apprenticeship with Flory Jagoda. Susan performs nationally as a soloist, as a member the Sephardic group, Colors of the Flame, and as a guest accompanist for Flory Jagoda.
The Sama Ensemble, founded by Ali Analouei, was formed in 1998 from students of the Center for Classical Persian Music (CPCM). The ensemble (whose name references the best known of the ritual dances of the Sufis, characterized by whirling) The ensemble has performed under the auspices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the National Geographic Society, several Universities, and venues such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Since its founding, the ensemble has attracted professional performers, including Naser Khorasani, a renowned musician and Daf player, who joined Dr. Analouei as co-director of the Sama Ensemble in 2005. For more information please visit www.Sama-Ensemble.com or www.abas110.com
Ali Reza Analouei (Ensemble Master Tombak) was born in Esfahan, Iran. His grandfather, Naser Ali was a renowned Master of Sufism (a worldview and way of life which affirms the noblest aspects of Human character). Inspired by this example, Dr. Analouei has undertaken the lifetime quest to amplify and apply the concepts of Sufism, Erfaan, and music within his playing, his teaching, and his personal development. He has always been inspired by, and closely followed the work and style of Iran's late Master of Tombak, Jahangeer Malek. Over the past two decades Dr. Analouei has played internationally in many concerts and ensembles, including various radio and television shows. He is the founder of the Sama Ensemble, and is currently a member of several important music groups based in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. At the age of ten he began playing Tombak, earning him a prize from Tehran high schools, and then became a member of the Kakh-e Javanaan (youth club) Ensemble.
A member of the American Psychological Association, Naser Khorasani (daf) is a Psychologist specializing in music therapy and meditation. He was born in Tabriz, Iran in 1971. He is a highly respected Master of Persian Classical Music Theory and Practice, and especially of the Daf , which is the musical instrument most used in Persian spiritual practices, as well as the Tanboor.
Other members of the ensemble include: Souri Shirzadi, Giti Abrishami, Hasti Esmaeli, Nazanin Zolriasatein, Audrey Elizabeth, Haydeh Eradat, Puneh Susan Hosseini , Neda Hosseini, Behnaz Bibizadeh, Steve Bloom, and Faribandeh Fayzmehr.
David Ayriyan is the inheritor of a long family tradition in music. He learned to play the violin and the kemancha from his father and from such illustrious masters as Nefton Gregorian. Mr. Ayriyan is a true master with an impressive list of performances both as a soloist and as an instrumentalist with international symphony orchestras. His astounding playing never ceases to enthrall audiences. Mr. Ayirian plays Armenian dance music, and will be accompanied by his son on the dumbek, a Middle Eastern drum. The kemancha is one of the oldest stringed instruments from the Middle East. Played in ancient Persia, it has continued to be used for both classical and popular repertoires in such areas as Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is a three-stringed or four-stringed instrument played with a bow, held upright like a cello.
Sprinkled with stories about life in the Mississippi Delta, the music of James "Super Chikan" Johnson has been heard from Rovigo, Italy to Russia, from Dakar, Senegal to Dayton, Ohio. An energetic and exciting performer in the Delta blues tradition; he offers a variety of original and traditional music, spanning the blues spectrum from country to contemporary. Performing solo or with his band, "The Fighting Cocks," Johnson gives memorable performances to audiences from juke joints to elementary schools. His debut album, Blues Come Home to Roost, received wide critical acclaim, including three Handy Awards. He has released three CDs and was a 2004 recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Robert Schmer (accordion), Dave Beitz (hammered dulcimer), Jerry Hergenreder (trombone, vocals) and Steve Deines (bass, vocals) make up the River Boys Polka Band. They have played traditional Dutch Hop dance music together for ten years. All four have performed at traditional weddings, anniversaries, and other German Russian celebrations for 35 years or more in various groups. The term "Dutch Hop" can be used generically to describe all of the traditional dance music of the Germans from Russia in Nebraska, Eastern Colorado, and Wyoming. However, specifically, Dutch Hop is the name for their unique, quick-tempo polka dance that includes a slight hop that isn't present in the polkas of other ethnic traditions. That, and the inclusion of a hammered dulcimer, give the Dutch Hop its unique, lilting sound. In addition to the dulcimer, the other typical instruments in today's Dutch Hop bands are a piano accordion, a trombone, and an electric bass guitar.
The Lao Natasinh Dance Troupe of Iowa, based in Des Moines, is a group of Lao dancers and musicians trained in the Natasinh style of performance—the traditional forms, techniques, and character of performing arts taught at the Ecole National de Musique et Danse Laötien (founded in Vientiane in 1956 to preserve Lao music and dance traditions). The genre includes court music for royal ceremonies and the classical dance-drama based on the Ramayana, the Hindu epic that depicts the life and struggles of the Buddha, as well as music and dance performed for social and ritual occasions. In the early 1980s, the Natasinh Dancers and Musicians resettled in Des Moines, Iowa, thanks to Iowa’s Refugee Resettlement Program and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk Arts, which enabled the group to tour the region and the US. The main purpose of the Natasinh Troupe is to teach and entertain at Lao Buddhist celebrations and to pass their skills on to young dancers and musicians in the Des Moines Lao community. The Troupe was featured at the 2001 Festival of Iowa Folklife, the Iowa Folklife & Prairie Voices Institute, the Culture Café (Des Moines Playhouse), at the 25th Anniversary of Freedom for the Peoples of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, at several state and multi-state Midwest folklife festivals, and at the 2005 National Governors’ Conference in Des Moines.
Mary Louise Defender Wilson, also known by her Dakotah name, Gourd Woman-Wagmuhawin (wha' gmoo ha wi'), was born in 1930 on the Standing Rock (Sioux) Indian Reservation of North Dakota. She has spent a lifetime telling stories and performing songs and dances about the life, land, and legends of the Dakotah (Sioux) and Hidatsa people. Mary Louise first heard these stories at home from her family, especially her grandfather and her mother.
Keith Bear's name in the Nu E'ta (Mandan) language means Northern Lights, or "He Makes the Sky Burn with Great Flame." A self-taught flute player, Bear has been performing since 1986. His critically acclaimed performances include traditional storytelling and the sacred Buffalo Dance, a ceremony which only honored tribal members may perform. During the summer of 1995, Bear made his professional acting debut in the feature film, "Dakota Sunrise." Born and educated in North Dakota, Bear lives on the Fort Berthold Reservation.
The American Folklife Center is proud to present Doyle Lawson, recipient of one of this year's National Heritage Fellowship Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Lawson will be playing with his trailblazing Bluegrass/Gospel band, Quicksilver.
Born near Kingsport, Tennessee in 1944, Doyle Lawson began his career as a bluegrass musician in 1963 with International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor member Jimmy Martin. Over the next 15 years, he became increasingly prominent as a powerful, expressive singer and distinctive mandolin stylist while working as a sideman with the Kentucky Mountain Boys and the Country Gentlemen. Lawson established Quicksilver in 1979, and quickly moved to the forefront of the bluegrass scene, releasing a series of acclaimed albums--including the pioneering all-gospel Rock My Soul in 1980--and influencing generations of younger musicians with a sound that blended traditional bluegrass and gospel elements with progressive material and superb execution. Drawing on shape-note hymnals and on the sounds of African-American gospel quartets and southern gospel groups, he made more than 15 all-gospel bluegrass albums that featured a wide range of styles, including a capella quartets. At the same time, as a member of the Bluegrass Album Band, he helped to bring the repertoire and musical approaches of the music's early giants to new generations of musicians and fans in a series of acclaimed albums made between 1980 and 1996.
In recent years, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have earned numerous honors, including five consecutive Vocal Group of the Year and four Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association as well as multiple Grammy and Dove award nominations, while pursuing a busy performance schedule that has included appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and the Grand Ole Opry.
Sonny Burgess's music spans five decades of airplay, concerts, dance parties, and radio shows. An original recording artist with Sun records, he recorded classic songs such as "Red Headed Woman" and "We Wanna Boogie" in the style now known as Rockabilly. Rockabilly is an exciting blend of the blues, country and gospel, and was an important building block of 1950s Rock and Roll. Burgess and fellow band members put on a famously energetic rock and roll show, originally in their home region of northeastern Arkansas. In the 1950s they joined Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Rich, Johnny cash, and many others on regional tours in local school gyms, promoting their releases on Sun Records. Sonny Burgess and the Pacers were known not only for their music but for their acrobatic stage shows. They continue to perform regularly, and were inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame in 2002.
Helen and Patrick Gannon emigrated from Ireland in 1967. Since then, they have brought traditional Irish music, song and dance to thousands of children and families nationwide. They are also accomplished teachers, sharing their tradition each week with over one hundred current students in the St. Louis Irish Arts school of music, song and dance. Their students have won over thirty-five all-Ireland championship medals, and sixty-six Congressional award medals, fourteen of which are gold medals. This concert will present three generations of an accomplished musical family. Patrick was the all-Ireland champion on harmonica in 1980 and 1981, and Helen became the first commissioned Irish dance teacher in Missouri in 1987. Helen and Patrick's daughter, Eileen, became all-Ireland champion on Irish harp in 2000, and their son Niall won the senior ensemble (groupai cheoil) competition in 2004. Eileen's husband Kurt plays piano and guitar, and Niall's wife Gretchen is the family's singer. Niall and Gretchen's daughters, Riley and Fiona, are accomplished on fiddle, concertina, and whistle. Family friend Tommy Martin, a piper, will round out the group.