Here’s a press release for a performance I’m co-producing with Scoop Sweeney:
AUSTIN – Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe will bring their musical performance, “From Jerusalem to Cordoba,” from Paris to Austin on December 3, 7pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Bethell Hall, 301 E. 8th St., Austin, 78701-3280. The performance is a celebration of the musical and mystical traditions in and around the Mediterranean, from ancient Judaism and Paganism, to medieval Christianity and Islam. It features ancient and original music sung in Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin, Greek, Medieval Spanish, Occitan, and Arabic. Instrumental accompaniment includes Middle Eastern percussion, oud, dulcimer, Tibetan bowls, Indian tampura, and African mbira.
The performance is built on short poetic and narrative texts that include both original material and quotations from Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Ibn ‘Arabi, Yehuda Halevi, etc. The narrative thread woven through the performance evokes a rarely-perceived common ground, and an alternative view of sacred traditions which have so often been in conflict. Braslavsky and Rowe have presented this performance at venues throughout Europe.
The Italian newspaper La Republicca describes the performance as “fascinating… with great spiritual power.” Author Jacques Attali describes it as “A remarkably successful voyage in sound, depicting those rare times when Jews, Christians and Muslims have lived together in peace and dialogue.” Rev. Lauren Artress, Canon at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, calls it “uplifting and inspiring,” and notes that “Catherine and Joseph are truly gifted musicians. Allow them to enrich your life.” Jon Lebkowsky in Wired Magazine described the music as “…at once new, traditional, and transcendent. … chants and chant-like original compositions powerfully realized as invocations of the human essence — whether it be the soul, spirit, or consciousness — in its ascent.
Phi Beta Iota: This makes the cut for three reasons. First, Jon is selective about what he sends out. Second, holistic analysis and understanding must of necessity include music and art–the Western tradition has destroyed the role of the humanities and in so doing, committed sacrilige with science. Finally, faith is also a part of conscious evolution, and absent its full integration into any intellectual traditional, you end up with fundamentalist idiots doing grave damage within and among communities. Religion is at its most gifted when it is a vibrant part of the cultural tradition and used to transfer the lessons of civilization from one generation to the next–starting with the Golden Rule.