Friday, April 12, 2019

Israel's Most Kosher Export

BEHOLD... THE VOCA PEOPLE!



PURE HUMAN VOCALS. JUST A CAPELLA...

NO instruments...

NO sound effects...

Pure... Live...

The Voca People ~ The Best of Acapella

The Voca People is an Israeli touring group with an international audience that combines vocal sounds and a capella singing with a contemporary beat-box technique.

Artistic Director: Lior Kalfo
Musical Director: Shai Fishman
Producers: Revital & Lior Kalfo




[Originally posted 16 April 2009]

Thursday, April 11, 2019

BIRTHPLACE RECLAIMED! (reprise)




Freestyle dance music commissioned by Chandrabhanu (Bharatam Dance Company, Melbourne) in late 1992; world premiere in January 1993 @ PJ Civic Center. 

Composed, performed & produced by Antares & Friends 

Minah Angong (vocals); Sunetra Fernando (vocals, rebab & percussion); Rafique Rashid (sequencing, percussion, vocal effects, engineering & mixing); Tim Bremser (12-string guitar, drum programming, percussion, vocal effects & mixing); Antares (shepherd's flute, Balinese flutes, synthesizer, didgeridoo, percussion & vocal effects) 

Digitally remastered in September 2012 by Thomas Smorek

As the title suggests, this choreographic work attempts to chronicle the loss of innocence every individual and every community experiences when the spurious concept of "progress" encroaches and transforms the land into an eco-systemic and psycho-emotional hell. From Dreamtime to Machinetime; thence a period of spiritual confusion and intense questing, followed at last by not so much a return to an imaginary pristine past - but a reconciliation with present reality, wherein ancient and modern realities begin to ecstatically fuse, thereby generating a fresh creation.

Sometime towards the end of 1992 I was contacted by celebrated dancer-choreographer Ramli Ibrahim (founder & artistic director of Sutra Foundation) who asked if I was keen to take on a commission to produce 30 minutes of music for Chandrabhanu, a Melbourne-based master of the Bharatanatyam.

Of course I said yes and soon a meeting with Chandrabhanu was set up. He had in mind a freestyle contemporary choreographic work titled Birthplace Reclaimed which he wished to premiere at a dance festival hosted by Sutra at the PJ Civic Center in early 1993.

I immediately got to work on the music, visualizing a circle and 4 cardinal points - an ancient symbol for Mother Earth. 

As Chandrabhanu had only a limited budget, I was unable to rent a professional studio for the task. So I recruited Rafique Rashid as a musical conspirator and sound engineer. He was living in Kuala Kubu Bharu at the time in a shophouse and had a workable 4-track home studio. He called it Batorvilla Studio (inspired by Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital after which he had named his comic-book alter ego).

At the time we had Tim Bremser - an Enochian magickian, visual artist & musician from Winnipeg, Canada - living at Magick River. Tim owned a 12-string guitar & a TEAC 4-track mixer-recorder which could be tandemed with Rafique's Akai 4-track. Sunetra Fernando, taking a break from her ethnomusicological research in gamelan, showed up one day & was promptly recruited.

Perlis-born Chandrabhanu arrived in Melbourne in 1971 to study social anthropology.

Minah Angong at the Sarawak Rainforest World Music 
Festival in August 1998
To explain what I had in mind, I drew a chart dividing the music into four movements: the first movement (Dreamtime) would depict an idyllic, edenic way of life, interrupted by the advent of industrialization (Machinetime, second movement). 

The third movement (Spacetime) would represent a period of confusion born of the conflict between inner and outer realities. Finally, a reconciliation of past and future, a fusion of tradition and innovation, paving the way for us to reclaim our birthplace.

Rafique and I had already experimented with dropping Minah Angong's cold voice on top of an instrumental work-in-progress. The result exceeded all expectations and augured the beginning of a rewarding musical collaboration called Akar Umbi.

A ceremonial singer from the indigenous Temuan tribe, Minah Angong had been taught the song "Burung Meniyun" by her late husband, the headman of Gerachi Village. It felt so right that we should incorporate the indigenous soul into Birthplace Reclaimed.

We had to record at night because Batorvilla Studio wasn't soundproofed. The traffic noise was too intrusive during the daylight hours. Sunetra was learning to play the rebab, a two-stringed violin introduced to Southeast Asia by the Arabs. It sounded great passed through a guitar effects box. Getting the mix right was crazy work, with both Rafique and Tim handling the crossfades and controlling levels with both hands on two different 4-track decks.

When Chandrabhanu heard the fruits of our nocturnal labors, he instantly liked it. Then he asked if Minah Angong would be able to sing "Burung Meniyun" live on stage. She had never performed on any stage, as far as I knew, but we decided to give it a go. Rafique would produce two versions of the music - one with Minah's voice mixed in; the other without, so it could be used as a minus-one for her live vocal. We took Minah to the technical rehearsal and put her to the test. She passed with flying colors (after a false start owing to nervousness) and wowed the packed hall on opening night.

Minah Angong with Antares & Chandrabanu (costumed as a shaman).


[First posted 18 December 2014, reposted 8 July 2018]


Monday, April 8, 2019

Bob McCluskey's virtual conversation with God (reprise)


Bob said...

Are there ideas about the nature of God that are true and others that are untrue?

If I believe something about the nature of God that is untrue, can I get close to God?

Is truth the same for everyone?

Why is truth above every religion?

September 14, 2010 at 6:25 PM

God said...

Hi there, Bob! Nice of you to drop by and leave a comment. My feisty pal Lily has asked me to help her respond to your questions. Hard to say no to someone as delightful, so here goes...

Ideas about the nature of God... some true, some untrue? Well, ideas is all most of us have about the nature of God - and the word "God" itself is pretty loaded with all sorts of false notions (that God is male, has an only begotten son, disapproves of human sexuality, hates alcohol, spurns the flesh of pigs, the list goes on...). Let's say that some ideas about God resonate on many levels - from the cellular to the cosmic - while others are just plain ridiculous. It's really a question of maturity. When a 2-year-old says something silly, a sensible adult response would be to laugh with the kid, not at the kid. However, when it comes to institutionalized religion, we often find rabid septuagenarians ranting and raving in an utterly stupid manner - and because they have Ayatollah/Cardinal powers and can order your head chopped off or worse, people tend to keep quiet and avoid arguing with them.

The good news is: even if you believe the most preposterous things about God, it doesn't disqualify you from being as lovable as anyone else in the eyes of God. How so? Simply because God isn't caught up in semantics and exists not just as a bunch of ideas - but, indeed, as the nuclear intelligence within every atom and also as the totality of all existence itself. Whatever anyone thinks of God... God is most certainly never petty.

Is the truth the same for everyone? Definitely not! Our human apprehension of "truth" constantly evolves as we acquire experience and expand our vocabulary. A 9-year-old girl would look upon truth quite differently than a 90-year-old great-grandpa. And we're still talking about the realm of human experience and understanding - what about non-human consciousness? It's not healthy to get addicted to anthropocentrism when dealing with the nature of God. 

The Original and Ultimate Essence of Being caters to amoebae as well as nebulae - elemental, mineral, vegetable, animal, human, angelic, archangelic, deific and so on - it's All-Inclusive and All-Embracing.

Truth is just another way of valuing one's Integrity. Only those with a wholesome attitude can know the Whole and be mindful of being an integral aspect of the All-in-One and the One-in-All. As you achieve Integrity or become an Integer (instead of a Cipher) you will experience Existence as a holographic construct, and your Core Self as a perfect fractal of God. Celebrate that!

September 16, 2010 at 2:02 AM

Bob McCluskey said...

Thanks for your thorough response! Perhaps I could continue the thread of one point, because I didn't make my question clear. When I asked whether the truth is the same for everyone, I didn't mean to ask whether everyone has the same perspective on truth, but whether what is "true" for one person is true for all other people, as well.

Leaving aside the issue of natural law for now, I'll limit my question specifically to moral truth. Let's assume, for example, that it is wrong for me to dishonor my parents, whatever that means. May I assume, then, that it is wrong for everyone to dishonor his/her parents? Thanks!

September 16, 2010 at 6:57 PM

God's Secretary said...

You're a fine gentleman, Bob McCluskey. And you're doing a great job of blending faith with reason. You asked whether what is "true" for one person is true for all other people, as well...

Using the example you gave: first, it may not be true that you are "wrong" to "dishonor" your parents. In what way "dishonor"? Being unappreciative of and withholding love from them? Giving up on them and severing ties? Being rude and mean to them? 

Such behavior is certainly most unpleasant and actually unnecessary. Whether or not it's "wrong" depends on what the parents have done to trigger such a reaction in their child. A violent, emotionally unstable father or a nagging, domineering mother can drive a child to despair and deep resentment.

In effect, if you can't be sure whether what you believe to be true, is true - how can it hold true for everybody else?

Let's not miss the forest for the trees!

September 18, 2010 at 3:39 AM

[Source: http://www.seniorsaloud.com/2010/09/what-is-best-religion.html]



[First posted 26 November 2014]