We have a live performance in studio with Zhou Benming of the Zhou Family Band. Ethnomusicoligist Mu Quian guides us through through the music.
Zhou Jingzhi, founder of the Zhou Family Band, used to play in the royal court of the Qing Dynasty. After dynastic China came to an end, later generations of the family made their living by playing at local ceremonies.
The band has become so popular that sometimes people have to book them two years in advance for a ceremony. Now more than 100 members of the Zhou family and over 1000 students are active in playing at rituals in their hometown and the adjacent areas.
The band plays traditional wind and percussion music that has accompanied the birth and death of people in central-eastern China for more than 600 years. Coming from Lingbi, Anhui Province, part of the Central Plain area which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Zhou Family Band have been musicians for seven generations, and are bearers of a tradition that represents the cream of Chinese folk music – Bolin Laba, a national intangible cultural heritage of China.
In this episode we chat with Dorit Chrysler director of of the NY Theramin Society, who have a major event coming up at the Ambient Church.
Dorit Chrysler has been dubbed a superior wizard of the theremin. An Austrian-born, New York based composer and performer, Chrysler is the co-founder of the NY Theremin Society and has started the first international school for Theremin, KidCoolThereminSchool and L’Ecole Theremine with branches in NY and Paris. As much as the Theremin is a tool in Chrysler’s electronic instrument arsenal, she is also one of the most visible Thereminists spreading the gospel of this mysterious sounding instrument. Most recently she finished her analog soundtrack for a remake of “M” by Fritz Lang and was featured on the soundtrack of the HBO documentary “Going Clear”. Chrysler received her master’s degree of musicology in Vienna and has notably collaborated with Anders Trentemøller, Cluster, Adult., CERN, Carsten Nicolai, Elliot Sharp and Laurie Spiegel. She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, had her work commissioned by MoMA and the Venice Biennale, and is the founder of “Dame Electric,” a festival dedicated to female pioneers in Analog Music. As the director of the NY Theremin Society, Chrysler is promoting the application of theremin in different art disciplines and is produced the THEREMIN100 compilation release, commemorating the 100th birthday of the Theremin in 2020.
For Ambient Church, Chrysler will perform original work along with the US premiere of “A Paraphrase.” Composed by electronic music pioneerLaurie Spiegel, for Dorit Chrysler, “A Paraphrase” was inspired by a young Clara Rockmore and her professional relationship with Léon Theremin. Lana Anikin Suran will accompany on piano.
Eric Thompson took up the guitar as a teenager in Palo Alto, California in the early 1960’s, at a time when very few folk guitarists were playing more than basic rhythm guitar. Among his earliest bands were the Black Mountain Boys (with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson) and Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions. He quickly became nationally known as an exceptional lead flatpicker, winning the World Championship Cup at Union Grove, North Carolina with the New York Ramblers (which also included David Grisman and Winnie Winston) and flying to Nashville, Tennessee to record “Beatle Country” with the Charles River Valley Boys (reissued on Rounder).
During the 1970’s, Eric continued to play old-time music. He also took up the tenor banjo, organized the Graineog Celidh Band around two master musicians from County Clare, Joe Cooley and Kevin Keegan, and spent six months in the west of Ireland, visiting and learning from older traditional musicians there.
Eric will be playing a private concert with Andy Statman on Sunday December 15th at 2pm in Brooklyn (Near Prospect Park) Email email@example.com for info and reservations.