Toko Telo #304

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An intimate live session with two of the members of Madagascar’s super-group, Toko Telo:  Monka Njavaa and Joël Rabesolo.

Monika Njava, voice & percussion
“The voice of Madagascar.” Banning Eyre, Afropop Worldwide

Celebrated across Madagascar as the national diva, Monika Njava sang lead with Njava, recording two critically acclaimed albums for EMI. She has recorded with platinum-selling Deep Forest and continues to perform with the band. A solo world-pop album, Haizina, featured musicians from three continents. Always exploring new musical territory, she formed the group Island Jazz with bass virtuoso Linley Marthe, fusing traditional Malagasy music and contemporary jazz. Singing in several Malagasy dialects, Monika draws on folktales and everyday village life for her lyrics. She also addresses challenges facing her country: corruption, environmental devastation, and empowering women.

Joël Rabesolo, guitar & voice
“Startlingly unconventional.” Zeitschrift für Kultur und Gesellschaft

Joël Rabesolo grew up playing the traditional four-stringed kabosy. Now the most celebrated guitarist of his generation in Madagascar, he interprets the island’s rich array of regional styles with sophistication and extraordinary inventiveness. Admitted into the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, he was promptly invited by his guitar professor to form a jazz duo. Working closely with Monika Njava since 2012, Joël is a member of her band Island Jazz. He also records and tours as part of Malagasy Guitar Masters.

Alexandre Tannous #302

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We have a chat with Alexandre Tannous, a leading sound researcher, sound therapist and ethnomusicologist. 

On 9/18/19 Alexandre will lead an experiential exploration of the effects of this unique system of sound, consciousness, and spirituality with key members Brooklyn Raga Massive. To deepen the experience we sat had a wide ranging discussion about the effects of sound. 

Alexandre Tannous has been active as a musician, educator, composer, and as an ethnomusicologist. He holds a Bachelor of Music with a double major in Music Theory and Composition, and a Master of Arts degree in Music Education from Columbia University Teachers College. As a recipient of the Mellon Fellowship he also earned a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy degrees in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University where he was enrolled in the Ph.D. program. He has taught various music courses at the same institution. The works of Alexandre Tannous are frequently performed in the United States, Europe, and in Asia. The World Première performance of his orchestral composition “Métamorphose” under his baton at Carnegie Hall in 1995 received a standing ovation. As a film composer he composed two film-scores: The Seventh Dog (2005), and Jim (2009) www.jimthefilm.com.

As a musician, he has performed a variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, and non-Western music on various instruments. Alexandre is also active as an ethnomusicologist. He has conducted fieldwork for 17 years in over 40 countries around the world. His ethnomusicological research investigates issues of acculturation, community, musical identity in an urban setting, and the concepts of talent, charisma, and leadership in music. He is a sought-after ethnomusicologist/composer consultant on projects in recording studios helping creating awareness in amalgamating various musical cultures.

For the past 17 years he has been researching the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives – Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs – to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. This search has led him to the intersection where art, science, philosophy, and spirituality intersect. His ethnomusicological approach entails a social scientific study of sound use in several traditional contexts—religious, spiritual, holistic, and cultural—for various purposes and occasions in entertainment, worship, meditation, and rituals of healing and trance. Consequently, his approach in researching, understanding, experiencing, transmitting, and working with sound has always been based on a multidisciplinary approach.

The material he transmits about sound is based on thorough research over many years: observations he made during his fieldwork, scientific studies, personal experiences, and data collected from thousands of people he has worked with doing sound therapy. This has led him to a deeper understanding of how sound reveals and unlocks hidden powers we have within us to promote profound inner changes and healing.

Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the specific traditional instruments he plays. He employs a phenomenological approach to study the effects of sound, using a method that empowers the participants to engage actively with tools that enhance their experience, using the consciousness-altering properties of sound to heighten self-awareness, to connect to the higher self, to fine-tune self-observation, and to attain self-realization.

Alexandre is a frequent guest-lecturer in major institutions such as Georgetown University, Princeton University, Columbia University, NYU, and in museums such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Rubin Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York.

He continues to do research on sound, currently works as a sound therapist, teaches this practice, and lectures about sound.

On 9/18,  Beginning with a presentation and a discussion which give context to this music, Alexandre will lead a sound meditation that will incorporate musical experiences from Neel Murgai (overtone loops), Arun Ramamurthy (Carnatic Violin), David Ellenbogen (guitar), Indrajit Roy-Chowdhury (sitar) and Ehren Hanson (tabla).

Participants should bring eyemasks for a fully immersive experience.

Brooklyn Raga Massive is a prolific artist collective who have gained accolades for “Expanding the notion of what raga—the immersive, epic form of Indian music—can mean…” (Wall St. Journal) and “Preserving the past while blurring genres in an inventive spirit,” (New York Times).

All proceeds from the event will go to the Raga Massive 501-C3 non-profit to help produce the most ambitious event of the year: The epic 24 Hour/ 24 Set, Ragas Live Festival at Pioneer Works.LikeShareDownload