Ode To Gravity:
An Eclectic Mix of World, Word & Contemporary Classical Music

Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 60 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

From November 1992, Charles Amirkhanian introduces an elegant and eclectic mix of world, spoken word, and contemporary classical music. The program begins with the haunting vocals of Iranian-born Sussan Deyhim performing “Navai” a setting for Sufi poetry influenced by Persian classical and folk melodies. This is followed by an extended version of Glen Velez’s “White-Throated Sparrow” a work for percussion and bansuri flute. The next work is a collaboration between Gavin Bryars and Juan Muñoz in which the devious technique of dealing from the bottom of the deck is explained as the dulcet tones of a string quartet gently play in the background. Canadian-born sound poet Paul Dutton then shows just how many different sounds a human being can make without the aid of any instruments, in his thoroughly enjoyable “Beyond Doo-Wop or How I came to realize that Hank Williams is avant-garde.” Amirkhanian then mellows the mood with an excerpt from Elodie Lauten’s “Music for the Trine” which is a 21 string instrument similar to a Greek lyre. This is followed by a slightly more energetic but no less beautiful selection for voice and percussion by Catherine Jauniaux & Ikue Mori. The program then concludes with two selections from Jai Uttal, who masterfully blends the old and the new in his interpretations of classical Indian modalities, with the help of trumpet player extraordinaire Don Cherry and the exquisite vocals of Lakshmi Shankar. Providing a space and context for music that seldom gets played, let alone getting played together, is something that Amirkhanian and his Ode To Gravity program are famous for and this particular show is a prime example of why that is so.

Musical Selections:  Navai (”Savage Bird”) [text from Sufi poetry] (1987-88) (5:52) / Sussan Deyhim -- White-Throated Sparrow, for flute and percussion (ca. 1990) (11:35) / Glen Velez -- A Man in a Room, Gambling: No. 1 Bottom Dealing (1992) (5:00) / Gavin Bryars & Juan Muñoz -- Beyond Doo-Wop or How I came to realize that Hank Williams is avant-garde (1992) (4:43) / Paul Dutton -- Music for the Trine: Part IV (1985-88) (3:40) / Elodie Lauten -- Smell (3:49) / Catherine Jauniaux & Ikue Mori -- Andobar Island (4:15) / Jai Uttal -- Raghupati (10:56) / Jai Uttal
Performers:  Sussan Deyhim, vocals (Navai)
Glen Velez, tar drum (White)
Randy Crafton, tar drum (White)
Steve Gorn, bansuri flute (White)
Juan Muñoz, narrator (A Man)
Balanescu Quartet (A Man)
Alexander Balanescu, violin (A Man)
Claire Connors, violin (A Man)
Bill Hawkes, viola (A Man)
Caroline Dale, cello (A Man)
Paul Dutton, vocals (Beyond)
Elodie Lauten, trine (Music)
Catherine Jauniaux, vocals (Smell)
Ikue Mori, percussion (Smell)
Jai Uttal, various instruments, vocals (Andobar ; Raghupati)
Don Cherry, pocket trumpet (Andobar ; Raghupati)
Daniel Paul Karp, tabla (Andobar ; Raghupati)
Jerry Watts, bass (Andobar ; Raghupati)
Lakshmi Shankar, vocals (Raghupati)
Genres:  World Music; 20th Century Classical
Subject:  World music; Vocal music; Sufi poetry -- Musical settings; New Age music; Flute and percussion music; Monologues with music (Instrumental ensemble); Sound poetry; Human sounds; Performance art; Songs with percussion; Hindustani music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Deyhim, Sussan; Velez, Glen; Crafton, Randy; Gorn, Steven ; Bryars, Gavin; Muñoz, Juan, 1953-2001; Balanescu, Alexander ; Connors, Clare; Hawkes, Bill ; Dale, Caroline (Violoncellist) ; Dutton, Paul, 1943- ; Lauten, Elodie ; Jauniaux, Catherine; Mori, Ikue; Uttal, Jai; Cherry, Don ; Karp, Daniel; Watts, Jerry, 1957- ; Shankar, Lakshmi, 1926-
Recording Date:  11/16/1992
First Broadcast Date:  11/16/1992


Archives - Registration Required - Register here
Interview and Music
Lectures and Panel Discussions
Spoken Word
Inter-Media and Visual Arts
Other Finds