The World Music Series begins in the fall semester with the return of the Hohlax Trio on Sunday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. Formed in 2007 on the Greek island of Amorgos, they have played in almost all of the music venues on Amorgos, and have also enjoyed numerous performances throughout Athens and Cyprus. The trio has embarked on three tours to California, in the summer of 2009, September of 2012, and in the fall of 2014 where they performed on our series. In June 2014, they went into the studio to record their third CD. The members are violinist Jaime Smith (a Sac State alum), bouzouki player Orestis Koletsos, and guitarist Apostolis Kounis.
On Tuesday, September 29, GYANI Indo Jazz will be performing at 8 p.m. GYANI Indo Jazz combines Indian raga, jazz, Arabic melodies, and global rhythms to make a unique brand of music blending classic Hindustani forms and cutting-edge improvisation. With Binay Pathak (pictured) on vocals and harmonium, George Brooks on saxophone, Osam Ezzeldin on keyboards, Vishal Nagar on tabla, and Abbos Kosimov on the Uzbek doira (frame drum), the California-based ensemble brings together world class musicians who share a passion for exploring and expanding the possibilities of merging Indian music with other genres. The result is stirring, stimulating, and breathtaking in its beauty.
South Indian vocalist Gayathri Satya will be performing on Saturday, October 10 at 7 p.m. A Carnatic Music vocalist, Gayathri began her training at age 7 and is a disciple of Sangeetha Bhooshanam Shri.O.V.Subrahmanyam, having learned all the basics and many krithis under him and his brother Shri.Manakkal S. Natarajan. Her concerts are known for soulful rendition, diction, impeccable sruthi alignment and pure melody. Currently living in the San Francisco bay area, Gayathri has been performing in many of the leading sabhas in India and has performed for All India Radio, Chennai and TV Channels in Bangalore. She has also perofrmed extensively in the United States.
On Thursday, October 15, at 8 p.m., we welcome back Babá Ken and the Nigerian Brothers. Nigerian master musician Babá Ken Okulolo is one of the few popular African musicians of today whose roots extend deep into his country’s musical history and traditions. Babá Ken’s early career spans the Nigerian palm-wine, highlife, Afrobeat, and Afro-rock eras. He is known for early stints with many Nigerian music legends, including Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Tony Allen, Dr. Victor Olaiya , Steve Rhodes, Orlando Julius and the seminal Afro-rock group Monomono. The Nigerian Journalists’ Association has five times voted Okulolo the country’s best bassist. Babá Ken and the Nigerian Brothers bring to life the joyful folk songs of early village memories with harmonious voices, lilting guitars, and traditional percussion.
Next on the Series will be another Carnatic performance, with vocalist Ramakrishna Murthy on Sunday, November 1 at 7 p.m. Ramakrishna started his vocal Carnatic Music lessons at the age of 8 with Smt. Padma Kutty, and also receives training from vidwans Delhi Sri. P. Sunderrajan and Chingleput Sri. R. Ranganathan. He was also fortunate to learn for two years under Vairamangalam Late Sri. Lakshminarayanan. He won the Best Male Vocalist Award in the Spirit of Youth Concerts Series in 2009, the First Prize in the All India Radio National competition in the Classical Vocal – Carnatic category in 2009, and in the Classical – Devotional Music category in 2007, which earned him the AIR B-High Grade.
Mbira artist Patience Munjeri will perform on Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m. The mbira consists of a wooden board with attached staggered metal tines, played by plucking the tines with the thumbs. Patience was born in in the town of Bindura, Zimbabwe, and is one of the very few Zimbabwean women who grew up playing mbira regularly in traditional ceremonies, a role more commonly held by men in Shona culture. As a university-educated and fluently Shona-English bilingual musician and cultural expert, she is uniquely suited to sharing traditional Shona music and culture with the world. Patience is currently a high school teacher in the town of Chinhoyi, and holds a BA in Divinity with a specialty in comparative religion. She toured the US previously in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Patience feels that the old music is the most important part of mbira, in that, “Our elders associated it with their way of life. When one plays, the music takes them away”.