Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma: Contemporary Modal Music from Crete comes to Brattleboro, VT
Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma: Contemporary Modal Music from Crete and Beyond
Sunday April 10th 4 PM - Hooker Dunham Theatre - Brattleboro, VT
$12 advance, $15 at the door, children free
Tour sponsored by Makam New York, Denmark Arts Center and the Open Music Collective
Music doesnt understand national borders. It cant be so easily constrained. Music grows, it travels, and it resonates. Traditions, sounds, styles all interconnect. The modal music that Ross Daly explores almost seems to exist outside time, weaving strands from so many parts of the world and combining past, present, and future together in gliding, mesmerizing melodies. Hell be bringing that beautiful musical magic to New England on his tour in April.
Modal music music thats based around tones or modes rather than Western scales covers a region that stretches from the north west of Africa to west China, Daly explains. All of those areas have things in common, and theyre all constantly changing and evolving.
Daly is a master of the Mediterranean lyra, a bowed fiddle that also has more than a dozen sympathetic strings. Hes spent his life exploring the possibilities and connections in modal music, recording and performing all over the globe as well as hosting the annual Labyrinth musical workshop in his home village of Houdetsi on the island of Crete.
Hes lived there since 1975, drawn to the place as part of a musical odyssey that began when he was just thirteen years old.
Im of Irish descent, born in England and raised everywhere, Daly recalls. I studied classical music when I was young, but once I was in my teens and heard Indian and Iranian music everything changed. I went to India and Afghanistan and studied the sitar and rabab. On the way I passed through Crete and fell in love with the lyra and the music. I came back in 1975 and stayed. Some things in life grab you; Crete and its music did that for me.
In 1982 he began Labyrinth, which started as a very loose collective, a study group delving into the modal music of different traditions.
Wed invite people to come and play, Daly remembers. It developed into a group called Labyrinth, then a production company, and extended to an annual music school.
After some years in Athens, the Labyrinth Musical Workshop moved back to Crete, hosting students who wanted to study modal music and traditions. A village is better than a city for this, everythings in walking distance. We began with one-week seminars, everyone living together.
Lyra virtuoso Kelly Thoma was a musician who attended the Labyrinth workshops. Now Dalys wife, shell accompany him on the four-date tour through Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, as will contrabassist Michael Harrist and tanburi Tev Stevig. For the April 7 concert in Boston the quartet will be accompanied by Orkesta Marhaba. Its hardly his first time in the U.S.; Dalys a regular visitor, playing dates here almost every year. His most recent appearance was at New Yorks Carnegie Hall in 2015.
Although hes deeply versed in many modal traditions, these days Daly plays what he calls contemporary modal music.
My earlier recordings were a mix of original music and traditional pieces that I arranged, Daly says. But Ive always been drawn to composition, so in recent years the work on the albums has all been my own. I can construct my own strange point of view.
Hes amassed a large catalogue of music over time, a remarkable total of 38 albums, with
2014s The Other Side his most recent release. Along the way hes also developed a generous ethos about his work.
Everything except the latest one is available free from my website, Daly notes. Its not as if I expect to make money from them. Once the newest one has earned enough for us to go back into the studio, that will be free, too.
The music he writes pulls from different corners of the world. Threads of North Africa mingle with the bright, varied colors of India. Swooping melodies from the Balkans are tempered by Asian delicacy, and the whole has a transcendent quality. Dalys contemporary modal music comes from no time and all time, from everywhere and nowhere. But perhaps thats apt for a man whos never considered himself a national of any country.
Theres a way to belong but not to be a native, Daly says. I live outside a national identity and thats always been a great advantage; I can feel at home anywhere.
Ross Dalys concerts with Kelly Thoma, along with Michael Harrist (contrabass/ percussion) and Tev Stevig (tanbur and plucked strings).
Hooker-Dunham Theater (View)
139 Main Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|