April 2021 Turkish Cafe in Boulder
Pascal Diez with Klezmerize at Cook Park
As I look back on February, it’s poignant to see what has fallen into place and what has fallen aside.
My Taksim Classes are wonderful! I partnered with Amaya from Albuquerque and really learned a lot: each of my collaborators have different takes on how to work with people, and I felt our workshop brought a respite from current public events. I’ve continued to work with Travis Jarrell. Travis has a depth of knowledge that is comfortable and astonishing at the same time. It’s been a treat to work with her, and her classes have sold out!
Travis and I also teamed up with an old colleague, Anthony Blake and his philosophical society DuVersity with an incredible visual artist Leslie Schwing. We did a trio performance of Taksim, Tunes, and Glyph Drawing that unfolded in interesting and spell binding ways. Leslie joined our Taksim Class last weekend to get her pen going with movement and music: I was really in the zone during our sharing on the ubiquitous Zoom. Follow up in a few months.
I’ve also started producing classes as a fundraiser for our dear colleague Faisal Zedan, Syrian Percussionist. We’ve had 8 Arabic repertoire classes in February and will continue with Iraqi odd meters in March. There are a few spots left in the ‘cross over class’ designed for not beginner musicians, but beginner percussionists.
Each class is limited to 8 and each participant gets individual attention. I also forward the Zoom cloud recordings, encourage participant questions, and guide the class.
It’s wonderful to have the interaction -- so many other classes are large and can’t really do that! Do join us if you can on Thursdays! The earlier 'Hot Dog' class is sold out.
I’m playing ONE outside brunch gig in March with New Normal Ensemble, so if you are in the Boulder area or know someone jonseing for live music and great Turkish food, check out the Breakfast Champion at the corner of Baseline and Foothills, Sunday 11-1 on March 7th. Old music buddy from Veelah and Sherefe days, Dave Willey, is planning on joining me, as well as the usually suspects of New Normal Ensemble, Pete Jacobs, Eric Koenig, and Arthur Lefebure. There is a very large patio where it will be great to hear us -- it’s in a lovely brick alcove so sound should be pretty good. Spring is in the air!
Wear a sweater, and enjoy simit omlette sandwiches if you can!
Yes, you can wiggle around a bit if you are so inclined..
Don’t forget that Annya Ishtara and I are doing an involved and interesting Taksim Class on Fridays in March, too! She’s also a deeply embodied and multi intelligence collaborator.
We had a poignant, wind-in-the-kerchief kind of going away party for Pascal Diez on Tuesday at Cook Park. He and his wife Jenny are moving permanently to France to live on a houseboat on the Seine.
It’s the same park where Florin organized our cool Klezmerize videos.
Just a few stalwart friends were invited: Covid protocols, and Pascal’s imminent move to France made me hesitate to throw a bigger shindig. I will miss Pascal’s quiet competence on banjo, tambura, piccolo, and his love of all odd meters and spooky Albanian and Romanian tunes, plus of course how he held Klezmerize together musically emotionally and musically.
Pascal is a rare human, musician and friend; perhaps I’ll finally cross the pond and visit western Europe to play music with him in France. Perhaps…
So in the meantime, check out my online offerings and the Boulder Brunch gig -- and also just reach out to me.
We are all so awfully lonesome -- these offerings are a way of just ‘whistling in the dark’ for now.
However my classes are super interactive, all things considering.
I’m not an avid emailer, Please call me or offer a quick Zoom jam session, or Whatsapp session, or etc.
It would be so rewarding to see folks online until in person.
‘See’ you soon!
"music and dance build bridges from the past to the future by basking in the present"
Travis Jarrell Taksim Dance Classes
Faisal Zedan Cultural Connections Classes
February 2021 Newsletter
Meg York is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Alf Layla Wa Layla 3 of 3
Time: Jan 29, 2021 06:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Looking ahead: Travis Jarrell and I are planning on February Saturday afternoons for our weekly class:
Taksims, Tunes, and Tempting the Dance: Explore a visionary approach to dancing taksim while deepening your knowledge and feel for various Eastern maqams, or musical scales, with familiar dance melodies.
Over these four classes we will delve into the moods of maqams Hijaz, Rast, Kurdi, and Saba: how they flow as taksim from beloved melodies, and different ways of prompting and organizing improvisational dance, or ‘hugging the edge of something that’s happening.' We learn from each other. Meg and Travis create our vessel for fun and safe exploration from the comfort of your own home, all with LIVE music tailored to your own movement.
Four Saturdays: February 6, 13, 20, and 27 2021 5:00 Eastern 4:00 Central 3:00 Mountain 2:00 Pacific
"music and dance build bridges from the past to the future by basking in the present.."
Amaya Workshop: the Inner You!
Turkish Concert: Tarab Retreat 2020
January 2021 Newsletter
Greetings and Happy New Year!
Oh, how I’ve missed playing music for dancers and concerts!
However, I’ve started to teach, and learn, online, and I’d like to share some of my recent highlights with you.
This is an especially long catch up -- future emails will be *much* shorter.
2019: I got cast as an actor/musician in Denver Center for the Performing Arts production of the Paula Voge’s play Indecent, about the historic Yiddish play God of Vengeance, and the time trip Vogel crafted around a wide array of humankind's changing values.
This was, hands-down, the height of my acting career -- one and done! -- to be cast next to top Equity actors in the wonderful in-the-round DCPA Space Theatre.
Cast of Indecent in Space Theatre, DCPA 2019 Photo: VisCom
Recording projects and playing a set for Boulder Balkan Bash 2019 with Klezmerize were other highlights of the year.
2020: January I went with my beloved Eric to Golden Fest with dear friend Barbara Friedman and we danced our feet off! In February I played with Sazlar and Sam Whippo Tynker in New Mexico for a series of workshops and concerts. Nicolas Baker, Sam and I played a lovely Hafla organized by Deborah Newberg at the Tortuga Gallery in Albuquerque, and I sat in with Santiago and Sam in Santa Fe for a packed Belly Dance event hosted by Areena. What a treat!
In March, the pandemic hit more than just artists, as we all know.
So, I got busy. I started putting together a new website, learning how to teach online, and reconnecting with beloved colleagues across the globe to co-teach workshops.
Pete Jacobs and I moved Tarab Retreat online. Though kind of an oxymoron, since our event is a four day camping event with tons of concerts and jamming, this worked as a placeholder.
We held in-person concerts with online audiences.
We received an Alex Wilson Legacy Fund grant for Tarab Retreat 2020.
Pete Jacobs and I tried out the Facebook Live thing and it was great for a first attempt. Here's a flier from the online 2020 event: I also participated in several music videos:
Here's a Klezmer one with Hal Aqua/Hadgaba/Planina/Gora Gora,
Florin Alaxandrescue's made these great Klezmerize Cook Park Concerts videos.
A Christmas classical music video with the Don Ambler Clarinet Choir, organized by Alan Goral and edited by Aiko Vis
Several more are in editing purgatory: some sublime Tarab Retreat concerts and colorful collaborations with flamenco guitarist, Ronaldo Baca and lovely contralto, Melissa Montoya.
I got my first (small) royalty ASCAP checks for a Warner Brothers film soundtrack sample -- thanks to 411 Music Group. Also, I made connections with 5Rhythms in New York; there’s a good chance my recordings will be used for some of their dance classes.
A new dance friend from the Evans Method, Sarah Andreachi, in Rochester, New York, invited me into her online-class as an accompanist for folks with different levels of abilities. She is a dynamic teacher and I loved her students: I hope for more -- seems like a great fit.
All of this points to the level of privilege I experience every day.
I live in a home with folks that care for me and I, them.
Pete Jacobs, my best friend and I very occasionally get together and jam from across the room or for outdoor concerts:New Normal Ensemble Sufi Concert, Tarab Retreat 2020. Pete Jacobs, Meg York, Jesse Manno, Eric Zang
Eric Koenig moved in with us a year ago and it’s blissful to have his loving presence, dancing hips and riq tambourine join our home crew.
We dubbed it the New Normal Ensemble which includes my son, Arthur Lefebure, a talented derbekki student of Faisal Zedan, the beautiful and talented Georgia Michelle, Jesse Manno, octopus-musician, and Tahra Eissa, kanun, as well as the astonishing Eric Zang.
We did two Tarab Retreat Yalda presentations on the winter solstice so folks in Turkey could join us! It worked - poetry in Farsi and English with live solo music for dance interludes.
I’ve resumed lessons online with clarinetist Sedat Gulcu in Istanbul, Beth Bahia Cohen’s EEFC Greek Ensemble and joined Dr. Scott Marcus’ University California Santa Barbara Middle East Ensemble. This has upped my game on improvising more authentic melodic contours.
I joined Patreon in 2019 and I’ve made one recording for my singular Patron, the long suffering Jerry Summers.
I’ve found I don’t overdub well if it’s scripted. Sigh.
However, I also recorded four pieces of improvisation for Egemen Kesikli, a contemporary Turkish American composer as a private venture.
Honestly, please just support me on my own website if you care to do so: Patreon is wonderful, but I can’t keep up with it and it takes a cut.
And, in the end, there is one unique experience I still offer:
I love tailoring my melodies to live movement ~ Taksim
So, I partner with folks.
I have weekly recurring Zoom Taksim Classes on Saturdays
Travis Jarrell in February,
Annya Ishtara in March.
Amaya and I have a special workshop this Saturday, January 30th at 3:00 Mountain that is almost sold out.
Syrian Percussionist Faisal Zedan and I are cooking up a wonderful workshop series, too: we are exploring Arabic classical compositions through rhythm and melody structures for dance.
So, thank you very much for reading!
Please: support musicians, local cafes, and teachers.
Stay safe and cultivate gratitude until we can be in person!
Arthur Lefebure, Meg York, Eric Koenig, Pete Jacobs, Tahra Eissa, and Georgia Michelle, seated.
Meg York and the New Normal Ensemble
contact: 303-803-8321 email@example.com