Tarab Retreat Roots
While I was studying for a Performance Degree at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque 30 years ago, I also played jazz regularly, got HOOKED playing for dancers at SCA haflas, Balkan Dance parties with Svirka and with Goddess of Arno. I played for Circus Luminous and accompanied Flamenco Dance classes with Eva Encinias Sandoval, toured internationally with Symphonic Orchestras and Pablo Rodarte's Dance Espana. I'd also been basking in the incredible Mendocino, California, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camps, Balkan Camps through the Eastern European Folklife Center and was playing Near Eastern dance and concert music with Nabil Azzam, Yuval Ron, Hal Aqua, Cameron Powers, Sherefe, and many, many others.
In 2017, I teamed up with Pete Jacobs and to host a three day weekend in Colorado to keep the Mendocino Camp vibe alive in the Rockies. La Foret Conference Center in the Black Forest of Colorado Springs is an historic venue with just the right ambiance to have a "Mendo with out the Mosquitos"!
2018: We were truly honored to have Deborah Newberg, Travis Jarrell, Rafi'ah Ruyah, Eva Cernik, Deepali of Roshni Organization, Omar Al Tabal, Hadgaba Klezmer Band, Zuruna Middle Eastern Ensemble with Catrene Malshey, Farabi Persian Ensemble and the incredible Moroccan musician, Rachid Halihal at our First La Foret Tarab Retreat at in 2018!
2019: Eric Zang, ney and percussion, and Tahra Eissa, Kanun joined us. We also featured The Parson Sisters from New Mexico and Nabin Shrestra on Nepalese Classical Music, with Zuruna Middle Eastern Ensemble with Catrene Malshey.
2020: Covid Pandemic Arts Tsunami meant that most of our dance class instructors were not able to join us. I created an hybrid online online: we streamed live concerts and classes, and had some events outside.
However, it also meant the birth of the New Normal Ensemble: Meg York and Pete Jacobs, directors, Eric Koenig, Arthur Lefebure, Eric Zang, Tahra Eissa and Jesse Manno. Georgia Michelle is our Dance Performance and Instructor.
2020 saw us perform six Live Streamed concerts, debut a new composition by Tahra Eissa, gather a world wide streaming audience, and add Zoom Instructional Sessions on Percussion, Taksim, Audiotech, Dance, Yoga, and a Nepalese Classical Music Concert.
Our efforts were partially funded by the Alex Wilson Legacy Fund as well.
2021 is already in the development stage: stay tuned!
All Photos: Diana Odem.