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 Santa Fe Circus Luminous, 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 Camps: Mid East Music and Dance and Balkan Camps where I got to soak up the music and pedagodgy of Souren Baronian and Haig Manookian, the Lamam Brothers, Dr. Scott Marcus, George Chittenden, Christos Govetas, Lise Leipman, Beth Bahia Cohen, and countless other great artists.
I ended up moving to Colorado Front Range area n the late 1990s. I connected with Sherefe with Cameron Powers, Jesse Manno, Beth Quist, James Hoskins, Kathleen Zahara, Meagan Chandler, to name a few. We organized Near East dance and concert music with Nabil Azzam, Yuval Ron, Hal Aqua and many others.
I also put together several incarnations of a hot Balkan Urban band with Jesse Manno and Dave Willey that eventually became Veelah and recorded the Village Squared Album.
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. The Front Range has a lot of great musicians, and 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 Travis Jarrell, Deborah Newberg, Deepali of Roshni Organization, Rafi'ah Ruyah, Eva Cernik, Omar Al Tabal, Hadgaba Klezmer Band, George Sepmeier, 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 many repeat Artists. We also featured The Parson Sisters from New Mexico, Nabin Shrestra, a master of Hindustani Tabla. Many classes and hafla parties culminated with a sublime ending concert in the chapel with Zuruna Middle Eastern Ensemble with Catrene Malshey.
2020: Covid Pandemic Arts Tsunami meant that most of our dance class instructors couldn't join us. Pete and I created an hybrid online online: we streamed live concerts and classes, and had some events outside. We also put together a cohort group, the New Normal Ensemble: with Pete Jacobs, Eric Koenig, Arthur Lefebure, Eric Zang, Tahra Eissa and Jesse Manno. Georgia Michelle is our Dance Performance and Instructor.
2020 saw us perform six (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, Audio tech, Dance, Yoga, and a Nepalese Classical Music Concert.
Our 2020 efforts were partially funded by the Alex Wilson Legacy Fund
These Tarab Retreat images were purchased from the incredible photographer Diana Odem.