Stephen Kent and Ondrej Smeykal reprise their Didjeridu Summit, a thrilling display of mastery of the ancient instrument which packed Ashkenaz in January 2010. This time they add West African flavors from Mamadou Sidibe, a native of Mali and pioneer of the kamele n’goni harp.
Over the last 20 years an ever-expanding global movement has sprung up focused on one of the world’s most ancient instruments, the didjeridu, until recently almost exclusively the ceremonial instrument of Aboriginal tribes in Northern Australia, who believe they’ve played it since the dawn of time. The Didjeridu Summit is a musical tete a tete between two native Europeans who are arguably the two most innovative contemporary artists to have brought the didjeridu [didgeridoo/didge/didj] to the attention of the wider world, away from its traditional role in Australian Aboriginal culture. These two extraordinary and groundbreaking performers have each evolved their own unique and distinct languages with the didge, in the process redefining the range and depth of the instrument’s possibilities and bringing it to a place of new significance in a global musical context – Kent with his musical sensibility and enormous background of experience in seamlessly bringing the didge to the fore in a myriad of world music cultures, and now Smeykal, who has astonished listeners with his revolutionary fractal techniques and overdrive rhythms.
“A one-man didjeridu orchestra” is perhaps the best way of describing the phenomenal didjeridu player Ondrej Smeykal of the Czech Republic. His highly original style is the result of a life completely devoted to his instrument. For well over a decade and with ever-increasing intensity, Smeykal has been developing and redefining his unique approach. His use of unusually long didges and “extensions” of up to four meters in length enable him to play resonantly deep tones and to produce a much wider range of sounds and overtones than are possible on regular didjeridus. Each composition, or song, as he refers to it, is very different in style, ranging from breakbeat and organic didjeridu techno to trance, ambient, and anywhere in between.
Pioneering didjeridu virtuoso Stephen Kent was raised in East Africa and England. As music director ofAustralia’s Circus Oz, he discovered an affinity for the didjeridu and a need to learn about the culture of its Aboriginal creators. “Awakening to the Aboriginal world was like my own Big Bang,”Kentexplains. “For me, the recreation of a musical universe on the didj, the culture of one note, continues to this day.” Since moving to the Bay Area, he has co-led world fusion bands Trance Mission and Beasts of Paradise and collaborated with such world music greats as Zakir Hussain, Airto Moreira, Leonard Eto ofJapan’s Kodo band, Habib Koite, and the Oakland Symphony.Kentis committed to promoting music from all manner of global cultures. He has produced a number of regionalU.S.tours by Aboriginal musicians, Tuvan throat singers, and other artists. He also shares his love of the world’s music on his weekly KPFA (94.1 FM) radio program, “Music of the World.”
When & Where
Ashkenaz is the East Bay's home to world music & dance... established 1973; nonprofit since 1997. We are always all ages! Kids 12 & under are admitted free unless otherwise noted.
All of our online ticket sales are will call. We will have a list of ticket buyers at the door; you do not need to bring a printout of your ticket/order confirmation.
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, or 30 minutes before the dance lesson if there is one, unless otherwise noted.
Ashkenaz's Café opens when doors open and offers beer (draft and bottled), wine, kombucha, juices, sodas, coffee and tea, and snacks and light meals (all vegetarian, mostly organic).