Kevin Locke Wins Record of the Year
“An album of rare beauty.” - Native Peoples Magazine, July/August 2009
Kevin Locke won Record of the Year for his latest album, Earth Gift, at the 11th Annual Native American Music Awards (the Nammys). This is the music industry's largest awards organization for Native American recordings. Kevin previously won a Nammy in 2000 for Best Traditional Recording for his album, The First Flute.
Kevin says Earth Gift has “sounds that don’t tie things to a specific culture, tribe, or ethnicity. It really takes people into an area that transcends cultural specificity; a place of universal appeal.”
Three-time Grammy-winner Tom Wasinger, Earth Gift’s producer, explains part of the album’s unique genre-mixing attributes. “If we made it strictly traditional,” says Wasinger, “we’d have a small palette of sounds to work with. I sought out instruments that, although they are not traditional to this music, complement the essential sound, and in some ways are more related than one might think.” Various tracks feature instruments that are firmly rooted in America’s past. The nail violin1, the pianolin2, and other once-commonplace variations on the zither3 are from the late 1800’s, the same era as many of Kevin’s Lakota teachers and their songs.
Music from the CD is featured in Kevin’s current touring program, “Drum is the Thunder, Flute is the Wind,” recipient of the 2009-10 National Endowment for the Arts American Masterpieces Dance grant. Kevin tours year-round as a soloist, and with the Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble in the Spring 2010, Fall 2010, and Spring 2011.
1. a bowed set of tuned nails popular in the 18th century
2. a combination of piano and violin
3. a category of instruments that have strings which stretch over a resonating chamber but do not extend beyond it
On October 3, Harmonia performed at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO). The group was invited to play their traditional Eastern European music to showcase the folk roots prevalent in Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra."
Harmonia introduced the audience to melodies from Hungary, Romania, Russia, Croatia, and the Ukraine with accordion, violin, cimbalom, and more.
"I started thinking about how much of classical music is influenced by folk elements," said BSO music director Marin Alsop. "I wanted to make that connection back to its world music roots."
"I think it's great to hear our music juxtaposed with the music of Bartók," group founder Walt Mahovlich says. "We know that Bartók was shaped, and always given a type of freedom, by his exposure to the traditional folk music. He drew from a lot of sources."
Even though every member of Harmonia has played with an orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra event marks the first time they joined together as an ensemble to perform their own original compositions and historical pieces for a purely classical audience. “This is something we’d like to do more of,” says Walt.
Beginning in the 2011-12 concert season Harmonia will play with chamber ensembles, chamber orchestras, and full orchestras.
View Harmonia's online brochure.
New Online Brochures: Anthony Brown and Harmonia
Ixtlan’s newest 60-second, click-and-read online brochures feature artists Anthony Brown and Harmonia.
Using a click-interface through photos and text, the online brochures enable readers to quickly get a feel for artists and their programs. Ixtlan’s online brochures are also Web based, so there is no need to download the files to view them (although that is an option). The online brochures are easily shareable to committees and colleagues.
New Touring Program: Peter Ostroushko and Beppe Gambetta
Ixtlan announces a new touring program featuring mandolin and violin virtuoso, Peter Ostroushko and guitar virtuoso, Beppe Gambetta.
Peter Ostroushko has an impressive catalog of solo albums and collaborations, including work with Bob Dylan and Norman Blake. He is best known as the former Music Director of Prairie Home Companion.
Beppe Gambetta hails from Italy and is widely regarded as one of the greatest innovators of the acoustic guitar in Europe, having toured there and the US regularly for over 20 years. Recognized worldwide, he was one of nine prestigious Taylor Guitar Elite Technicians.
Both artists share an influence with Norman Blake. Peter recorded Meeting on Southern Soil (Redhouse Records) with Blake in 2001. Beppe counts Blake as his most influential teacher on American flatpicking. The pairing of Peter and Beppe offers an instrumental tour de force. The program brings mandolin, violin, guitar, and vocals.
The festival-length concert event is booking now with availability in February of 2010 and the 2010-11 season.
Dirty Linen Magazine Features Tommy Sands
Dirty Linen Magazine’s January/February issue (available December 17) features a four-page feature article on Tommy Sands.
The article covers everything from Tommy’s past projects to future ambitions, both with his current Irish Band and with the Sands Family. But more importantly, the article discusses Tommy’s endeavors to create music with a higher purpose, the ‘music of what happened.’
In Tommy’s words, an excerpt from the article:
"In Irish history, there comes a time when legendary hero Fionn mac Cumhaill is talking about music with his people. 'What is the most beautiful music in the world?' he asks them, and they speak up for the song of the lark, the laughter of a girl, the baying of hounds... Fionn agrees that those are all good, but he says. 'The most beautiful music of all is the music of what happens.'
"Growing up, I heard songs all around me, songs of emigration and things that were very meaningful to those who wrote them, traditional songs. Then there were things happening around me, and I felt, as a songwriter, that I wanted to write about what was going on around me. I don't know how historical Fionn mac Cumhaill was exactly," said musician Tommy Sands, "but sometimes mythology is truer than factual stuff."
Writer Kerry Dexter notes, “ Drawing from the wells of history, mythology, and what happens around him has led Sands to write and perform songs all over the world. Sands and his songs have often been voices of peace amid anger and healing in the midst of conflict.”
Upcoming Ixtlan Showcases
APAP: January 8-12, 2010.
Kevin Locke and Beppe Gambetta, will have showcase performances at the upcoming APAP conference. Schedule is listed below. Visit Ixtlan at Rhinelander Gallery, booth 115 for any updates.
Sutton Center, 2nd Floor, Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY: Kevin Locke (solo):
Showcases: Sunday, Jan. 10th at 3:50 PM 4:05 PM
Sunday, Jan. 10th at 9:20 PM 9:35 PM
Showcases: Saturday, Jan. 9th at 10:40 PM 10:55 PM
Sunday, Jan. 10th at 10:00 PM 10:15 PM
IPAY: January 20-23, 2010
Beppe Gambetta will also showcase at the IPAY conference on Wednesday night, January 20 in the Education Center Multipurpose Room. Spotlight showcases begin at 9:45 p.m. Visit Ixtlan’s booth: 210.
Kevin Locke’s Earth Gift was nominated last week in the World Traditional Album category at the 9th annual Independent Music Awards (IMA). The IMA's prestigious international program gives the top-ranked independent artists and releases greater recognition and distribution. Earth Gift was produced and distributed by the new, artist-driven Ixtlan Recording Consortium.
This is the second nomination for Earth Gift this year, following up a nomination and win for Record of the Year by the Native American Music Awards in October. As an artist, Kevin also received a Nammy nomination for Flutist of the Year.
Earth Gift will compete against four other nominees in the World Traditional Album category. Winners in more 50 categories will be determined by a panel of 80 influential artist and industry judges, including Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, The Black Keys, Aimee Mann, Suzanne Vega, Bettye LaVette, Judy Collins, Jonatha Brooke, Shelby Lynn, and more.
This year IMA introduces Vox Populi Jukebox, an opportunity for friends and fans to vote for their favorites.. The Jukebox gives the general public a chance to rate category nominees from one to five (five being the best) and the "Voice of the People" determines the winner. Listen to tracks from Earth Gift and then vote for Kevin here.
Announced in January, IMA award winners will be connected with new audiences and revenue opportunities.
For more than twenty years, Ixtlan Artists Group has represented virtuoso performers from Europe and the Americas who have a commitment to education and cultural diversity. Founded in 1986 under the name “Joan Sherman Artist Management,” the agency’s original mission of providing excellent folk artists has expanded to traditional world music artists who provide concert and educational experiences that open doorways to universal cultural understanding.
Each artist Ixtlan represents is a premiere talent in their idiom, and they take audiences beyond daily experience into the arena of performance virtuosity rich in cultural traditions. Ixtlan artists speak directly, not only to performance, but to making an impact, on and off the stage.
Through both stage performance and educational outreach, Ixtlan endeavors to provide a venue where performance is used as a bridge to cultural understanding, artistic awareness, educational involvement, and peaceful coexistence of shared ideas.
Ixtlan periodically publishes a digest of the latest news about the artists on its roster.