Jen Shyu's New Solo Ritual Music Drama NINE DOORS Set for National Sawdust
World Music Institute concludes its 2016-17 Counterpoint series with Jen Shyu. Co-presented with National Sawdust.
The acclaimed avant-garde vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar premieres Nine Doors, a solo ritual music drama in eight languages.
She will perform on Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m. at National Sawdust, 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn. Tickets: $29 in advance / $34 at the door (25% off on advance group buys of 4 tickets or more). Visit www.worldmusicinstitute.org for more information. Note: This event is a National Sawdust Summer Lab Showcase.
From World Music Institute's Artistic Director Par Neiburger: "Jen Shyu is simply one of the most creative artists living and working in New York. Her multidisciplinary performances and exploration of the intersections of life and myth are as unique as they are beautiful. Her art provides a special lens through which many cultures can be viewed in her own quest for self-exploration."
Born from Taiwanese and East Timorese immigrant parents, 2016 Doris Duke Artist Jen Shyu is a groundbreaking multilingual vocalist-composer, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, producer, and Fulbright scholar.
For these special performances at National Sawdust, Shyu will premiere Nine Doors, a solo ritual music drama, through both narrative and abstract, integrative music-movement methodologies via the voice, Taiwanese moon lute, gayageum, piano, biwa, and electronics. Shyu will sing in eight languages including Japanese, Javanese, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Tetum, Korean, and English.
Nine Doors was inspired by the loss of Shyu's friend Sri Joko Raharjo "Cilik," who died with his wife and infant son in an automobile accident at the age of 30. Raharjo was a master of the Javanese art of shadow puppetry called wayang kulit. His 6-year-old daughter, who survived the crash, is the central character in Shyu's piece. Time stops as she encounters powerful female legends-from the Wehali Kingdom of Timor to the Korean folkloric myth of Baridegi, the mother of all shamans-who become her guides. A mysterious phone booth in a gardener's yard in Otsuchi, Japan, which has become a comfort to the families who lost loved ones in the 2011 Tsunami, also enters into the story, with the gardener having given Shyu permission to compose a piece with his poetry. The work reflects the parallels that exist between life and death, different cultures, and the importance of empathy over destructive assumptions that divide humanity.
Nine Doors incorporates Shyu's 12-plus years of study of traditional music from five countries: epic storytelling (Pansori) and East Coast shaman music (DongHaeAhnByeolShinGut), both from Korea; music from sub-districts Aileu and Ataúro from East Timor; Hengchun Folk Song with moon lute from Taiwan; Ledhekan, which combines Javanese dance with improvisational singing (Sindhenan) from Indonesia; and the "speaking-of-the-song" or "katari" with Japanese biwa, the rare 4-stringed instrument originally used by monks and priests.
World Music Institute's Counterpoint series showcases contemporary artists who push the boundaries of what "world music" can mean as the divisions between cultures become less prominent in the 21st century.
The series began in October with a performance by ambient icon Laraaji at BAM Café, followed by a DJ set by Alan Bishop, co-founder of the Sublime Frequencies record label. It most recently featured the Syrian farmer-turned-wedding-singer Omar Souleyman at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as one of the leading presenters of world music and dance within the United States.
WMI is committed to presenting the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world with the goal of inspiring wonder for world cultures through music and dance. WMI aims to enrich the lives of people living in New York by promoting awareness of other cultures and their traditions. WMI collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding and appreciation of the world's cultural traditions and presents at venues throughout the city.
Under new leadership since 2015, its 30th anniversary season, World Music Institute has introduced an ambitious expansion of concert offerings that include contemporary, experimental and avant-garde presentations, as well as the traditional music that WMI has long been known and admired for. In addition, the institution is thrilled to have launched new partnerships with BAM, 92nd Street Y, SummerStage, Merkin Concert Hall, National Sawdust, Storm King Art Center, Le Poisson Rouge, Littlefield and Drom-while continuing partnerships with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Town Hall, Symphony Space, French Institute Alliance Française, and Apollo Theater (the annual Africa Now festival).
WMI has presented more than 1,500 concerts and events featuring artists from more than 100 countries across all continents. Through powerful programming, WMI is creating a movement that promotes awareness and engagement of other cultures, helping to encourage deeper understanding of communities around the globe.