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West Faces East: India Songs
Richard Bennett & Paula Jeanine
West Faces East: India Songs
A free concert of Raga on Piano and New Compositions for Voice
“The audience was enthralled as they walked the soulful path created by the music of Paula Jeanine. A blend of the classic and the maverick and the urban with the sublime.”
-Times of India
"Pianist Richard Bennett has found a way to have instantly catchy tunes- riffs and ostinatos really- transcend jazz expectations while still focusing on improvisation." - Village Voice
In the history of American music, inspiration for composers often comes from far-reaching sources. For over a decade, pianist-composer Richard Bennett and vocalist-percussionist-poet Paula Jeanine have had a strong connection with India. Immersion in classical and semi-classical Indian music forms has developed their unique creativity in two distinctly different ways.
The evening will start with an informal talk by Paula Jeanine, in which she will outline her vocal adventures in India and lead the audience through a few swoops and embellishments that typify North Indian vocal technique. Then, Richard will play several ragas on the library's beautiful grand piano, presenting classic raga contour and development adapted to a very Western instrument. In the last portion of the presentation, Paula Jeanine will sing a selection of original and adapted songs, many from her current Indo-American fusion project Melody Sky.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Perry-Mansfield faculty members Paula Jeanine and Richard Bennett are based on the Brooklyn waterfront when not spending part of their summers in Steamboat Springs. Whether exuberant and percussive or lyrical and transcendent, Richard Bennett is a virtuoso at the piano. Bringing an array of world music and jazz influences to his music, he blends together a sound that is all his own. In New York his bands have performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Guggenheim Museum, BAMcafe, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Central Park Summerstage. Internationally, he has toured over 20 countries as member of various jazz and blues ensembles. His album Raga and Blues was released by Mystica Music in India in 2011. The follow-up CD "Rhapsody in Yaman" was released in February 2012.
Paula Jeanine has been building a bridge between the American voice and South Asian music since her first trip to India in 2011,where she studied at the Jazz India Vocal Institute in Mumbai. In subsequent trips to India she has performed at many clubs and festivals and was an cultural ambassador in a concert tour of western India sponsored by the American Center. Internationally, she has performed at Pope Benedict XVI’s Summit for Peace in Assisi, Italy, at the Nehru Centre in London and was the American Voice of Peace for the World Conference of Religions in Kyoto, Japan.