Song of Wonder
A concert of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish music featuring Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris
Wednesday, April 23, 7:30 pm
Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas
University of St. Thomas
St. Paul Campus
free and open to the public
Exploring the theme of wonder through the music and poetry of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish traditions, vocalists and string musicians Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris are joined by Carnatic percussion master Thanjavur Muruga Boopathi, percussionist Mick LaBriola, ‘ud player David Burk, and vocalist Shruthi Rajasekar.
Nirmala and David, inspired by the poetry of a thousand years in each of their traditions, probe the many facets of wonder as gateways to an illumined and impassioned life. Highlights of the concert include excerpts from the oldest extant piece of notated Jewish music; improvisational performances by Nirmala on the veena in both familiar and rare ragas (the melodic soundscapes of Indian music); ancient Tamil Sangam poetry; plangent Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew chants from traditional Jewish communities in Bosnia, Turkey, and Morocco; and new musical arrangements flowing from this evening’s cross-cultural collaboration.
Nirmala Rajasekar has been featured in many world-renowned venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, United Nations, Symphony Space; the Music Academy in Chennai, India; the Rumi International Festival in Konya, Turkey; and Musee Rietburg in Zurich, Switzerland. Nirmala made her debut as a solo performer on the 7-stringed veena at age 13 in Bangelore, India. Radio India has pronounced her a Grade A artist for All India Radio since 1990. Nirmala has performed in numerous collaborative settings with musicians from many backgrounds, including Western classical, Chinese, Indonesian gamelan, and jazz. She is the artistic director of the Naadha Rasa Center of Music based in Plymouth, where she teaches the art of Carnatic music.
David Jordan Harris is co-founder and artistic director of Voices of Sepharad. He has pursued study and performance of Sephardic music throughout North America, Morocco, Greece, France, Israel, Turkey, Poland, Bosnia, and Spain. Integrating his skills as a singer, actor, and dancer, David has appeared as a guest artist with Zorongo Flamenco, Corning Dances and Company, Walker Art Center, Illusion Theater, Rose Ensemble, North Star Opera, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Guthrie Theater, Minnesota Opera, Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Ensemble Espaῆol, and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. David is the interfaith arts special consultant for the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and executive director of Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council.
Co-sposored with the Saced Arts Festival at the University of St. Thomas