Song of Wonder workshop in Rochester

A workshop and performance of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish music featuring Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris

Date & Time:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Tuesday, March 1, 12noon


free and open to the public


Rochester Public Library Auditorium
101 2nd St SE, Rochester, MN

Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris

Nirmala Rajasekar and David Jordan Harris

The performance explores the theme of wonder through the music, folktales, and poetry of South Indian and Judeo-Spanish traditions. Inspired by the rich, imagistic poetry and evocative music of more than a thousand years in each tradition, the concert probes the many facets of wonder as gateways to an illumined and impassioned life. The performers explore the cultural and musical worlds behind the repertoire in their concert. Demonstrating an exciting spectrum of musical styles contained within their respective Carnatic and Sephardic art forms, the musicians will take their audience on a journey through the centuries across the landscapes of South India and the Judeo-Spanish world of Turkey, Morocco, and Bosnia.

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, and ‘ud player David Burk.

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 Espaß┐ćol, 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.

For more information, please call 507-328-2300

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.