World Peace Through World Music
I am delighted to announce that I just received confirmation that I will be embarking on a historic tour of Iraq in early December. The State Department Cultural Envoy Program sponsors this tour and I am extremely honored to represent the U.S. in this unique and powerful mission of understanding through music. The itinerary is still being completed but I will present programs in Baghdad as well as Erbil, Ramadi, Dhi Qar and Basra. While in Iraq I will present solo concerts featuring my unique blend of Middle Eastern percussion and rhythms fused with American jazz. I will also combine some of the ancient Middle Eastern instruments such as Daff, Riqq and Tabla with digital looping and even some D.J. technology. The thought of collaborating with Iraqi musicians including a quartet from the Iraqi National Symphony, dancers and poets in each of these cities has me very excited. In addition I will teach both Iraqi music students as well as teachers some of my hybrid styles and techniques.
I cherish this opportunity to learn much more about this fascinating culture and the music from which it comes. This will be the first time an American artist has toured Iraq in many years so the significance is very important to the mission of understanding through cultural exchange. I will keep you posted as developments continue to materialize. I really believe that music has the universal power to transcend language, culture differences and political ideologies. That said, I'm a little nervous and ask that you keep me in your thoughts as I attempt to be a positive musical ambassador for all of us who believe in the positive power of music to transform. The readership of this newsletter now goes to five continents and over 30 countries. That is a lot of positive energy when connected to the power of music!
From the Middle East to Western VA
November 15th-20th I will be touring Western Virginia. I will present a solo concert at New River Community College in Dublin, VA presenting a my fusion of ancient percussion with cutting edge electronics to include digital looping which allow me to create virtual ensembles. While in the region I expect to add some master classes, workshops and other performances in addition to teaching some private students.
There is one other project that I am very excited about! My performance of setting silent movies to my original music will be premiering at The Shadowbox Cinema in Roanoke, VA on November 17th. I have chosen "The Adventures of Prince Achmed". This story taken from Arabian Nights and features the amazing hand cut silhouettes of Lotte Reiniger. This premiered in Germany in 1926 and is still as breathtaking and contemporary as it was then! I am really excited to share my musical adventures to the Middle East with Virginia audiences through the use of this artfully made film.
Suzuki Association of Greater Washington
I have had wonderful opportunities to expand my horizons with a range of diverse projects in the DC metro area. In October I gave 9 individual workshops for the Suzuki Association of Greater Washington piano students. I found that my teaching methods using the South Indian rhythmic solfege, solkatu, works perfectly with the ear training method of the Suzuki school. In each workshop I performed some of my solo repertoire using a variety of ancient world percussion combined with digital technology. I then taught the students some African, Indian and Middle Eastern rhythms verbally using the solkatu. We brought the process full circle after the students learned some proper technique on the djembe drums and performed the rhythms they had previously recited. We even broke into ensembles of three and four parts for the more experienced students. A special thank you to workshop coordinator Linda Gutterman for being a wonderful host and Vic Firth and Remo for their generous support.
"Tom's classes were extraordinary. He performed for the students, and then worked with them individually and as a group teaching them drumming techniques and rhythmic fundamentals. The students were totally captivated by his personality and gentle, encouraging teaching style." -Linda Gutterman
Below are some comments from the students and their parents:
"Excellent. Mr. Teasley is so brilliant I could listen to him all day."
"Interesting presentation and background of various instruments. Also - lively demonstration of drumming performances. Engaging toward each student during hands-on experience. Amicable and fun!"
"It was really cool with the digital stuff and the different drumming styles"
"Extremely interesting. Mr. Tom is amazing." "Excellent performance and educational experience. A master musician. So grateful - my child enjoyed the opportunity."
Another Great Experience with the Red Well Theater Group
It was once again my pleasure to collaborate with RWTG in Baltimore, Maryland recently to reprise Off the Map, a play by Joan Ackerman, for the 55th Annual Institute and Conference of the American Academy of Psychotherapists. I had the honor of setting this moving play to music for this staged reading.
"The music more than took the place of the scenery. I could see, even feel, and definitely hear the desert through the music and sounds that Tom Teasley created. He was like another character in the play. The theater can be a healing experience, but the ambience has to be just right. The music helped create that healing ambience."- A composite of participant comments (from Washington D.C. psychotherapists).
RWTG is a troupe of American group therapists that presents stage plays to illuminate the complexity of relationships and the universal need for mutual recognition and community wellbeing for audiences of psychotherapists around the world. Please visit http://www.redwelltheater.com/ for more information.
This work is an exciting and natural extension of my recent theater work in combination with my interest in music as a healing art. There are some other projects in the future combining my work with the art of psychotherapy...Details to be announced soon!
Free Download this Month's Theme from Aladin
In honor of the premier of my new project "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" I'm offering a free down load of "Aladin Theme" from the film. I hope you are able to catch a performance near you soon. I also invite you to visit my site and iTunes to sample and purchase some of my other music.
"Fusions between American and Eastern schools are old news, yet seldom has any percussionist drawn so deeply from both wells and come up with a blend as bewitching and original as this." -- Drum! Magazine
"The evening's dazzler..." - The Washington Post
"No Instrument has a limitation for him." - Modern Drummer Magazine
" ... a highly imaginative conceptualist... a colorful, intellectual musician, employing his talents in the orchestration of sound... ingeniously deploys unusual uses of unusual percussion... unlimited talents. " - Allaboutjazz.com
"Washington D.C.-based percussion wizard Tom Teasley deserves his own slot in the CD bins. Maybe his own store." - Jazz Improv Magazine
I look forward to catching up with you after my return from Iraq. Please visit my Facebook page where I will be posting pictures, updates and video.
Until next time,
Peace, Salam, Shalom,