As we have just passed the time of Eid, the end of Ramadan I am reminded of my time in Jerusalem two years ago. At this time last year I was preparing for my tour to Iraq. The people I met in those recent travels have enriched my life immeasurably. It has been my great honor to share my knowledge and learn from these amazing trips. I'm delighted to say that the subscribers to this newsletter have grown greatly. I am happy to welcome new members from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and most recently India. The music I created for Constellation Theatre's production of The Ramayana has brought a greater awareness of my music to that part of the world I'm honored to say.
Constellation Theatre Remounts The Ramayana: A Sell Out Success
The remount of The Ramayana this summer was an incredible success. From the first week all shows were sold out with a long line for hopefuls to get the tickets of potential no shows. Allison Arkell Stockman made some tremendous improvements. The sets by A.J. Guban were amazing as were the costumes by Kendra Rai. As always the actors were wonderful and brought this amazing tale to life. I made some changes to the original music and had a great time implementing them. I especially had a great time combining digital looping, electronic percussion with tabla, kanjira and a variety of ancient hand drums. I even had fun combining konnakol, the traditional South Indian vocal percussion, with American Beat-Box. The music, I am honored to say, received a lot of attention from the Washington press as well as a publication in India! Below are some of the quotes:
It hasn't taken long for Allison Arkell Stockman and Tom Teasley to form one of the most distinctive theatrical partnerships in Washington. The Stockman-Teasley experience is on full display in "The Ramayana," which was so popular during its run last spring that it's back (through Aug. 21) at Source Theatre. Arrive early and you can watch Teasley in his corral next to the small stage, working an array of unusual instruments, electronic and acoustic, creating alluring sounds to usher in Stockman's Hindu adventure. Once the show begins, Teasley blends into Stockman's rich mix, even as his music continues to trigger the production's vivid moods.-Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post
The defining feature of this production is Tom Teasley's music; the traditional labels of 'Composer' or 'Sound Designer' do not accurately describe what Teasley contributes. Combining pre-recorded tracks with live performance, Teasley accompanies the action, highlighting mood and movement with a variety of exotic instruments, and occasionally taking center stage during scene transitions and pre/post show. Teasley is an absolute master of his craft, transcending the surprisingly restrictive generic label of 'World Music', and this production is worth seeing if only for his performance. - Pessica Pearson, Maryland Theater Guide
Underscoring it all is the über-percussionist Tom Teasley, who won a Helen Hayes Award for his pulse-quickening live soundtrack for the play, utilizing several instruments-both ancient and contemporary-along with synthesizers and his own vocal chords for further assistance. It's a masterful performance that helps make The Ramayana thrilling and stimulating to the end. -Missy Frederick, Washingtonian After Hours ...spellbinding music, this time provided by musician and composer Tom Teasley, who uses recorded tracks and live performance to weave an eclectic soundscape of world beats and classical Indian rhythms. - Jayne Blanchard, DC Theatre Scene
...composer/live percussionist Tom Teasley. Who simultaneously beat-boxed, drummed, played instruments making sounds I thought impossible sans Logic, creating an additional character of the music. The Washington Post calls him "a percussionist in the widest and most exuberant sense of the word"-no need to say any more.- Mallory Hemerlein, BYL
Stockman's production is a feast for both the mind and the eyes, moving effortlessly on the rails of live music by Teasley, who conjures up a medley of sounds, including Indian beats, on an array of instruments. Sitting calmly in a corner, Teasley creates the winds, the ocean, the battle and the drama, all aiding to transport the audience to another place and another time. It's clear why he was the recipient of the prestigious Helen Hayes award this year for outstanding sound design for The Ramayana.-Sema Sirohi, Outlook India
I'm also delighted to announce that I composed and recorded in my newly renovated studio, music for InterAct Story Theater's new production "VoyttoTech", a scifi fable on bullying. There will be more on this project soon!
Visual Artist Nick Cave - Soundsuit Collaboration
In September I have begun a new direction with music. I have been looking for ways to combine my original music with visual art since I collaborated with the Kreeger Museum several years ago. I am so excited that I will be collaborating for the Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth opening at The Taubman Museum of Art. This is a multi-dimensional project combining Nick Cave's amazing "soundsuits", original choreography by Pedro Szalay, Sandra Meythaler danah bella and my original music. The member's opening will be September 15th at The Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, VA. There will be an educational program on the 16th for over 400 area high school students. On Saturday there is another Soundsuit Innovation performance followed by a parade through downtown Roanoke. Go here for more details http://www.taubmanmuseum.org/main/exhibitions/nick-cave-meet-me-center-earth. If you are not familiar with Nick Cave's work check it out here
Follow Works in Progress through Soundcloud, YouTube and Twitter
If you didn't have a chance to explore some of my recent postings of last month I invite you to do so. This material is a prototype for an upcoming educational DVD on the subject of combining American jazz techniques with world percussion.
I promise to post more in the future and I look forward to your comments. If you are interested in following my new music in progress including work for The Nick Cave project I have created a Juke Box on my new Artist page on Facebook
Feel free to like my page if you are interested. I hope for it to be a one stop easy access for new music, video and developments with my music and career. I have also started using Twitter as a quick way to stay in touch. Please visit me here
if you are interested in following my musical tweets. I also look forward to any comments you might have as I continue to build a world community through my music
State Department Tour of New Zealand and Samoa
Speaking of my world community through music I'm honored to announce that I will be departing for New Zealand and Samoa in September just following the opening at The Taubman Museum of Art. As this is such a recent development I don't have too many details yet. I have been told there may be a collaboration with knife and fire throwers! I will definitely have a camera. That is all the more reason to follow this exciting journey through Facebook and Twitter. I have discovered there is an amazing drumming tradition in Samoa and will definitely be collaborating with master drummers there. I will keep updating with details as they become available.
Private Percussion Instruction in State of the Art Studio
Don't forget that I offer private instruction in my home-studio, which is equipped with all types of world percussion, drumset, mallets and the latest in cutting edge electronics.
Free Download "STEPPING IN SEVEN"
This month's free download is Stepping In Seven. It was recorded in my home studio and will be performed live at The Taubman Museum of Art for the Nick Cave opening. Featured are tabla, melodica and a simple (konnakol) vocalization division of the beat. I'll use this as a departure for improvisation with the dancers during the performance. I hope you enjoy it!
Until next time Peace, Salam, Shalom,