Of Story and Music
Recitations And Recordings
Mythology is composed by poets out of their insights and realizations. Mythologies are not invented; they are found. You can no more tell us what your dream is going to be tonight than we can invent a myth. Myths come from the mystical region of essential experience. Joseph Campbell
We collect and research tales and narratives of long ago, using known translations of the originals or composing the verses of the recitations and the accompanying music ourselves. Relying on the traditional modal systems and rhythmic cycles found in the musical schools of various world cultures our interest lies in those folk and classical traditions that are deeply rooted in the distant past. Enhancing our performances and video storybooks are costumed actors, actresses and dancers who pose, interpret and entertain, bringing to life the very essence of the particular story being recounted.
There are many beautiful epic recitations, poems and literary masterpieces that all the world knows and loves which have their origins in the distant classical past. The authors of these stories are given their rightful due, as beauty and creativity are elements of our lives that should be treasured forever. However, the stories and narratives which have been neglected for various reasons, such as those that recount alternate versions of history, the deeds of nearly near mythical heroes, the changing of gender roles and the loss of matriarchy due to the rise of male patriarchy after the dawn of human civilization, the spiritual and mystical teachings that have been seen as obstacles to the power of established state religions or have been silenced, the known and unknown tragedies and dramas that cause us to think and ponder, for these are the accounts upon which we focus and endeavor to share with audiences so as to provide stimulation for thought, questioning, and for thinking critically. We as human beings seek to remember the events real or imagined that have given us our manner of thinking and living making us what we are today, as well as those narratives which inform and guide us as we venture forth into the world of tomorrow. These epics, poems, tales and stories are the reflections of our inner nature throughout our history, the building blocks and foundations that have evolved into the very morals of our modern human society. What we have become is a result of who we always were, though we prefer to think of the classical age as far from our own. The study of these stories disproves any notion that we are so different from ancient people; in fact, we become amazed at how similar we are, as the emotions revealed in verse after verse of these tales informs us of the way of our species, the way we were and how we will always be. Indeed, the mystical region of essential experience expressed in various forms of art is our collective human soul.
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Nuut was the ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky who protected her husband Geb, the Earth from all things foul. She was known as the blue goddess, often depicted in art as arching her body in a crescent. Shieri Yamafuji as Nuut. Photo, Ren Garzcynski
Odi Et Amo
Gaius Valerius Catullus was a poet of the late Roman Republic who wrote chiefly in the neoteric style, which is about personal life rather than the classical heroes of the epics. In I Hate And I Love he expresses his frustration...about a woman who insists on maintaining multiple relationships! Featuring Deborah Karpel. Model, Natalia Perlaza
Pyrrhus was an ancient ruler of Epirus, a mountainous land in northwestern Greece. A brilliant military strategist, he was successful against the Roman legions but his losses were heavy, and it is from his name that the term 'Pyrrhic Victory' was coined. He gave lavish feasts for his generals, soldiers and allies, as poets and bards competed with one another for the honor to recite at his banquets, known as the Table Of Zeus. The pentatonic music in this recording is typical of Epirus and southern Albania.
Photo, Ren Garzcyzski
The Ships Of Light
Mani was the founder of what was the world's first truly universal religion, his dualist gnostic faith was practiced at one time from China to Europe. According to the Manichaean texts the universe is divided into realms of light and dark, which are further representative of good and evil. Drawing from ancient Babylonian imagery, a beautiful verse from Mani's Gospel describes the Sun and the Moon as ships of light transporting the souls of the recently departed to live eternally in perpetual illumination.
Nezahualcoyotl was a 15th century ruler of Texcoco who brought about a golden age in Aztec civilization. A builder as well as a philosopher, he is remembered for his poetry which is characterized by the use of myth and symbolism.Recitation by Ismail & Deborah Karpel
The Passion Of Sappho
Sappho was one of the great poets of the ancient world. Her poetry is daring, passionate, powerful, erotic and witty, marked with a definite feminist stamp. Sappho's outspoken message to her readers and listeners is to enjoy life to it's fullest and to follow one's heart in all matters of love, attraction and desire. Recitation, Jennifer Hassan
Pathways Of Silk
An old Uzbek melody invoking memories of the rich cities and ancient civilizations that once flourished on the fabled Silk Road. Gandara and Kushan produced high art and sculpture and were centers of learning; religious scholars composed Buddhist texts in Greek and debated with sages from China, Persia and India. Spices, foods and ideas were exchanged along with Silk, hence the name of the route.
The Shahnameh, translated as The Book Of Kings is the national, ancient epic of the Iranian people, formerly compiled into one volume in the 10th century AD by the poet Firdowsi. It includes many exciting stories and episodes of heroes and champions battling invading armies and subduing fantastic beasts and villains, echoing the Persian Zoroastrian concept of the ongoing battle between light and dark, good and evil. The lengthy epic in its entirety is recounted in over 50,000 couplets. Ironically, it seems that the author of the work was not fully compensated by the ruler who commissioned him to create this masterpiece in the first place, so Firdowsi wrote a famous public complaint about his disappointment, which we thought to include at the end of this recitation. The script and the Iranian style music was inspired by the book and Persian culture.
The Saturnalia was a festival celebrated in the era of ancient Rome. Held in mid December, it concluded with the birth of the Sun. Saturnalia was a time of pure joy with much music, dance, eating and the drinking of wine as well as exhibiting a carefree sense of complete abandon. Young and old, rich and poor, everyone eagerly awaited the arrival of this annual holiday.
Recordings mastered at Soundworks Recording, Astoria NY