Rhythm Village concert of four local world fusion composers


Rhythm Village, a concert featuring four local world fusion composers will take place Friday, April 22 at Next Stage in Putney at 8 p.m.

What is world fusion? World fusion is a style of music that attempts to combine various kinds of unrelated music from around the world into new and exciting musical hybrids.

Derrik Jordan, a local musician and composer with a four decades long passion for world music, especially the music of Africa, Brazil, India, and The Middle East, has put together a concert featuring some local musicians and composers who also share his interest. Eugene Uman, director of the Vermont Jazz Center and Tony Vacca, well known for his group Tony Vacca's World Rhythms Ensemble and Impulse Ensemble, along with Jim Matus will be performing.

Jordan has performed with Tony Vacca for more than a decade with the World Rhythms Ensemble and has travelled twice to Senegal with Tony performing and recording as part of the Senegal-America Project, a cultural and educational exchange program of which Vacca is the co-founder. Jordan also is a founding member of Simba, one of Brattleboro's most beloved dance bands. Jordan has a strong interest in composing world fusion/classical music which brings world music elements and classical musicians together in new and unusual ways. He has written for The Vermont Symphony Orchestra and his piece "Odzihozo And The Lake" was performed in 10 venues around Vermont. He has also been commissioned by The Windham Orchestra for a piece ("Windham Loops") that featured his world fusion power trio Impulse Ensemble (also performing in the April 22 concert) and many other chamber groups. He is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. His music is currently featured in many films and TV shows in the US and internationally.

Eugene Uman is the director of the Vermont Jazz Center and is an accomplished jazz pianist who is also responsible for bringing many wonderful jazz players to the Brattleboro area. He is very inspired by Columbian music and has travelled there to teach in colleges and has performed there many times. He will perform some of his Columbian inspired compositions at this concert with a small ensemble.

Tony Vacca is a multi-percussionist and spoken word artist with his main instrument being the balafon. He has worked with many musicians including Sting and Don Cherry. He will be performing some of his world fusion compositions with Impulse Ensemble, a world fusion power trio that includes Derrik Jordan and Jim Matus.

Jim Matus plays the laoutar, and electric Greek lute, similar to an electric guitar. He is very influenced by Middle Eastern music and will perform a solo piece and also another original compositon with Impulse Ensemble.

The featured piece of the evening is "Baka Bachianas" and was composed by Derrik Jordan in 2015. It was inspired by the unique vocal singing style of the Baka forest people of Cameroon who are also known as Pygmies. The piece is composed for flute choir and uses 8 flutes of all sizes. It is being directed by Robin Matathias and will be premiered by the Keene State Flute Choir. Matathaias also teaches flute at the Brattleboro Music Center.

After writing the piece last year Jordan discovered that Brattleboro dancer Georgette Beighle was half Baka and had produced a short documentary film about her people. The purpose of her film was to raise money to purchase land for a group of Baka who were being exploited by a local village in Cameroon. The Baka are traditionally hunter-gatherers but have fallen on hard times. She was able to buy some land for them in Cameroon and had signed all the papers but still owes money to complete the transaction. When Jordan wrote " Baka Bachianas" he didn't know that Georgette was Baka or that she was involved in this campaign to help the Baka in Cameroon. When he found out, he contacted Georgette and presented the idea that this Rhythm Village concert could be a way to help her raise more money and awareness for her campaign. She loved the idea and a second event has now also been scheduled in Burlington, VT on Sat April 30 An excerpt of her film about the Baka will be shown on April 22 at the event in Putney. There will be a small dance floor at Next Stage so people can move around to the very rhythmic music.


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