My article "Shaping the Past and Creating the Future: Music, Nationalism, and the Negotiation of Cultural Memory at Macedonia’s Celebration of Twenty Years of Independence" just came out in the journal Music & Politics. In the article I think through some of the ways that musicians strategically challenge and, to some extent, shape nationalist politics, even when those same musicians may seem to support the politically powerful. I give some background on Macedonian nationalism and politics for this particular case, but I argue that nationalisms anywhere are far from uniform and that the variety of nationalist ideologies in a given context are always negotiated in one way or another. Since Music & Politics is an online journal, videos of the performances from the 2011 celebration of Macedonian independence discussed in the article are embedded in the text. Here's one of them, "Makedonija":
SLANT, my new album on tenor saxophone with pianist and new music specialist Richard Valitutto, is out now on pfMENTUM records. I love this project because it has given us the opportunity to engage with so many modes of improvisation, guided by concepts developed by some of our favorite composers and artists. Read the liner notes we wrote here. Listen here or here.
Earlier this year, Gateways to Understanding Music, the music appreciation textbook I co-authored with Timothy Rice, was published by Routledge. This week I had the pleasure of talking about the project at length on Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan at Radio New Zealand. Enjoy!
I published an article called "Commoning in Sonic Ethnography (or, the Sound of Ethnography to Come)" in the academic journal Commoning Ethnography, edited by a group of anthropologists. In it I write about making music together with people as a research methodology, and about what that has to do with ethnomusicology and putting knowledge and meaning into the world. The article ends with some comments on the CSPS Ensemble project and about what kinds of value these kinds of collaborative projects might have in different spheres. Click here to read.
The other day I was able to talk on Radio New Zealand about some of the inspiring music I've encountered over the years, sharing original music from Nicole Mitchell, Toni Kitanovski, Steve Coleman, Holophonor, and Callum Allardice. Listen below for some really good music and my thoughts and experiences with it.
At long last the album On the Face Place by the Macedonian jazz collective CSPS Ensemble has been released. Big thanks to Dave Lisik at SkyDeck Music and Victoria University of Wellington for their support. We did a release show in Skopje at Stanica 26 on February 2 and are grateful to Nika Gavrovska for the album artwork and to my co-producer Alen Hadži-Stefanov for his excellent engineering and mixing . The band features:
Kiril Kuzmanov - alto saxophone, flute
Ivan Ivanov - tenor saxophone
Dave Wilson - baritone saxophone, flute
Trajče Velkov - trumpet
Kiril Tufekčievski - bass
Bojan Petkov - guitar
Ratko Dautovski - percussion
Check out this composition The Red Barbunya by Kiril Tufekčievski from the album:
or stream the whole album here:
In Passing is an oud and clarinet/bass clarinet duo project that explores the intersections of a number of jazz sensibilities and music cultures of the Middle East. It emerged from a dynamic year of collaborating with Gabe Lavin in 2015 and 2016, and we're so grateful that we had the opportunity to record the music that we spent so much time writing and performing together. We also had the honor of including incredible performances by Albert Agha on vocals and Pablo Infante-Amate on riqq. Here's a track from the album featuring Albert:
and you can stream the whole album here:
I had the great privilege of spending the last week of July in Skopje, preparing the debut performance of our tentatively-titled Encounter project. As I mentioned at the concert, it was one of my shortest stays in Macedonia in recent memory, but also one of the sweetest, mostly because of the time spent working with so many wonderful musicians: bassist Kiril Tufekchievski, guitarist Bojan "Shamba" Petkov, saxophonists Kiril Kuzmanov and Ivan Ivanov, trumpet player Stelios Chatzikaleas (Greece), and percussionist Ratko Dautovski. It was an honor to share our music as part of the Skopsko Leto Skopje Summer Festival, and the concert was attended by an outstandingly supportive audience at the beautiful 15th-century Suli An venue in Skopje's old town, the stara charshija. Video is coming soon, but here is the link to a preview article, thoughtfully written by arts journalist Ljupcho Jolevski (Google translate may be required).
In May, I organized a tour throughout Macedonia and Kosovo for Dr. James Newton and the UCLA Charles Mingus Ensemble. Here is a full-length video of our performance at Goce Delchev University in the town of Shtip. It was a great privilege to share our music with the students and faculty of the university at our performance and a few master classes.
Here is a video of an interview we did with Dr. Newton and pianist Kiefer Shackelford for the local radio station, with my live English translation:
I've been collaborating with DJ Maci here in Skopje since the summer of 2012, and yesterday we were fortunate enough to do a live set of some of our material on Skopje's jazz radio station, Jazz FM. Here's the whole set -- which starts with an interview (in Macedonian) with Maci, myself, and Alen Hadzistefanov, one of the owners of the radio station. We're so grateful to Alen for the opportunity to share our music!