Sojourns is a special documentary series produced by ¡Globalquerque! It is also your passport to a unique journey that takes a glimpse into the lives of some of the most original and compelling musical and visual artists on the planet, exploring their culture through cuisine, architecture, special passions - and, of course, their music and art!
Taped on location around the world in partnership with the featured artists, Sojourns will take you on vacation in South Korea with members of shamanistic ritual folk-pop group Ak Dan Gwang Chil and on an exploration of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the Fendika Cultural Center with center founder and Fendika Ensemble leader Melaku Belay. You will also travel to Oaxaca, Mexico to hang out with master printmaker and painter Enrique Flores and indigenous Triqui weaver Eloisa Martínez García while enjoying the music of Mixtec group Pasatono Orquestra, experience the culture, passions and antics of neo-zombie-post-folk Estonian duo Puuluup and travel on the Silk Road in Kashan, Iran at a very special concert tribute to the late Mohammed Reza Shajarian, conducted, performed and featuring all new music by the internationally renowned Kayhan Kalhor and his ensemble.
From a coffee ceremony in Ethiopia to brewing tea in South Korea to smoking fish in a Soviet-era smoker in Estonia to making handmade tortillas on a comal over an open fire in México, ¡Globalquerque! Sojourns takes you on a unique journey through the eyes and into the lives of some of the most original and compelling musical and visual artists on the planet!
Ak Dan Gwang Chil (South Korea)
Ak Dan Gwang Chil (affectionately known as ADG7) is a multi-award winning traditional music group, featuring six Korean traditional musicians and three powerhouse female folk singers. ADG7 performs repertoire from the sacred, shamanic and secular gut (ritual music) and minyo (folk song) traditions of the Hwanghae-do region, nowadays a western province of North Korea. The band was formed in 2015 to participate in the 70th anniversary celebrations of Korean liberation from Japanese occupation. Their music expresses the true meaning of liberation and South Korea’s desire for reunification. While the nine-piece group investigate their homeland’s folk roots, they do so in an unexpected manner. Their music has been described as shamanistic ritual folk-pop, combining virtuosity, charisma, and pure energy. As the New York Times observed, ADG7 play “not as earnest traditionalists, but as a giddy showband with all the trappings of K-pop”.
Melaku Belay & Fendika (Ethiopia) SOJOURNS EPISODE 2 - COMING SOON!
Founded in 2009 by Melaku Belay, Ethiopia’s leading dancer and a respected cultural ambassador, Fendika features eight performers – two dancers, two singers, and instruments including kebero drums, masenko (a one-stringed bowed fiddle), krar (a five- or six-stringed lyre), and bass krar. The ensemble is based at Melaku’s renowned music club Fendika Azmari Bet in the Kazanchis neighborhood of Addis Ababa. In Ethiopian culture, an azmari bet is a traditional house of music where people come to be entertained, informed, and sometimes playfully insulted by the azmari who serve as current events commentators while they dance, sing, and play for tips.
Fendika Cultural Center was established in 2016, but the original Fendika Azmari Bet opened its door in the early 1990s, when the neighborhood of Kazanchis sported 25 similar places. While the other azmari bets disappeared due to the pressure of Addis Ababa’s rapid development, Fendika Cultural Center has survived until today thanks to Melaku’s passion for Ethiopian music and dance and his belief in the power of art and creativity in building communities.
Enrique Flores / Eloisa Martínez García / Pasatono Orquestra (México)
Enrique Flores Gonzalez is one of the most prolific Mexican artists of his generation. He was born in a community in the Mixtec region of the state of Oaxaca, which has a deep-rooted culture that preserves its traditions and customs and is surrounded by a rural landscape that is always present in his art. Enrique was a member of the first generation at the Rufino Tamayo Art Workshop and later spent several years in the Free Workshop of Oaxaca Graphic Art. Both as a painter and as a graphic artist, he uses different media to capture the daily life of the communities, always using the image of a woman as a symbol of their importance in the development of cultures. As a painter, he was mentored by the renowned master of contemporary Mexican art, Rodolfo Morales.
Eloisa Martínez García is a traditional weaver from Tierra Blanca Copala in the Triqui Low Lands Region of the state of Oaxaca, where Xnánj'nu (Triqui language) is still spoken.
Tierra Blanca Copala is renowned for its traditional weaving and Eloisa was taught the art of weaving by her aunt at the age of 10. She discovered that she loved to weave and the art became a lifelong passion, inspiring a deserved pride in this remarkable tradition and art form. Today, that tradition is in good hands as Eloisa continues to create beautiful weaved clothing and textile art.
Pasatono Orquesta is an eight-member ensemble of dedicated to rescuing and performing traditional Oaxacan music, especially that of the Mixtec region. The group was founded by three Oaxacan students at the Escuela Nacional de Música in Mexico City, who were dismayed that their traditional music was not taught at the school. Directed by Rubén Luengas Pérez, Pasatono recreates the rural orchestra that was popular in Oaxacasfrom the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, that mixed indigenous, European and African musical traditions. With a name that refers to a kind of violin maker in Oaxaca, Pasatono perform on traditional instruments (violins, clarinets, trumpets, guitars) as well as endangered local instruments such as the bajo fondo, a ten-stringed Oaxacan guitar and the Oaxaca jarana, playing new arrangements of traditional works as well as new compositions, adding contemporary influences.
Puuluup (Estonia) SOJOURNS EPISODE ONE DEBUTED JUNE 11, 2021
What to get when you mix a pinch of surrealism, a bit of modern folklore, a heaping helping of talharpa revival and blend it together through effect blocks and loopers? The answer is the neo-zombie-post-folk Estonian duo Puuluup! Ramo Teder and Marko Veisson have virtually resurrected the ancient talharpa (bowed lyre), popular in Northern Europe since the early middle ages and played on Western Estonian islands until the beginning of 20th century. But this is not an ethnomusicological romp. Puuluup directs the vibrations of the talharpa’s horsehair strings through effects, using alternative bowing and rhythm techniques. The mellow sighs of talharpa are paired with electronically amplified echoes, knocks, creaks and crackles, while still maintaining the instrument’s natural sound. And it is all presented with a unique sense of humor and originality: They play with music as they play with words, sometimes creating their own language.
As the duo states: “We draw inspiration from Vormsi nights, trams in November, junkies in love, criminals from Odessa and Antonio Vivaldi.” Indeed.
Please contact tom (at)globalquerque (dot) org for screening opportunities
Special thanks to the City of Albuquerque for their generous support .
Photo by Tom Frouge