Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe, CFRO 100.5 FM on July 11 at 1 pm PST were honoured to welcome the poetry of the Greek poet Ilias Foukis with the reading of two poems and a special dedication to his friend Maria and his sister Sofia. Thanks to the World Poetry Cafe radio show team of Ariadne Sawyer,host and producer, Super tech, Victor Shartzman and special volunteer, Sharon.
The Greek poet ILIAS FOUKIS , was born on 20 August 1969 in Epirus in northwestern Greece. He began to write poetry since 1988 when he was student in the Lyceum. Published volume of poetry THE TESTAMENT OF A LESSER GOD , which has been translated into ten languages including English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.. Has won literary awards – OSCAR DE DOS OURO VENCEDORES, Brazil 2012 – MASSIMO D’AZEGLIO, Italy, 2012, 2013 , 2016. – CITA DEL GALATEO, Italy in 2013. His poem titled YOUNG GREEK SOLITARY was included in Poetry Anthology – U.S. Library of Congress. Works and lives in Athens.
Here are the two poems that were read on the air:
IN TIMES OF PEACE
Good called on the tempests of Zeus
to declare war
Like a wild beast it rose up
to kill evil
and from the heights of the Heavens
to exterminate it…
to flatten it
with the roar and power of thunderbolts.
Evil died…entered the ground
the garbage of earth
gave it a soul.
It raised its head…stood up straight
reentered the world in a driving rain.
Those were you see , the times of peace.
Good lived on intoxicated
wearing the laurels of triumph
and the tuxedo of justice.
It gave evil a pardon
in the name of the coexistence of nations and ideas.
Wars and tempests were forgotten
and the thunderbolts
and as in the beginning
lived together again in the name of peace
so in a while war
starts all over again from the beginning.
By Ilias Foukis (C) All rights reserved.
Translation by PHILIP RAMP
YOUNG GREEK SOLITARY
If such be
the will of the God on Earth
without needing to sing the praises of Zeus
will walk all day on the Earth.
And more importantly
as soon as I glimpse the secure distance
I’ve kept from death…
praise be to Apollo…
I will not be disturbed
by the demon of Self-Destruct
If such not be
the will of the God of the Heavens
then my dreams
which lay siege to the essence of Existence
will like Sisyphus
be caught in the nightmare of pointless labor
so not even one meter of heaven will be granted…
and do you know where these Dreams
for a better World
and a Beautiful Greece will end?
Unobserved and slowly
they will be eaten by the rust
and the dust of forgetfulness.
If such be
the will of the God of the Sea
my own specters which are armed
with gravity of conscience and forgiveness
will then have the rare opportunity
of washing away the living sins of Troy
which have become the most dangerous Olympus
with their cynical anticipation
be the Eternal Greece before the eyes of the world.
If such not be
the will of the God of Fire
then I who know better the fatal bond
of Greece with Flames
will lose my last
to show mercy
and the Cities will continue
to quietly burn.
And indeed… if such not be
the will of the God of Love
because of this horrifying alienation
which human emotions have undergone
no one will love me at all.
The worst thing though is that this Tragedy
will not simply end here…
This God of Love
has come highly touted by Olympus…
A good deal more than your usual Idols
and different from them
usurper of all longings
and with many possibilities for immortality.
And all the departing travelers
will testify that no matter where they went
they saw none of this incredible love anywhere
which in itself would be enough to convince
the easily deceived world
that the Summit had been worth the effort.
Few people love each other in this World.
And these few
love each other only as much as they are permitted
by the thought that you can never ascend into the Great Sky
because there… there has truly evolved
an anthropic History
but one that’s been lived by the Gods alone…
And for us to stay in the life which endures
more or less but for a single Season
we in any case my dear Apollo
were in no quandary…
felt no mystery…
because we never expressed any interest
in being Gods.
The problem is very simple…
We are not wanted
on this Earth…
Utterly paralyzed and directionless
we have moved about in the world
without being observed by anyone…
Perhaps we should get organised
we the Great Anonymous mass
to bring this madness with false
Heroes to an end
those who only the Gods with their
own wretchedness know how to erect…
And as if Troy wasn’t enough
to tyrannize Greece
then Olympus went and committed a crime
of its own as well.
The brain of the World has become stupefied
flinging at their hollow heads
its ferocious desire
to be God.
By these Gods
which will control everything from on high
and even more appalling
us who Will and Chance in tandem have
wanted to keep down here…
despite the fact we roamed the Earth backwards and forwards
Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM was honoured to welcome the talented musician and composer Wayne Wallace to celebrate his new CD the The Rhythm of Invention with the Latin Jazz Quintet. It was a delightful interview with the award winning composer who also answered a question from a young man in Africa! We found out that he had just been writing an article for a Jazz magazine on the same topic and that some of his ancestors had come from the Masai tribe. It is this kind of magic that makes the radio show so interesting.
Wayne Wallace blends chamber orchestra, jazz horns, spoken word, and his acclaimed Latin Jazz Quintet on The Rhythm of Invention. http://waynewallacelatinjazzquintet.com/
Trombonist and Afro-Caribbean scholar upends tradition to honor jazz greats and mentors
On his previous album, the critically adored Canto América, Wayne Wallace broke with his own tradition to co-lead a chamber orchestra featuring horns, winds, a double string quartet, and an array of vocalists. On The Rhythm of Invention – slated for release by Patois Records on June 7, 2019 – Wallace set an equally ambitious goal: to combine these added resources with his Latin Jazz Quintet, whose albums have garnered three of Wallace’s four previous GRAMMY nominations.
“I wanted to come up with a way of coherently mixing the quintet with the brass and strings from Canto,” explains the esteemed trombonist, innovative arranger, and notable educator. That desire now finds voice in a dazzling set of new compositions and classic jazz standards (and even one impressive mashup) on which Wallace uses the expanded sonic palette of an orchestra to highlight the strengths of his core conjunto. Under-girding it all is an effortlessly instructive survey of Latin rhythms, from the familiar to the arcane, that reflect Wallace’s lifelong study of these sounds.
“I wanted to retain the energy of Canto without repeating it,” he explains. To do so, he chose to redirect the music’s focus onto the quintet, while retaining the almost tangible richness of brass chorales and the elegance of string ensemble writing; peppering the proceedings are solos from such luminaries as Mary Fettig (flute) and Melecio Magdaluyo (baritone saxophone). Wallace also features rapper and spoken-word artist Akida Thomas on the title track, where he contributes a spontaneously composed ode to this music – and to the spirit of all music – that also utilizes an interview with Wallace’s colleague and mentor, the late Dr. David Baker.
To tie all this together, Wallace came up with a three-layered approach, built upon the foundational expertise of his longtime musical co-conspirator, percussion master Michael Spiro. “The concept was to have Michael play four congas” – the usual conga setup has three at most – “and to have him play as melodically as possible.” As a result, “A good way to hear the record is to listen all the way through and focus on Michael, and then to drummer Colin Douglas’s cymbal work – and then put it together. It’s like a history of Latin music.” From there, Wallace created a second layer by highlighting the other members of the Latin Jazz Quintet’s rhythm section, pianist Murray Low and bassist David Belove, and leaving space for his own forceful yet lyrical trombone solos. Only then did he add the composed material; the vital frosting to this multi-tiered concoction, it draws its flavors from the previous ingredients.
As its title suggests, the album doesn’t lack for inventiveness. One case in point is Wallace’s arrangement of the durable Paul Desmond composition “Take Five,” which famously contains five beats in each measure (instead of the usual four). After some research, Wallace realized that no one had previously recorded this song with a clave rhythm, the heartbeat of Latin music – despite the fact that the calve itself comprises five notes (within four beats). The finished product marries these two views of musical time; add in a Santeria-derived coro section sung by the quintet, and you have a memorable new take on a 60-year-old jazz hit.
Another example comes on “So Softly,” in which the ancient pop standard “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise” – from the 1928 operetta The New Moon – slides seamlessly into Miles Davis’s “So What,” written three decades later. The idea to combine them arose from one of the Latin Jazz Quintet’s earliest experiments, in which the band presented these two songs as a medley; but, says Wallace, “After time I pleasantly found that the two melodies worked conversationally without detracting from each other. This inspired the idea of re-imagining them as a mashup” – an idea that, he points out, “stretches back to the beginnings of recorded music.”
Less complex (but no less inventive) are several homages, including Wallace’s slightly shrouded cover of “Vamanos Pa’l Monte” one of Eddie Palmieri’s biggest hits. Although this version mimics the blend of trombone and flute that characterized Palmieri’s famous band La Perfecta, “The melody is really an extrapolation of what Eddie wrote,” says Wallace. (But anyone who knows the original will recognize it as the framework of this arrangement.) Meanwhile, the completely unexpected inclusion of “In a Mist” – an impressionistic piano composition by the legendary early-jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke – represents a sort of personal triumph for Wallace. “It took me eight years to figure out how to arrange it, because it’s just so idiosyncratic and challenging,” he admits. “The original piece was a kind of collision between ragtime and danzon rhythm; I tried to combine the danzon with calve to get a Cuban feel. And I thought that a string quartet was applicable because it would bring out the sororities in a modern way” – not to mention hinting at the classical roots of Beiderbecke’s small masterpiece.
The album highlight is the title track, which brings together funk, bata, and traditional Cuban rhythms and encompasses three generations of musical wisdom. On one end is Dr. David Baker, “the father of jazz education,” with whom Wallace worked closely as a professor at Indiana University before Baker’s death in 2016, and whose resonant voice is heard, midway through the track, discussing the essence of jazz rhythm. On the other end is Wallace’s son-in-law, Akida Thomas, channeling the music to speak of The pulse gyrating through the system . . . Boom-clacks all rolled into one, stay connected through the soul of the drum. “There’s this crazy counterpoint between the strings and the horns,” Wallace says; “it’s some of the most textually adventurous writing I’ve done. Akida just listened to the track and started writing.” The invention took on a rhythm of its own.
But The Rhythm of Invention refers to something altogether different from the riot of Afro-Latin beats and layered percussion that characterize the album. For Wallace, the rhythm of invention is the pace that allows him to be open to creativity: the tempo “that allows a space for the muse to be available to me,” as he puts it. It is the rhythm of a gentle river, slowed but not stilled: the “flow” that banishes mere busy-ness in favor of reflection and, yes, invention. “That’s when I get the best ideas,” he says; in fact, the “Take Five” arrangement “literally came to me when I was pulling weeds out of my garden.”
When you slow the rhythm enough, you can better see the speed of thought.
About Wayne Wallace
In a career that spans four decades, San Francisco native Wayne Wallace has collaborated with artists ranging from Count Basie to Stevie Wonder, Sonny Rollins to Carlos Santana, Tito Puente to Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin, lending his talents as sideman, composer, arranger, and producer. His debut album as a leader, 2000’s Three In One (Spirit Nectar), showcased his writing skills and his encyclopedic knowledge of Afro-Cuban rhythms, which he developed in the close-knit Bay Area jazz community – most notably in his role as music director of John Santos’s Machete Ensemble, where he spent 20 years as music director. Wallace’s out sized role in Bay Area jazz includes his creation of Patois Records, with a catalog that includes not only his own albums but also recordings by vocalists Kat Parra and Alexa Weber Morales as well as two highly regarded anthologies of Bay-Area salsa and Latin jazz. A gifted educator, Wallace now spends the academic year as professor of jazz trombone and practice in jazz studies at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, having previous taught at San Jose State University and Stanford University.
Source: our esteemed partners: Braitwaite and Katz!
Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe radio show , CFRO 100.5 FM welcomed the poet and coordinator Alan Lowe calling in at 1:10 pm PST He has served as the Coordinator of the Voices of our partners the Lincoln Poetry Contest since 2009. The contest has grown steadily and has become international. https://slolowe44.blogspot.com/
Also calling in at 1:30 pm PST, was the fascinating musician and composer Wayne Wallace. I will give him a separate feature.
ALAN LOWE (The Truth of the Matter Is ….) was born and raised in New York, but has spent over fifty-four years in California, the past seventeen living in Lincoln with his wife, Barbara. Earning a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Counseling from UCLA, he spent thirty-nine years working in higher education as a teacher, counselor, and administrator. He retired in 2008. His background in Psychology colors his writing, much of which centers on feelings, perceptions, and how people interact in our complex world. In retirement, he enjoys writing poetry, short stories, and plays. His poetry has placed in contests and has been published in newspapers and periodicals. Three of the plays he has written have been performed under his direction. As a member of the Poets Club of Lincoln, he has served as the Coordinator of the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest since 2009. The contest has grown steadily and has become international in scope. https://slolowe44.blogspot.com/
My Son, My Daughter
As I age,
I reflect on the things most important to me.
My son, my daughter,
you play a crucial role in my life.
I think a lot about what you mean to me.
It is hard to choose the words
to describe my feelings.
You are my treasures—
special in every way.
Not many gifts can a father appreciate,
as I do you.
Our phone calls each week,
bring us closer together and keep our lives intertwined.
To laugh with you, to cry with you, to hear the stories
of your adventures have been my good fortune.
It pleases me
you entered beautiful relationships and found fulfilling jobs.