The World Poetry Ambassador AMITA SANGHVI from Oman, phoned in and hosted from Oman on World Poetry Poetry Cafe, CFRO 1005.FM, June 13th 2019 ; the poet Ali Mehdi who was keen on peace and was a poet and a wonderful short story writer.
This is the first in the series of the World Poetry Ambassador whose goal is to introduce poets from Oman to the world . World Poetry Canada International hopes that other W.P.C. ambassadors will do the same in their different countries. Also, at the Vancouver, BC Coop Radio Station were: Ariadne Sawyer, MA, host and producer , host Dr. Diego Bastinutti. super tech, Victor Schwartzman and special volunteer, Sharon Rowe.
Ali Mehdi juggled in many roles as a poet, a columnist and a prolific blogger and writer. He initiated several blog sites that were very popular among his generation; there sites were:
Sleepless in Muscat
Oman Community Blog
A Secret Arabian Journal
Pens of Passion
Gonu Relief Blog
Hope of Islam
Ali Mehdi published three collections of his poetry: Rapidly Blue (2002), Wondrous World (2005) and his posthumous book, ‘In the Dimmest of Light’ (2008) and numerous columns and articles on his blog sites, the online edition of the Times of Oman, Oman Daily Observer, The Week and Sultan Qaboos University’s Horizon.
On reading ‘Wondrous World’ I had this initial impression/ reflection on his poems.
Amidst cathartic out-pour of thoughts and wishes, I have found and collected the ‘real gems’, those words and phrases, lyrical images and metaphors, that capture and represent the mindful philosophical Ali.
The jewel collection which I am editing and will soon be published, will contain edited poetry from all his three books, re-edited for impact. The essence of his poetry has its impact in brevity; where each poem hammers and echoes universal feelings and invaluable meaning. These priceless ‘jewels’ I have gathered and edited his poems from across his entire works. Here are a few:
In the eye of Death,
In the eye of Death.
I’m not that kind of a person,
Although I try to be
That kind of man-
To look upon danger,
To move on, again.
Its out of place,
Not so super manly.
Upon her smile,
In love I stumble,
In her eyes
To be a Superman,
My heart tries.
Ali Mehdi (C) All rights reserved.
“These are but a glimpse of his heart and mind; his short stories are worth a whole new article that I will come up with in the near future.
To Ali, writing was an integral ingredient of his survival kit.
Ali held a BA with honors, from Luton University in collaboration with Majan University College in Muscat majoring in Business Administration (Tourism).
Prof. Gargi Chugh, (Senior Quality Expert at OAAA and Honorary President of the Indian International Cambridge School Management Committee) who taught him in Majan college, recalls Ali wistfully:
“I remember Ali as a very gentle, lost in his thoughts kind of a student. He was always good with words and a charmer always!!! I still remember his lovely smile.”
Following this degree, he joined a professional diploma course in Insurance at the College of Banking and Financial Studies but was often interrupted due to illness.
Ali traveled not only in the depths of his soul, but also extensively throughout the World and enjoyed learning from and about other individuals and cultures; this precisely makes him so suitable a poet to be introduced on the WORLD POETRY CANADA Forum as the first voice of Oman, writing poetry in English.
Ali was an amicable, sociable, affable and transparent individual. He loathed hypocrisy and sought fulfillment in open-minded, down-to-earth and truthful exchange of thoughts and feelings.
Sadly, his soul-searching expeditions had to come to an end when he succumbed to his illness, on his hospital bed on June 21st 2008, among family.
Ali Mehdi left a legacy of a young courageous daring individual and an articulate poet and columnist who sought to reach out with an earnest desire to change the World and reintroduce sincerity and truthfulness in our lives and relationships. That was his never ending desire and quest. He touched the lives of many with his openness, sincerity, dedication and noble selflessness. He kept reminding us of his fighting attributes by often saying that he managed to “snatch success out of the jaws of defeat.”
A person is his thoughts and words. Ali Mehdi is always among us with his thoughts and words questioning, seeking, consoling, sharing deep concerns, deeper uncertainties and deepest fears that bind all humanity.
A poet lives on, forever.
His thoughts and words are universal and at once deeply personal, and this in itself make his poetry so connectable to every soul, every reader.”
By AMITA SANGHVI
(M.A., M. PHIL, B.ED FROM MUMBAI UNIVERSITY, INDIA, AND M.A. (TESOL) FROM UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER, UK)
POET AND FACULTY AT SULTAN QABOOS UNIVERSITY, MUSCAT, OMAN
The World Poetry Cafe radio show, CFRO 100.5 FM July 1:30 pm PST welcomed the talented Claire Ritter celebrating the debut of the new CD Eclipse Orange with legendary Ran Blake. It was a delight to talk to her and hear her describe her work and experiences. It was also fun to hear her accent since some of my ancestors came from the Carolinas and I had not heard it for a long time.
It includes a tribute at 1:10 PM PST for World Poetry Ambassador to Japan, poet and composer Yoshifumi Sakura. Also, beautiful poems from the Greek poet ILIAS FOUKIS.
American jazz master, composer/pianist/educator Claire Ritter, is a multiple award recipient, and “among the most successful Thirdstream synthesis of jazz & classical musics” author Ed Hazel/ Wikipedia encyclopedia. In 2014 Ritter was the recipient of an artist grant awarded by the NC Arts & Science Council, her third, as well as a previous NC Arts Council Jazz Composer Fellowship. AllAboutJazz describes Ritter as “an under sung jazz master, with each engaging melody buffed up like a little jewel”. JazzTimes notes the music as “painterly, exquisite & poetic”. Beginning with the great Mary Lou Williams at Duke University in the 1970s, Ritter has studied, worked, performed & recorded with the best, which includes over a decade with MacArthur Grant Genius recipient Ran Blake at New England Conservatory of Boston, where she taught her contemporary songwriting class in the Contemporary Improvisation department during the 1990s. The economic song-like quality & harmonic sophistication of her tunes are hallmarks of Ritter’s style, described by Owen Cordle, writer for JazzTimes/News & Observer as “direct, succinct & skillful – like the NC born pianist/composer, Thelonious Monk’s style.
Claire Ritter is the author of over 200 compositions, most of which have been published and recorded; and performed in festivals, concert halls, and museums in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Her work has been the subject of numerous publications & radio interviews on WGBH Boston, WHRB Harvard University, WBUR Boston, & WFAE Charlotte, and has been recorded on European labels Soul Note, HatArt, and the independent label Zoning Recordings, founded in Boston in honor of a major work by Mary Lou Williams. Ritter’s compositions have been recorded by internationally acclaimed Jazz artists including Steve Swallow, Dave Holland, Ran Blake, Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Christine Correa, Ricky Ford, Jon Metzger, and Franz Koglmann, as well as performed in concert halls including Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Festival at NEC, American Women Composers Boston, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Brandeis University Jazz Band, New England Conservatory Jazz-Thirdstream Festival, Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium, Osterreichischen Museum in Europe, Multicultural Arts Center in Boston, Queens University, 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival, and Central Piedmont Community College 21st Century Music Series & Tate Hall Music Series in Charlotte, NC, to name a few.
Ritter’s discography includes 12 CD/DVD recordings on Zoning Recordings: In Between (Ran Blake, Dave Holland, Dominique Eade/1988); Ain’t Life a Circus (Christine Correa, Stan Strickland/1991); Mistral (by Eleni Odoni, with Ran Blake/1991); At One (Taki Masuko/1994); True (Taki Masuko, Kaku Sato/ 1998); Castles in the Air (Steve Swallow/2001); River of Joy (Steve Swallow, Ran Blake/2001); Greener Than Blue (Stan Strickland, Bob Weiner/2004); Waltzing the Splendor (Jon Metzger, Jane Hart Brendle, Ashima Scripp/2007); Stream of Pearls Project (Taki Masuko, Ashima Scripp, Toni Naples/2011); Claire Ritter & Friends at Multicultural Arts Center in Boston (Dominique Eade, Stan Strickland, Taki Masuko/2013); Soho Solo (2015). Recorded by others: Ran Blake (“Short Life of Barbara Monk”/Soul Note/1988); Franz Koglman (“Orte Der Geometrie” with Ran Blake/HatArt/1989); Documentary “Streaming” New England Conservatory; Southern Arts Federation “Jazz South # 3”); Film collaboration, Queens University & Charlotte New Music Festival with photographer JoAnn Sieburg-Baker “Mirrors Project/Six Jazz Variations.”
Other compositional performances/workshops include:
* 2014 Charlotte New Music Festival
* Central Piedmont Community College Tate Hall New Music Series
* Ottawa Jazz Festival
* New England Conservatory Jazz-Third Stream Festival
* Josef Matthias Haur Konservatorium
* Osterreichischen Museum
* Brandeis University
* University of North Carolina
* Queens University
* Festival of Women Improvisers, Boston
* Multicultural Arts Center, Boston
* Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance
* Stockbridge Music Series, Massachusetts
* Berkley School of Music
* Longy School of Music
* American Women Composers
* Club Passim, Cambridge
Claire Ritter is the recipient of a 2014, 2006 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant; 2001 ‘Composers Charlotte’ Grassroots Grant as Artist Director/Queens University, 2000 NC Arts Council Jazz Composers Fellowship, and 2000 Arts and Science Regional Artist Grant.
Another great guest from Braitewaite and Katz.
Additional grants/awards include the Massachusetts Arts Lottery in Boston, and the Southern Arts Federation in Atlanta, Georgia. Claire Ritter is also the founder of the Ziggy Hurwitz Jazz Scholarship at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.
Claire Ritter teaches and composes in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she is the Artistic Director Composers Concert at Queens University.
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!