Ariadne’s Notes: I am back on the World Poetry Café Radio Show, CFRO 100.5 FM after a three weeks break. Thanks to Victor Swartzman and Diego Bastinutti for keeping the show going. We have been going through a lot of challenges with our electrical problems and are now in a hotel for an extended time. I am doing my best to keep up with all the wonderful e-mails and offers of help and prayers. Please be patient with me. I had hope to launch WP Media with correspondents from all over the world but will need to postpone this.
Last week, we had the honour of having an amazing guest call in and to help us celebrate our 21st year of being on the air. Michael read his poems talked about his life and even answered a question from a 14 year old Nigerian boy who wanted his advise about writing. The answer was greatly appreciated by the young man who sends his thanks. Also, we want to welcome Michael Mirolla as the new writer in residence at the famed Joy Kogawa house starting in November and hope we can do a welcome program for him.
*Photo: Happy New Year from Afghan Peace Poet Mahmood Jan in Kabul.
Michael Mirolla is the author of a clutch of novels, poetry collections, short story collections, and plays. He is a three-time winner of the Bressani Literary Prize. His novel Berlin was a finalist for the Indie and National Book Awards. The short story, “A Theory of Discontinuous Existence,” was selected for The JourneyPrize Anthology; and “The Sand Flea” was a Pushcart Prize nominee. Born in Italy, raised in Montreal, Michael now lives in Oakville, Ontario. For more information: http://www.michaelmirolla.com. For an old WP Link:http://worldpoetry.ca/?p=11150
To a poet struggling to recover her words
Please note: this is not a metaphor.
In the spongy grey room, walls reticulated, bony chair bolted to upheaving floor, spotlight at 10 flickers per minute, she sits. There’s a hole in the side of her head. There’s a hole where they extracted the over-eager building blocks, the out-of-control tidbits of DNA. The incisions were precise, one must assume. But it didn’t prevent the words … her words … from escaping into the sterile air.
Now, a saintly smile framing her face, she sits in the bony chair inside the spongy grey room with reticulated walls and reaches out to recapture the stray letters that may or may not have survived without her tender care.
I sit across from her, spoon-feeding alphabet strands into a hungry mouth fearful that the words that have kept her whole that have defined her that connect her to herself that have built this grey room will be unable to make the return journey.
Please note: This has not been a metaphor.
Also, he read the following poem which is a favorite since I remember siting in a cave listening to my dad read Plato (The Cave) to us.
In The Cave of Lost Language
When rifling the pockets that hold the day in thrall there is always some thing that slips through the fingers. No matter how tightly we grip the fabric. Or fingernail dig into its deepest corners. Is it possible the contents change each time we reach in? Or does the pocket itself become altered by the hand as it latches onto a fistful of what was previously there but is no more?
And then, one day without warning, from hand to mouth, the familiar phrases themselves decide to come and go as they please, shape shifting before they disappear. And you’re prone to ask: What was … what is … that word once so strong, so anchored now fluttering out the window like a stale balloon’s flaccid breath?
At first, you tell yourself: Worry not. So what if within your grasp “brother” of a sudden becomes anaia and “crow” re-turns to belex? As long as one word simply morphs into another. As long as reaching down dislodges those helpful phrases you can use as place-holders for who you might be: wolf/hirpus tongue/osvache. As long as those scratches, familiar or not, re-appear on the wall at day’s end.
There is that comfort of finding something … anything, is there not? Until your hand comes up empty, an open palm holding a blank space. And your heart stutters and you grope about in your Kline bottle pocket in search of one word … one fragment that you can inscribe … just one clue that’ll keep you from vanishing.
Michael Mirolla (C) All rightsreserved by the author.
Photo, entitled Hope by Afghan photographer Neamat Haidari with permission.
Ariadne’s Notes: April 19, from 1-2 pm, we had two talented guests on the World Poetry Café Radio, now celebrating 20 years on the air on CFRO, 100.5 FM. Featured were the amazing drummer,Dan Pugach, from Brooklyn , USA and the incomparable poet and World Poetry Mentor, Chad Norman fro Nova Scotia, Canada. Hosts: Ariadne Sawyer, MA and Dr. Diego Bastianutti , special tech, Victor Swartzman plus volunteer Sharon Rowe .
We want to thank all our guests and radio show members who have helped to keep us on the air by becoming members of our show. A special announcement for our beloved peace in the wonderful collaboration between a peace poet in Kabul, Afghanistan, Mahmood Jan and a wonderful band in Ghana www.opokunananomband.weebly.com Please support them also as they help us bring the world together in Peace and Respect.They heard the peace poet’s poem on the air and are going to be creating a song from his poem and play it on their world tours. What a wonderful way to celebrate our 20 years on the air!
Our Talented Feature , courtesy of Braitwaite and Katz . We had a wonderful interview with Dan including advice for a young drummer and his great CD. To buy the CD go to his website : https://www.danpugach.com
“Dan Pugach Nonet Transforms Proverbial Styles With A Singular Approach and A Secret Weapon On His Unit Records’ Debut, Plus One
“I can’t gush enough about the joyful energy that Dan and his Nonet express in the most open of ways. Dan’s music is thoughtful, exciting and immensely engaging.” – Ingrid Jensen
“Dan’s writing is sharp, concise and so is everybody’s playing. Beautiful album.” – Antonio Sanchez
“His mastery of the music from the subtle inner workings of his horn orchestrations to his command over shaping larger musical statements puts Dan in a league of his own.” – Alan Ferber
Arriving in the US from his native Israel in 2006 to study at Berklee College of Music before earning his Masters at The City College of New York, drummer/composer Dan Pugach played cash-and-carry gigs, traditional ethnic dates, worked coffee shops-anything to keep his drumming and music pure. Eventually teaching himself arranging and orchestration, his complete reimagining of Horace Silver’s “Silver’s Serenade” led instructor (and renowned pianist/composer/educator) Mike Holober to exclaim, “Your arrangement departed from the original song; it wasn’t just an adaptation, but a rearrangement. Dude, you’re going to thrive as an arranger/composer.”
Roughly ten years later, Pugach’s Plus One is the fruit of years of hard work, practice, writing and rewriting, a joyous and thematically diverse recording that expresses Pugach’s vision of a “mini big band.”
“What I like the most about the sound and concept of Dan’s Nonet is that the playing and the writing is selfless,” says five-time Grammy Award winning composer and perennial Pat Metheny Group member, Antonio Sanchez. “It’s all about the music. The writing is on point, sharp, concise and so is everybody’s playing. Beautiful album.”
Gathering some of New York’s finest musicians in his Nonet, Pugach’s Plus One is an exciting ride encompassing a New Orleans second-line strut, expansive arrangements of familiar pop material, and dynamite original compositions performed in classic small ensemble tradition.
“I’m not trying to be too modernist; I want to have a few surprises,” Pugach says. “But they’re hidden. Each tune has a specific vibe I’m staying loyal to. I’m trying to keep everything focused.”
Pugach’s compositions and arrangements mirror his personality as a drummer. Each note flying off his drums, cymbals and percussion is concise, poised and delivered with purpose. A YouTube search yields Pugach’s drumming blowing the lid off various NYC clubs with different ensembles, his collective rhythms a streamlined approach animated (all too briefly) by fiery solos. Similarly, Plus One is music of a stylized, singular principle with moments of absolute burn.
“I believe playing less is more until it comes to my solo-then I explode,” Pugach explains. “And in my music, I don’t want to hear overblown drumming.”
Pugach is aided on Plus One by his plus-one in life, powerhouse singer Nicole Zuratis, whose recent release, Hive Mind, shows her at full force.
“Nicole is my secret weapon,” Dan confides. “Our relationship onstage is part of the conversation. She handles the mic duties; I might come up to speak and she’ll cut me off. The audience laughs. It’s our natural banter.”
Pugach goes from strength to strength on Plus One, the album showcasing his beautifully intricate compositions, peerless arrangements and yes, his drumming, which is funky, on-point and surprisingly restrained for a musician of such skills and gifts. Dan’s arrangements for Nonet recall the classic sounds of Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Bob Mintzer, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra-expressed in a far smaller ensemble. Deft compositions, challenging arrangements, brilliant players and Dan’s silken rhythmic touch make Plus One a special outing.
The album including moving vocal versions of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Chick Corea’s “Crystal Silence,” Quincy Jones’ “Love Dance” and Zuratis’ male-ego-impaling rouser, “Our Blues,” Plus One culminates in the two centerpieces: “Coming Here” and “Discourse This.” The former, a circuitous coming-of-age journey with great solos all around, including a dexterous showing by Pugach; the latter, a blustery, sparse Nonet dance that reveals the musicians’ glove-tight interplay and cohesion. Through it all, Pugach’s sizzling drumming drives his Nonet-hard.
The Nonet plays as a single organism throughout Plus One, with plenty of soloing power. The Dan Pugach Nonet, plus one, is comprised of Nicole Zuraitis, voice; Ingrid Jensen, David Smith, trumpets; Mike Fahie, trombone; Jen Hinkle, bass trombone; Andrew Gould, alto saxophone; Jeremy Powell, tenor saxophone, Andrew Gutauskas, baritone saxophone; Carmen Staaf, Jorn Swart, piano; Tamir Shmerling, bass; Bernardo Aguiar, pandeiro; and Pugach, drums.
From his experiences growing up near Tel Aviv to the influences of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band and Bob Mintzer Big Band, Pugach’s compositions and arranging on Plus One are a thrill, including the opening, second-line bruiser, “Brooklyn Blues,” to the closing, full-throated, “Discourse This.” An album of such high-level ensemble playing and standout vocal tracks is exceedingly rare. Plus One is pure and powerful-simply exceptional music.
“People love the warmth and interaction between myself and Nicole and the Nonet,” Dan says. “It’s natural. The audience feels the connection. And connection is what it’s all about.”
Dan Pugach is a Brooklyn-based, two-time ASCAP Jazz Composer Award-winning drummer/arranger. Dan has worked with Ingrid Jensen, Rosa Passos, Airto Moreira, Gregoire Maret, Billy Drews, Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Bergeron, Sloan and Lucy Wainwright, and Dave Stryker, among others. Originally from Israel, Dan served his mandatory three-year military duty as the drummer of the Air-Force Orchestra. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music and his Masters from the City College of New York, where he studied with Hal Crook, Joe Lovano, George Garzone, John Patitucci, Terri-Lyne Carrington and Ari Hoenig.”
Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Cafe Radio Show on March 22, 1-2 PM, PST , CFRO 100.5 FM, was honoured to welcome one of the bright lights of the world, the poet and short story writer, Lozan Yamolky. She had exciting news to share with the radio audience from around the world. Also featured e-poets:
Mahmood Jan from Afghanistan, a peace poet who send a poem-song, Peace Space that I am editing and may be composed into music by a band in Ghana. The first edited section was also read in Arabic by Lozan who said that the poem was so beautiful, that she had to translate it in Arabic.
In addition , another e-poet was the well known Indian Poet, Mantgega Damodara Chary . If I have permission, I may be sharing the e-poets poems on site. As usual great thanks to The World Poetry Team, Ariadne Sawyer, MA , host and producer, Victor Swartzman , our great sound tech and Sharon Rowe , special volunteer. Also, to guest host Diego Bastianutti who comes in once per month. Also, breaking news! The World Poetry Cafe is celebrating it’s 20th year on being on the air! If you like our show and want to contribute to our fundraising to keep on the air go to: www.coopradio.org, go to members /donate and put in the name of the World Poetry Cafe. We are all volunteers and have to come up with 1,000 per year to keep on the air. Then let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will announce your donations or membership on the show and give you two interviews per year. We now have 104 countries that listen to our show. We work to bring the world together in respect, empowerment and peace.
Lozan Yamolky was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq in 1972. She is the fifth of eleven children, three boys, and seven girls. She recently traced and tested her DNA and found out she is of Armenian descent from her mother’s side and Kurdish from her father’s side.
While living in Western Iraq and in Baghdad, Lozan began writing in her early teens and mostly short sentences not knowing that such deeply felt words and short lines were called poetry until her uncle Serwan Yamolky inspired and encouraged her to not only keep writing but to stop destroying what she has written because she feared others would make fun of her writing about her personal feelings.
Her family left their homeland and managed to arrive in the capital of Turkey to seek asylum in 1994. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1995. She has lived, studied, volunteered and worked in the Greater Vancouver area ever since. She is the mother of two boys from her previous marriage and happily married a second time and continues living in Vancouver. She works as a freelance interpreter and volunteers helping refugees and newcomers arriving in Canada.
Lozan believes peace is possible when we look beyond skin color, gender, place of origin, religious beliefs and political views. We can make peace when we allow ourselves to change our minds to gain knowledge as new information and new ideas come along. We need the courage to speak up, volunteer, donate and stand up in support of those whose rights have been taken away from them; because tomorrow we may be the ones marginalized and pointed at for being different and we may be persecuted with nobody to help us.
Lozan believes poetry heals and connects us. Poetry expresses when face-to-face conversations can’t convey our point of view sufficiently. Poetry brings a calm serenity to self that ultimately will bring peace to the world.