Labyrinth (Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma):
Ross Daly: After many years of intensive training in a variety of musical traditions, Ross Daly has turned his attention largely to “contemporary modal composition,” drawing heavily on all of the knowledge which he acquired during his long apprenticeships with musicians he has encountered while traveling and living internationally. With mentors ranging from Greek, Kurdish and Afghan folk players to international musical icons like Ravi Shankar, Daly has cultivated a refined and prolific artistic voice, informed and inspired by the musical languages of the world. To date he has released more than thirty five albums of his original music as well as of his own arrangements of traditional melodies that he collected during his travels. His Labyrinth Musical Workshop on the island of Crete in Greece has become his base for personal and musical research and educational activities as he continues travelling around the world performing his music and collaborating with musicians representing a vast variety of traditions.
In the summer of 2004 Daly was the artistic director of the cultural program of the Olympic Games for the Olympic city of Heraklion on the island of Crete, titled "Crete, Music Crossroads". He organized and artistically supervised 15 concerts with the participation of 300 renowned musicians from all over the world including: JordiSavall, Eduardo Niebla, Huun Huur Tu, Habil Aliev, Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan, Mohammad Rahim Khushnawaz, Trio Chemirani, and Adel Selameh among many others. (www.rossdaly.gr)
Kelly Thoma: Born in Pireaus, Kelly Thoma has been studying the lyra with Ross Daly since 1995. Since 1998, she has toured with Daly and various configurations of his Labyrinth group, participating in concerts in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA. As a core member of Labyrinth, She has taken part in many projects with musicians representing different traditiona from around the globe. Kelly also performs with the string quartet TOKSO. Anamkhara, her first album featuring her original compositions, was released in 2009 by Seitron Music. (www.kellythoma.com)
Teslim: A freely moving, lush meeting of musical minds, this duo unites violinist Kaila Flexer with multi-instrumentalist Gari Hegedus (oud, saz, lauoto). Together, they explore a shared fascination and deep resonance with the sounds and musical forms of the Eastern Mediterranean. Both Flexer and Hegedus are composers who are inspired by the fertile sounds of Greek, Turkish, and Sephardic traditions. (www.kailaflexer.com/teslim.htm)
As a composer, Flexer’s work reflects her deep respect for folk music, while showcasing her ability to create new and expansive musical landscapes. As a producer, Flexer founded, Klezmer Mania!, a much-loved annual Bay Area Jewish music event for over 10 years (1989-2002). Her most recent annual Jewish music event is Pomegranates & Figs: A Feast of Jewish Music. She has been at the helm of bands such as Third Ear, Next Village, and Kaila Flexer’s Fieldharmonik. (www.kailaflexer.com)
In addition to playing in Teslim, Hegedus is sought-after for his very personal and heartfelt approach to music. In addition to performing with world music groups Janam, The Helladelics, Eliahu and the Qadim Ensemble, Hamed Nikpay, and numerous other Bay Area Balkan ensembles, he is a luthier and spends many hours making instruments, repairing old sazes and ouds he finds, coaxing out the true voice of these treasures. Gari has studied with oud master Naseer Shamma. He has toured with the Mevlevi Dervish (Sufi) Order of America and continues to participate in Turkish ceremonial and devotional gatherings around the country. (www.garihegedus.com)
(October 19, 26, 27 Performances Only)
Kitka: Kitka is an American women's vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. The Oakland, CA-based octet has earned international recognition for its distinctive sound, a sound which explores a vast palette of ancient yet contemporary-sounding vocal effects. Kitka’s commitment to presenting traditional song as a living and evolving expressive art form has led to adventurous collaborations with some of the world’s most exciting indigenous musicians and contemporary composers ranging from Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares and Huun Huur Tu to Meredith Monk.
Currently celebrating its 32nd season, Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women's vocal music. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into an award-winning touring ensemble known for its artistry, versatility, and mastery of the demanding techniques of regional vocal styling, as well as for its innovative explorations in new music for women’s voices. Past engagement with Greek vocal traditions include collaborations with the Greek-American bands Ziyiá and Pangéo, and performances as the Greek Chorus and Trojan Slave Women in the American Conservatory Theater's productions of Euripides' Hecuba starring Olympia Dukakis and featuring original music by David Lang (winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music). “Nanourisma,” a traditional Greek lullaby from Epirus, is a featured track on Kitka’s latest album, Cradle Songs (Diaphonica).
The singers of Kitka are: Kelly Atkins, Caitlin Tabancay Austin, Shira Cion, Janet Kutulas, Elizabeth Setzer, Michele Simon, Lily Storm, and Corinne Sykes. (www.kitka.org)