Category Archives: Music

Sunday Drumming

Torry for the late post on this one, but if you’re looking for something to do tomorrow afternoon, how about doing some drumming at an African drum class?

Master Teacher Aboubacar Oscar Camara of Guinea West African Drum and Dance Ensemble will be holding a class at the Brew House Space 101 Gallery on Sunday from 1 – 3:30pm.

“We invite all ages to come together here to learn the basics of African drumming.Beginner and intermediate players are welcome.Bring a djembe, conga, doundoun, samban or kenkeni, or borrow one from a friend. (Sorry, we don’t have any drums to loan at this time)

Come and enjoy Mr. Camara’s broad knowledge and supportive teachings of West African rhythms and drumming technique.

$10 for 1 hour lesson, or $15 for 1½ hour lesson

Born in Kindia, Guinea, West Africa, Aboubacar Camara acquired his nickname “Oscar” as a young teenager, while climbing the ranks in government-sponsored dance competitions, winning one “oscar” after another, on his path to national and international fame. Mr. Camara has been the lead dancer and choreographer for the Federal Ballet Troupe of Kindi, and Les Ballets Africains, the nationalballet company of Guinea, Guinea Ballet Sanké and Ensemble Koteba D’Abidjan, in the Ivory Coast. Mr. Camara has toured all of Europe, Asia and the United States, and has danced at the Bolshoi Theater, in Moscow. He performed in movies, stage performances and as lead dancer in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics opening ceremonies.

In 2006, Mr. Camara moved to Pittsburgh and joined Umoja African Arts Company, where he worked for two years. In addition, hehas had many teaching and performing engagements in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, including a teaching position at Dance Alloy Theater School and many workshops, assemblies and master classes at public and private schools and dance studios.

Currently, Mr. Camara serves as artistic director of Guinea West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, which has performedthroughout the Pittsburgh region. Mr. Camara has taught African drum and dance classes at Your Inner Vagabond Coffee Shop, Falk School, and the Union Project among others.

For more information:
email: or

The Brew House SPACE 101 Gallery is located at 2100 Mary Street @ 21st Street Pittsburgh, PA 15203 (South Side) Continue reading

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Newband and the Harry Partch instruments

Wrapping up Music On The Edge’s 20th anniversary season this Saturday night is Newband and the Harry Partch Instruments. What or who is a Harry Partch, you’re probably asking yourself. Mr. Partch was a composer and instrument maker working in the microtonal scale. His amazing otherworldly instruments can viewed and actually be played (virtually) on this website. Newband will be playing instruments invented by Partch, as well as others from Newband co-founder Dean Drummond.

From MOTE:

Newband’s concert in Pittsburgh will feature the Harry Partch works Castor and Pollux and two studies on Ancient Greek scales, Dean Drummond’s Before the Last Laugh, Pitt faculty composer Mathew Rosenblum’s Yonah’s Dream, Gregg Rossetti’s Mutating Aeon and Thelonius Monk’s Round Midnight. All the compositions will utilize just tunings-tunings that replicate intervals as they occur naturally in the overtone series. From Bach’s time to present, Western instruments have been designed around a division of the octave into 12 equal steps, making all the intervals somewhat out of tune, so that they will sound mostly in tune regardless of the music’s key. Deeply dissatisfied with the sound of equal-tempered intervals, Harry Partch designed his instruments around his own 43 tone-per-octave tuning, allowing for more subtle melodic motion, as well as intervals that are more in tune and stable.
Widely regarded as the world’s preeminent microtonal music ensemble, Newbnad was founded in 1977 by composer Dean Drummond and flutist Stefani Starin who continue as Artistic Directors. With Drummond’s invention of the 31-tone zoomoozophone in 1978, Newband began to explore music using microtonality and alternative tuning systems in an innovative and eclectic repertoire influenced by classical, jazz and world music. In 1990, Newband received custodianship of the original Harry Partch Instrument Collection. The typical Newband concert involves a stage filled with some of the world’s most amazing musical instruments performed upon by an ensemble of virtuosos who move from instrument to instrument with incredible ease.

Advance tickets from ProArtsTickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for non-Pitt students and seniors. Call 412-394-3353 or visit At the door, general admission is $20, students and seniors $15 and Pitt students free with ID. Continue reading

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Ragnar Kjartansson: Song

The new Ragnar Kjartansson exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art kicks off this Thursday night, the 10th, at the Culture Club series. The event also marks the start of two upcoming weeks of live performance by the artist himself. And on March 24th, A one-night-only, vaudeville-style concert starring the artist, members of his family and his friends. I’m definitely going to have to get down there and check this out. If you don’t know Kjartansson, you should. (To get acquainted, here’s a good article on the artist I found from 2009.) The video installation runs through September, but Ragnar himself is only through the 24th of March.

More about the event from the Carnegie:

“Ragnar Kjartansson: Song is the first solo US museum exhibition of the work of Ragnar Kjartansson. A musician as well as artist, Kjartansson (b. 1976) has been drawn to the theater and performance since he formed a band in his teenage years. The exhibition will include a selection of video works from the last decade as well as a newly created three-week-long performance for the museum’s Hall of Sculpture. Kjartansson’s videos reflect an interest in music and theater and the personae of its performers, often coupled with extreme environments. The End (2008) features two musicians in a mountainous snowy landscape, while Satan is Real (2005) finds the naked artist buried to his chest in the lawn of a public park, playing a guitar.

In addition to his video work, Kjartansson has become known for inhabiting galleries and more unexpected locations where he performs live, often for extended periods. For the 2009 Venice Biennale, he painted portraits of his friend, day in and day out, for six months, in a crumbling palazzo on Venice’s Grand Canal. The ornate stone room was eventually filled with hundreds of oil paintings and the aggregate ephemera of days spent in each other’s company. A “social sculpture” emerged from the accumulation of painting, palazzo, friends, trash, musical instruments, and exhibition visitors watching the artist and subject at work.

Kjartansson’s approach wavers between a besotted optimism and a deadpan, sometimes unnerving, directness. Ritual, repetition, and an almost hallucinogenic reverie share the stage with humor, levity, and a charismatic impulse to entertain.”

For more on the event, and to order tickets for the show on the 24th, click here. Continue reading

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Entelechron – Music of John Cage

Music On The Edge presents ‘entelechron – music of John Cage’ this Saturday, March 5th, at The Andy Warhol Museum.
“Entelechron, a trio comprising pianist Robert Frankenberry, cellist David Russell and violinist/composer Roger Zahab, will perform The program will include Cage’s Harmonies from Apartment House 1776, Etudes Boreales, Freeman Etudes, and Music for…”

Robert Frankenberry, David Russell, and Roger Zahab are well known to Pittsburgh new music audiences for their performances with The Music on the Edge Chamber Orchestra (which Zahab directs), IonSound Project, and the Music on the Edge Ensemble.”

You can get more info and tickets here.

Entelechron’s violinist, Roger Zahab, is also a faculty member at Pitt. He was friends with John Cage and MOTE has presented an interview with him speaking about Cage. Continue reading

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Sunstar Music Festival

30 artists. 12 events. 4 days…It’s the Sunstar Music Festival at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. The festival, which celebrates the best of women music makers, runs from this Wednesday the 2nd through Saturday the 5th. Get ready for a full lineup of concerts, parties, talks and more.

“From Bhangra to Bluegrass and everything in between, SUNSTAR showcases the vibrancy and diversity of independent female artists. In addition to concerts and special events, the festival includes workshops for young women who are interested in the creative process of the performing arts.”

From the opening Sunstar Social to DJ Rekha to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, get all the info and event schedule here. Continue reading

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Deerhoof @ Altar Bar

It’s taken me a few days to post this, but if you missed the Deerhoof show at The Altar Bar last Saturday night, shame shame. Honestly one of the best intimate shows I’ve ever seen. They hadn’t played in Pittsburgh since they were at The Warhol in 2006 and they didn’t disappoint. And on a Pittsburgh note, locals Ennui were the first opening band and they blew me away. I hadn’t heard them before, but I can’t wait to see them again live. Continue reading

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Rated X II

What are you doing tomorrow night? How about heading over to the Warhol for another installment of the Music on the Edge series featuring clarinetist Jean Kopperud and percussionist Tom Kolor.

They’ll be performing “a concert of five premieres billed as Rated X II.The program will include Louis Karchin’s Evocations, John Aylward’s Twin Suspension, Mathew Rosenblum’s Throat, and Jeff Stadelman’s wills & wonts, and Yiorgos Vassilandonakis’ X-asti.”

Get all the info here, and get your tickets here. Continue reading

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