Concert series “World”

The world in four concerts

The term “world music” stands for the diversity and beauty of many different folk music traditions – and for their creative dialogue. A new series is being launched during the 2022/23 season in which you will be able to explore this cosmos. You can look forward to exciting excursions to fascinating musical realms.

Difficult though it is to believe, the term “world music” was first used in 1906. It was coined by the German music theorist Georg Capellen to describe a type of exotic music incorporating both western and eastern elements. “Through this marriage of the Orient and the Occident we may achieve a new and exotic style of music, a ‘world music’ that will shimmer naturally in the most iridescent colours and in the most varied nuances depending on the musician’s national and individual disposition.” Capellen hoped that the oriental elements would enrich western music since he doubted whether “European melodies, rhythms and tonality can be exploited forever without ultimately becoming exhausted.”

In our new concert series, we invite the stars of the scene to present the most beautiful forms and varieties of the genre to you.

Enjoy the variety of this world’s music in single concerts or as a subscription.

(Photo: Mlungisi Mlungwana)

Tue 8 November 2022: Abel Selaocoe

With the music of Abel Selaocoe we enter a completely different world. South African-born Selaocoe is a cellist, singer, composer and something of a walking total artwork. He began his basic musical training in Soweto before studying the cello at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he held a scholarship. He even planned to embark on a career as a classical soloist but gradually realized that the music with which he had grown up was continuing to haunt him and so he decided to adopt a multi-track approach to his work and to move freely between the most disparate musical genres and styles. He combines virtuosic cello playing in the classical tradition with improvisation, singing and body percussion to create something that is utterly unique.

Among the works that he performs are ones by  Boccherini and Debussy, appearing with world musicians and beatboxers and accompanying his own powerfully expressive singing on the cello. On his debut album, Where Is Home (Hae Ke Kae), he combines Bach’s cello suites with his own compositions, which are inspired by his South African homeland. In doing so, he often appeals to people who otherwise have no time for classical music, with the result that his international fan base continues to grow.

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(Photo: Remi Hostekind)

Thu, Mar 23, 2023: The Chemiranis

One of the hallmarks of non-European music that sets it apart from its western counterpart is the dominance of rhythm. The Orient is home to a large number of virtuoso percussion ensembles that use highly complex rhythms in their work. And this is also true of Iran, one of whose leading percussionists is Djamchid Chemirani. Chemirani now lives in France and is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading performers on the tombak or zarb, the traditional goblet drum of Persia.

But Chemirani is not only a gifted musician, he is also a committed teacher, whose finest pupils include his two sons, Keyvan and Bijan. All three are keen to build a bridge between the world’s different cultures. Djamchid Chemirani, for example, seeks to interact with the theatre and ballet and with jazz musicians and experts in the field of medieval music, while Keyvan performs regularly with well-known jazz musicians such as Didier Lockwood, Renaud Garcia-Fons and Louis Sclavis. He has also participated in projects involving early music groups such as the Ensemble Gilles Binchois. All  three family members founded the Trio Chemirani in 1988. It gives concerts all over the world, often with guest musicians. Berlin audiences, too, will be able to hear the Trio with two other percussionists, a cellist, a lyra player and a bass clarinettist.

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(Photo: Mariana Maltoni)

Tue, May 9, 2023: Carminho

The fourth and final concert in our 2022/23 season of recitals devoted to world music brings us back to Europe or, more specifically, to Portugal and the singer Maria do Carmo de Carvalho Rebelo de Andrade. Like the international footballer Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, she is best known by her first name, Carminho. She is one of the leading neo-fadistas who perform the modern fado for twenty-first-century audiences. Carminho was still a teenager when she first began to perform in fado venues in Alfama, Lisbon’s old town, later studying advertising and marketing before returning to fado full-time.

It was not long before she was being hailed as the worthy successor of her mother, Teresa Siqueira, who had also made a name for herself as a fado singer. In 2003 Carminho recorded four pieces for an album that was released under the title Saudades do Fado, after which she gave recitals in Argentina and Switzerland as well as performing in Malta in 2004 to mark the country’s entry into the European Union. In 2005 the Amália Rodrigues Foundation awarded her its prize as the Best Female Newcomer. As a purist, she prefers to perform with an ensemble made up entirely of plucked instruments: Portuguese guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Hawaiian steel guitar and bass. These are the forces that she will be bringing with her to Berlin.

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(Photo: Muhsin Akgun)

Past event: Aynur (Tue, 11 October 2022)

The series opens with a concert by the singer Aynur, who is one of the best-known Kurdish musicians. She was born in Eastern Anatolia in 1975 and moved to Istanbul in the early nineties. By her own admission, it was not until then that she was introduced to music: there had been no music in her village, where she “grew up with sheep and lambs”. Her friends encouraged her to study singing and she released her first album in 2001. Her songs are based on centuries-old Kurdish folk tunes. These she has carefully modernized and recontextualized. She performs her songs in both Kurdish and Turkish, addressing themes that revolve around the lives and sufferings of the Kurdish people.

Aynur, too, has repeatedly suffered as a result of repressive measures on the part of the ruling AKP whenever she has wanted to perform in Turkey. Her concerts have sometimes been cancelled at short notice since she has been branded a terrorist, not a singer. She herself has no time for nationalism, with the result that she regularly seeks to build bridges with other musical cultures. In 2014, for example, she released an album with the highly decorated flamenco guitarist Javier Limón that sought to combine Kurdish folk music with elements of flamenco to create a sophisticated mix, while her 2016 release Hawniyaz earned her a German Record Critics’ Prize.

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