Españoleta

The 2016–2017 collaboration between SFEMS and the California Jazz Conservatory resumes on Sunday, January 15, with the return of Flauti Diversi, who will perform an unusual program entitled “Españoleta.” The concert features early music from the Mediterranean: lively 14th-c. Italian medieval dance, Aragonese Renaissance ostinato bass improvisations, tantalizing Arabic tunes, and a complete Galician song cycle from a woman’s point of view by the 13th-c. composer Martim Codax. Performers are Karen Clark, contralto; Frances Feldon, recorders & medieval flute; Sarah Michael, qanun; Peter Maund, percussion; and Roy Whelden, gamba & vielle.

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Jam Session at Alfonso’s Place (early 1280s?)

“Españoleta” displays the kinship between instrumental and vocal music of various Mediteranean traditions, including that of medieval and Reniassance Spain and various “Arabic” traditions. The well-known 13th-century Cantigas de Santa Maria El Escorial codex is illuminated with colorful miniature paintings which show pairs of musicians playing a wide variety of Arabic and Western instruments. By juxtaposing the two traditions in musical performance, it is easy to hear their common musical building blocks, both composed and improvised. You will experience a fascinating musical bridge to another time and place.

The concert takes place at the California Jazz Conservatory (formerly The Jazzschool), 2087 Addison St between Shattuck and Milvia in downtown Berkeley. The venue is one block from downtown Berkeley BART and parking is easily available at the Addison St parking garage. Sunday street parking is free and also relatively easy on a Sunday afternoon. CJC offers a casual and intimate environment where the audience can enjoy a light meal and sip a glass of wine or a cup of coffee while enjoying the concert.

The performance begins at 4:30 p.m. at the California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley. Tickets are $20 (general admission) and are available online. Reservations are recommended. For more information or reservations, phone 510-845-5373.

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Plaza at El Escorial (2006)

Flauti Diversi has been presenting early/contemporary chamber music programs for over twenty years. Music Director Frances Feldon and the group present its fourth program at the CJC, and the third in which a variety of crossover styles are featured.

Contralto Karen Clark grew up singing country music with her Kentucky family and went on to study opera at Indiana University where she discovered medieval and new music. Karen, a specialist in performing the music of Hildegard of Bingen, lives in Petaluma. www.karenrclark.com

Convinced she was a troubadour in a former life, Ms. Feldon loves playing all kinds of music on recorder and flutes. Ms Feldon is a performer, educator, conductor and arranger; she holds a Doctor of Music degree in collegium directing from Indiana University.

A native of San Francisco, Peter Maund is a founding member of Ensemble Alcatraz and Alasdair Fraser’s Skyedance. He is the author of “Percussion” in A Performers Guide to Medieval Music, IUP 2000. Described by the Glasgow Herald as “the most considerate and imaginative of percussionists,” he can be heard on over 60 recordings.

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L-R: Karen Clark, Sarah Michael, Frances Feldon, Roy Whelden, Peter Maund

Qanun player Sarah Michael has been playing and studying Middle Eastern music for the last fifteen years, primarily with the great composer and accordion virtuoso Elias Lammam. She has performed with groups including Aswat, Flowers of the Nile, Elias Lammam ensemble, the Mevlevi Mutrib, El Alzifoon, and her own quartet, Zamanna.

Composer and performer on the viola da gamba and vielle, Roy Whelden enjoys straddling the worlds of early and new music. He has been profiled as a composer and gambist on public radio. His recordings include the award winning Shock of the Old and Galax: Music for viola da gamba (New Albion 059), as well as On Cold Mountain: Songs on Poems of Gary Snyder, a 2011 recording (on the Innova label) made by the Galax Quartet with contralto Karen Clark.