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Angel City Jazz Festival / Orenda Records Fest
Saturday, October 9, 5:00pm
2220 Arts + Archives


Derrick Skye Unveiled This Heart, revised (2021)*
Chris Votek Chamber Thumri in Raga Kafi (2021)*
Yvette Holzwarth Thunder Over Water (2021)*
Philip Graulty Mijo (2021)*
James Waterman Elephant King (2021)*



Derrick Skye, conductor
Rachel Iba, violin
Yvette Holzwarth, voice and violin
Anna Kouchnerov, violin
Nikki Shorts, viola
Chris Votek, cello
Hannah Arista, voice and percussion
Neelamjit Dhillon, bansuri and saxophone
Philip Graulty, guitars
Dimitris Mahlis, oud
Mark Gutierrez, bass
James Waterman, percussion

Program Notes

Chamber Thumri in Raga Kafi: The pure form of raga Kafi is described in ancient texts as the natural scale and one of the oldest ragas, its notes correspond to the Dorian mode. But today Kafi is usually heard in light classical music such as this Thumri, a romantic-devotional song form that allows more flexibility for the performer to stray outside the grammar of the raga. My intention was simply to do my best to translate some of the essence of the raga into chamber music, but I found myself also exploring a subtle allusion to Medieval organum…. – Chris Votek

“Thunder Over Water” is a song by Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth. Drawing imagery from the I-Ching (Book of Changes) and overlapping stories (both personal and collected), the lyrics explore psychic liberation upon making it through a storm. The piece arranged for Bridge to Everywhere features an oud solo by Dimitris Mahlis.

Thunder over water
A lonely boat at sea
Follow. follow the lights on shore
We have got nothing more
to guide our way
Your lost anchor
Set us adrift
In storm and waves
We’ ll be tossed and tumbled
Like those three damn coins
That seal our fate

Electric night sky
Tears at the seams
Opens her mouth wide
And swallows us in
Piercing lightning
Rips the old black cloth
Try to fight it
But this was just our luck
I couldn’t change a thing

Danger on the water
A sudden bolt of light then relief
Thunder over water
A lonely boat at sea

Mijo is written in memory of my dearest friend Arthur Reyna Jr. who passed away on January 19, 2021 due to COVID-19. Written from the point of a view of a mother, it is both a lament and a lullaby. Musically, the piece is partly inspired by American fingerstyle guitar and Malian blues. – Philip Graulty

The Elephant King is inspired by my studies in North Indian Classical music and the polyrhythmic drumming of the Ewe people of Ghana, Togo, and Benin. It aims to explore different approaches and feels of a 12-beat cycle through a common West African bell pattern, phrases derived from Ewe drumming, and exercises in the Hindustani 12-beat rhythm cycle Ektaal. The piece culminates in a kaida (tabla composition) performed as a conversation between the wonderful Neelamjit Dhillon reciting padhant (rhythmic recitation) and tabla playing back what is spoken. Peppered in throughout the piece are echos of various musical loves of mine, including rock, hip hop, jazz, dancehall, and a little bit of Trinidadian soca music. Featuring solos by Chris Votek, Philip Graulty, Yvette Holzwarth, and Neelamjit Dhillon.  A huge thank you to my mentors Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Randy Gloss, Dzidzogbe Lawluvi-Ladzekpo, Yeko Ladzekpo-Cole and Andrew Grueschow for generously sharing their knowledge and talents with me throughout the years. — James Waterman
IG/FB: @jameswatermanmusic