Alexander’s Guichet

Alexander Calder "Le Guichet." Photo © 2017 Maddy SJ (The Gipsy Geek)

December 9, 2017. How often have I passed by “Le Guichet” – a 1963 sculpture by Alexander Calder! Located in the plaza of the Lincoln Center in front of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. And how often have I passed by without pausing to take a photo or post one. Until now.

During daytime and evenings the plaza is bustling; its lively fountain and surrounding performance halls drawing in large omnipresent swaths of people like moths to a flame. But I like wandering there at night, at times just before midnight. When the crowds have lulled, the patrons of the theater long gone, the library closed and the plaza stands near-empty except for a handful of people passing by…..

In that solitude of night, in that vacancy and stillness of space – a rarity in a city that never sleeps, I like to walk around Le Guichet, taking in its sinuous curves and voids, its alienesque tentacles tiptoeing on the concrete pavers, a silent witness in stoic steel, unlike Calder’s playful mobiles; painted pitch dark like a galactic black hole unlike his vibrant red Flamingo and Eagle in Chicago and Seattle respectively. This one is not about to soar off; it has just landed. A “box office” selling tickets to another world. Far away.

 

Alexander Calder "Le Guichet." Photo © 2017 Maddy SJ (The Gipsy Geek)

 

Alexander Calder "Le Guichet." Photo © 2017 Maddy SJ (The Gipsy Geek)

 

Alexander Calder "Le Guichet." Photo © 2017 Maddy SJ (The Gipsy Geek)

 


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Celebrating a 3 year anniversary of a Musical Movement

“Planetary Coalition.” In our current times, we need this even more. 

So happy to be a part of this massive project since its inception & create its album artwork and much more. With nearly 30 musicians from 5 continents. 

11/11 marks another anniversary of the release which Guitar World listed as one of the top 10 albums of 2014 & Bluenote/Artistshare selected it for the Grammys. Where USA, Canada, Argentina, Turkey, Greece, India, China, Japan, Israel, Palestine, Mexico, Cuba, Mali & other parts of Africa, France, Spain, Albania, Macedonia, Poland…the Balkans & the Baltic…& many other countries came together in the spirit of jazz/gypsy/klezmer/ragas/sufi/flamenco & so many other styles. And the Liberty Science Center & some universities arranged live lecture/performances.

The Facebook page for the project is at http://bit.ly/2zvqoM9

Also, it’s not everyday that a musical piece (“Sleeping Gypsy,” the project’s signature tune which got Union Square dancing) has been written/composed for yours truly. 

#MakeMusicNotWar #SupporttheindependentArts

Here’s an updated video of the complete album. Obviously, it has far fewer views than on its FB fan page.

For the album artwork, go to: http://bit.ly/2i9Ghha


 

Masquerades

Venice carnival "Masked Man". Photo by Maddy SJ for Nomad 9 Design. Featured in https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com © 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing in https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com web site are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Maddy SJ. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted. Email gipsygeek@gmail.com

The Venice Carnival is currently on. A spectacular splash of color and splendor, costumes and masks, masquerade balls and parades and parties on the streets and waterways, inside grand villas and palaces – it is a custom dating from the 12th century. There are several different types of Venetian masks, each type with its own purpose and symbolism. A mask for every occasion, for every personality-type, giving concrete form and literal manifestations to the masks people wear in everyday life…….

Venice Carnival - Masked Man© 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing in https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com web site are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Maddy SJ. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted. Email gipsygeek@gmail.com

Venetian Masks © 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing in https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com web site are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.

Venice Carnival St Marco Square © 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing on the website https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Maddy SJ. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted. Email gipsygeek@gmail.com

Venice Carnival St Marco Square © 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing on the website https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws. The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Maddy SJ. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted. Email gipsygeek@gmail.com“The closing years of life are like a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

 

Note: © 2015. Maddy SJ. All rights reserved. All images appearing on the website https://gipsygeek.wordpress.com  are the exclusive property of Maddy SJ/The Gipsy Geek and are protected under the United States and International Copyright laws.
The images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted or manipulated without the written permission of Maddy SJ. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration (digital, artist rendering or alike) is a violation of the United States and International Copyright laws. All images are copyrighted. Email gipsygeek@gmail.com


 

 

 

11/11 and 1 year

Exactly one year ago on 11/11 we released Planetary Coalition’s debut CD, and what an unexpected and exhilarating journey it has been! A huge thank-you to all who supported, encouraged and participated in this project and appreciated the music we offered and continue to do so.

We are honored and humbled by the reception we’ve received from the public, press and peers. Concerts at Union Square New York, at NAMM venues in California, invitations and sold-out lecture/presentations/audio-visual performances at the Liberty Science Center, NJ, at the ArtsVille series at the University of Dayton, OH, glowing reviews in many local, national and international publications, recognition by Guitar World magazine as one of the top 50 releases of 2014, Acoustic Nation’s pick as the top 10 acoustic guitar albums of 2014, and submitted by our ArtistShare/Bluenote record label in several categories for the upcoming 58th Grammy awards.

For more information on the project, vignettes, news and updates – go to the website http://planetarycoalition.com/

Since an invaluable amount of sweat, blood, creativity. effort and expenses went into this mammoth project, please support the work of independent artists and musicians and not online illegal uploads or ripped CDs.

For the holiday season, share our labor of love as the perfect gift.
Available on i-TUNES here: http://apple.co/1zB0qiN
On AMAZON here: http://amzn.to/1ASdNg4

If i-tunes and Amazon options do not cover your country, you can order directly from ArtistShare here: http://artistshare.com/v4/Projects/OfferDetails/325/439/2186/1/6

Make music, not war! Support the independent Arts!

Here’s a video of the complete album excerpts, compiled & edited by yours truly: 


Planetary Coalition – Album Excerpts 3

This is the last of the album excerpts’ series for Planetary Coalition – with glimpses of the last 5 songs on the album. On Novermber 25, 2014, our itunes sales commenced and within a day the album had already climbed to the top 20 world music albums at number 13. Please help support the project – the link to buy the album on Amazon is here: http://www.amazon.com/Planetary-Coalition-Alex-Skolnick/dp/B00OTVQ0L4 and on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/planetary-coalition/id934930381

This series of excerpts begins with a composition with Cuban influences – with the great Grammy award-winning Cuban percussionist Horacio “el Negro” Hernandez and his daughter Jennifer who co-wrote the piece with Skolnick. The photos of Cuba (except three) are ones I had taken during a 2006 trip to that country.

Following this, both countries of the Holy Land – Israel and Palestine are featured – with renowned Palestinian oud player Adnan Joubran of Le Trio Joubran co-composing a track with Skolnick (a piece with surprises in its full version where the melody takes a rather unexpected turn) followed by a duet with famed Israeli percussionist Gadi Seri (a frequent accompanist in the group of Israeli singing sensation Noa) in a piece inspired by travelling through the Negev desert. Initially both Seri and Joubran were to feature on the same track but, due to different rhythm styles, decided to have two separate pieces.

The fourth excerpt is the first guitar-pipa duet ever performed of a popular Chinese melody – with Skolnick and pipa virtuoso Yihan Chen playing on a variation of Wang Huiran’s tune Dance of the Yi People as “Return of the Yi People” and the colorful landscapes featured in the video are indeed from the region of South China where the Yi people reside. There is a previous post in this blog on the pipa – an ancient Chinese instrument more than 2000 years old.

And finally, an excerpt of the popular signature tune of the project – the first track which Skolnick had composed in 2012 when he conceived of the Planetary Coalition series: Sleeping Gypsy, which I feel both happy and shy to mention was composed for your nomadic neighborhood artist and blogger – the Gypsy Geek :)

Here goes:

On Saturday November 29, 2014, about seven of the twenty seven musicians of Planetary Coalition will play at the Liberty Science Center coinciding with an event on the history and development of the acoustic and electric guitar. We also have a Planetary Coalition website where more details are available on the project.

I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say it again once more: Support independent authentic musicians, artists and Art! Make Music, Not War! :)


Planetary Coalition – Album Excerpts I

First of a short series of audio-visual album previews and track excerpts, including scenes from the recording studio, compiled by yours truly.

These excerpts include famed guitar duo Ridrigo y Gabriela – who, among many sold-out concerts and tours – have played for President Obama himself and are two-time guests on the David Letterman Show. In fact this recording with Skolnick was made a day before their Letterman appearance. As teenagers, they were inspired by Skolnick’s playing before becoming professional musicians themselves.

The video also includes glimpses of other great world musicians like Argentine bass player Pablo Aslan and pianist Dario Boente, African kora player and singer Yacouba Sissoko (who has played with Paul Simon, Harry Belafonte et al among others), members of the New York Gypsy All Stars (Vasko Dukovski, Panagiotis Andreou, Engin Kaan Gunaydin), accordian maestro Raif Hyseni, Max ZT who learned his craft from pre-eminent Indian santoor maestro Shiv Kumar Sharma; and violinist Rachel Golub who is also the world record holder in open cold water swimming and has performed with artists ranging from Sting, Elton John and Lady Gaga to Jay-Z, Andrea Bocelli et al and in shows like Saturday Night Live among others; also New York based versatile Japanese bassist Moto Fukushima (a summa cum laude graduate alumni of the prestigious Berklee College of Music) and drummer-percussionist Luke Notary who has previously worked with Cirque du Soleil.

All compositions and arrangement by Alex Skolnick, except Alla La K’e – which is a take on a traditional Malinese song – and this is the first time it has been performed as a guitar-kora duet.

I have been deeply involved artistically with this project since 2012, as artist, consultant and documentarain, and the previous post carries my album artwork.

The CD can be ordered here:

Through ArtistShare: http://artistshare.com/v4/Projects/Experience/325/439/1/Alex-Skolnick-Planetary-Coalition?v=2 (Also includes ways to support the project or get a signed copy of the CD)

Through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Planetary-Coalition-Alex-Skolnick/dp/B00OTVQ0L4/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1415952919&sr=1-1&keywords=planetary+coalition

Through i-tunes pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/planetary-coalition/id934930381

Support independent authentic Art! Make Music, Not War! :)


Make Music, Not War – II

New York, August 5, 2014. In my previous blog post (here) I explained the premise behind melding my work life, creative endeavors and blog life all together due to a shortage of time. Last week’s blog featured a video with Mali’s world-renowned Kora player Yacouba Sissoko.

Today’s blog post features a rehearsal for the project “Planetary Coalition” with eminent Chinese Pipa player Yihan Chen. See for yourself!

This was during the very first meeting between guitarist Alex Skolnick and Ms. Chen. The music had a feeling of water, just as the African one from last week had a more earthy vibe. The final track with Yihan has already been recorded in the studio. Did you know that the Chinese Pipa is an instrument more than 2000 years old? For fact geeks like me, here’s a history of the Pipa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipa

As mentioned earlier, these videos are very exclusive and have not been released yet to a larger audience as we are waiting to do so after the release of the CD. But since I made them, I am showcasing it in a very limited platform through this blog, as a glimpse of what is taking shape.

And more importantly, it is about documenting the dynamic and dialogue between the artists during the process of melody-creation or “feeling out” the music, of creating “conversations” between the instruments and exploring possibilities.  

There is still time to support the project through our ArtistShare website http://www.artistshare.com/v4/projects/experience/325/439/1/6 or directly contact Alex (http://alexskolnick.com/) or me (gipsygeek at gmail dot com) if you’d like to help us out. Or at most, even get the word around.

As another prosaic and tumultuously violent week in world events passed us by, once again – how much better the world would have been or would be if we created art, found common ground and made music instead of war.

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