Sunday evening concerts
Open Gate Theatre and Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
Manala Performing Artists:
Patrick Shiroishi solo saxophone
March 1 , 2020
at 7:00 p.m.
Center for the Arts,
Eagle Rock, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock
(one block west of Eagle Rock Blvd.).
Admission is $10,
(students, seniors, and past series performers half price)
Manala Performing Artists:
Vinny Golia - saxophones, flutes
Emily Hay - flutes/voice
Alex Cline - drums/percussion/kantele
Ben Richter- accordion
Sean Riddle- double bass
Tim Feeney - vibes
Heikki Koskinen - e-trumpet, tenor recorder, kantele
Rent Romus - alto/soprano saxophones, flutes, kantele
Open Gate Theatre and Center for the Arts Eagle Rock presents the Los Angeles premier of Rent Romus and Heikki Koskinen’s Malana a new musical adventure inspired by ancient Finnish mythology with an opening Patrick Shiroishi solo saxophone.
“Manala” (netherworld) is a representation of cultural rediscovery through the lens of music weaving the elements of jazz, traditional folk, and free improvisation inspired by the mythic prose of cultural liberation and identity found in Finnish and Uralic folkloric traditions.
Growing up as a third generation Finnish American, Rent Romus’ heritage could be defined by a few family stories and childhood songs. Like most ethnic Finnish immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century at the fall of the Russian Empire, his family was strongly encouraged to shed their identity through name, language and/or cultural practices upon entering. Working with mentor and fellow composer/musician Heikki Koskinen, the presentations of Manala is a representation of that deep cultural rediscovery through the lens of music.
Heikki "Mike" Koskinen has been a key musical figure in the Bay Area jazz and Finnish music communities. Chosen in "Rytmi" magazine critics polls as Finland's top jazz trumpet player in the 1970's, he went to study jazz at Berklee College in Boston in 1973. He later moved to San Francisco in 1977. Koskinen is the recipient of several Finnish composing grants, recorded several albums, and won awards as an innovative children's music teacher. Heikki was also the coordinator and host of the Bay Area Finnish radio program ‘Studio Finland’ for ten years. He has worked extensively over the years with Steve Heckman, Mark Levine, Joe Bonner, Bennie Green, Larry Hancock, Michael Spiro, bassist Teppo Hauta-aho, saxophonist Mikko Innanen, and most recently several with Rent Romus and the Life‘s Blood Ensemble. In 2019 he was awarded the 34th Finnish Jazz Legend Award.
What is Manala?
Manala is the metaphysical netherworld in ancient Finnish cultural traditions and referenced in the national epic Kalevala. It is a place opposite of the land of the living, a destination for the soul after this life, a place of reflection that contains answers to mysteries of the universe for the Noaidde or Noita (shaman) in Uralic cultures. It can be very dangerous for a living person to journey there, and only the most experienced may successfully emerge from its dark waters richer in knowledge and song.
For more information:
Opening the evening will be a set of solo saxophone improvisations by Patrick Shiroishi, a local artist who is rapidly establishing himself as a vibrant and powerful voice on the Los Angeles area’s creative music scene. Having recorded with a dizzying array of diverse collaborators, including with two of the veteran members of the Manala ensemble (Golia and Cline), Shiroishi dynamically inhabits the vast, boundary-free terrain of contemporary improvised music, where worlds meet, interact, combine, and emerge free of category, idiom, or style. Pure sound, pure expression, and pure aptitude characterize Shiroishi’s musical language. It should swirl and shine in the resonant acoustics of the Center for the Arts. Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist & composer based in Los Angeles and plays in corima, upsilon acrux, nakata, in the womb, oort smog, sunreader, danketsu 10, and kogarashi & borasisi.