Exiting News

My feature length music documentary GRIOT is now available online.

Jazz & The City 2022

October 14-16 2022

 

It was my ninth time being welcomed at Jazz and The City. Salzburg turns into a playful place for improvisation and the city becomes a part of the programming. Nowhere else, can you hear artists on the big stage and off stage performing unusual and new constellations. I had the honor of performing with the great singer, songwriter and pianist Ian Shaw, guitarist Hasse Poulson and typewriter artist Tina Oelcker at the Kollegienkirche, a church with a nine second reverb. Ian, as expected, made the audience dance and clap, while their texts were incorporated into the program. Overhead projection artists Helge Leiberg and vocal artist Almut Kühne joined in on the second night and we did a dance improvisation with Helene Weinzierl's dance company Cie Laroque.

The artists get to perform at historic places. There are even opportunities for musical blind dates! I joined in with the horn players from Insomnia Brass BandAlmut Schlichting and Anke Lucks. This year we also performed at the DomQuartier with Almut Kühne, pianist Jordina Millà joined by the dancers from Cie Laroque in rooms where Mozart and Hadyen composed their masterpieces. I was also able to perform with vibraphonist Pascal Schuhmacher who conducted late night sessions at the Jazz Keller at the Art Hotel Blaue Gans. Voice artist Christian Reiner performed in Trachten and Lederhosen (the dancers and singer only) at Heimatwerk. Can it get any better? Tina and her team again created unexpected and mind-blowing events!

 

We were all able to connect with our fans who made it possible for us to do what we love!

 

Thank you Salzbürger/innen!

 

I highly recommend listening to My Brother by Ian Shawn.

Displaced @ Staten Island Museum

June 11, 2022 to March 26, 2023

 

It was an honor to have my interactive multiscreen installation "Displaced - Voices of the homeless on Staten Island" – featured as part of the “Yes, And” exhibition at the Staten Island Museum. It’s a project which was five years in the making. I am happy that it is now available to the public. Check it out at the Staten Island Museum.

Displaced is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency Statewide Community Regrant Program with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; administered by Staten Island Arts.

Little Amal Walks NYC: Little Butterfly, Don't Be Afraid

Sep 30 2022

 

It was such a joy to perform maestro Guy Klucevsek’s music with Guy himself, Doug Wieselman and Jeff Hudgins, while meeting Little Amal. I was so moved by the experience that I created this short music documentary. It wouldn’t be complete without Max ZT’s fabulous conclusion on the dulcimer.

 

It was incredible to rehearse with them and quite an honor! I never realized how many albums I listened to with Guy Klucevek on them: Bill Frisell's “Have a Little Faith” or his work with John Zorn, Dave Douglas, and, and, and... 

Little Amal is a 10-year-old refugee from war-torn Syria. She is also a 12-foot puppet who has traveled 5,000 miles across Turkey and Europe to the UK in search of her mother. On her journey, she’s been welcomed by almost a million adults and children. 

 

Big thanks to Snug Harbor, St. Ann's Wearhouse and Lina Montoya for inviting me to perform and the opportunity to curate the music for Amal's visit.

Roll 4 Us

Chair Mandala

Shakespeare As Nirvana

October 2022

 

I spent a month and a half editing a feature documentary and finishing up the shorts we filmed in Salzburg.

 

The wheelchair road movie is now in a rough-cut stage. “Roll 4 Us”, which highlights the brave journey of native war veteran Anishinaabe Kevin Shores - the ‘megaphone man’ – as he rides along a treacherous highway shoulder from The Red River in Fargo– Moorhead to St. Paul, Minnesota to raise awareness about gulf-war syndrome and his fight to legalize marijuana. Blind and in a wheelchair, Kevin’s amazing determination and courage are on display as he risks everything to speak his truth. I have a few more interviews to capture and then I can’t wait to share this project with you! 

 

Here is an excerpt with Andrew (one of the helpers) and I on the piano with NeSe (Kevin) improvising a song with the tilte "Out of Luck" for the soundtrack:

The "Salzburg Shorts" are now in the fine cut stage and were shown at the one man cinema inside the oldest guest house in Salzburg and hippest hotel "Art Hotel Blaue Gans". Thank you again Andreas, the team @ Blaue Gans and Heike Posch.

 

Here you can see legenday drummer Edward Perraud finalizing his painted chair for "Chair Mandala.”

Music Video and Photoshoot @ Youri Lenquette's Studio in Paris

During the summer, we did a photoshoot and music video at Youri Lenquette's loft in Paris for my new Flamenco - Kora - Trumpet Trio. The music will be released next year on Motéma Records. I am thrilled to be working with the team at Motema again! It’s an amazing label. They have been super supportive and promoted Sira and Amanke Dionti albums!

Flamenco Residence

July 2022

 

After years of self-study while touring internationally with my own projects for 18 years, I am extremely grateful to have found flamenco maestro and educator Enrique Vargas.

 

The twelve years I spent with kora player Ablaye Cissoko were an amazing experience.  I also learned by transcribing Fulani Flute solos by the great Osmane Ba or music by the Cissoko family. Ablaye left his family compound by the age of nine, leaving him with a limited traditional repertoire. When asked by a fan from LA to record Miliamba his brother Ali Boulo Santo had to teach him the song. While bringing Ablaye to the States, he continued to learn from his brothers Karamo and Fode. So my learning was an intuitive process, which also included deep spiritual aspects of music and I am deeply grateful for every moment.

 

It is quite an opposite approach Enrique takes: in his teaching philosophy.  Intuition cannot be taught, unless one truly lives and is surrounded by a musical tradition for decades. Yet genres and styles are somewhat superficial once a deep understanding is mastered. Focusing on the most advanced and complex rhythms of the world - Africa, Brazil, Cuba, India, Eastern Europe or Spain - how does one acquire a mastery, which is taught to little children at a fountain clapping contra off beats for hours in South Spain? His solution is Konnakol, the art of performing percussion syllables vocally from South Indian, applying it to Bulerías, Alegrías or Fandango etc. 

 

It becomes very clear that rhythm is not stressed enough in our western musical training. Flamenco doesn't allow any kind of deviation or playing with time as Jazz sometimes does, yet striving to sync and presenting clear interpretations and feelings of rhythm is mastered only by the best Jazz artists out there. And by combining approaches from different cultures helps our music to grow, beyond our "tellerrand": an out of the box approach where both cultures can grow. For example Indian music usually resolves on the one where in flamenco it greatly varies.

Besides studying the flamenco scales based on the maqam tetra cords, there was an opportunity to learn Arabic embellishments and also learn from someone who was close to Paco De Lucia, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis. So learning non-trumpetish lines and flamenco resolution just helps to overcome technical limits on the trumpet while applying guitar concepts on a brass instrument.

 

 I use every opportunity to make a stopover in Madrid to see Enrique to deepen my knowledge of Flamenco. I was lucky enough to stay there for a week learning from Enrique while enjoying the life of Madrid.

True Sounds?

June 2022

 

When asked to perform at the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg in collaboration with Jazz & The City for "True Pictures?", a contemporary photography from Canada and the USA - curated by Kerstin Stremmel and Andrea Lehner-Hagwood, it immediately struck me to invite composer, curator, improviser, multi-instrumentalist Zach Layton. We met at Art Omi the year before and we got to work. 

 

In his words:

 

In a 1999 essay entitled, “Reinventing the Medium,” art historian Rosalind Krauss describes photography in the latter half of the twentieth century as emerging into a “theoretical object”. Given the photograph’s specific nature as an indexical medium, it becomes a theoretical object through which to explore the reinvention of everyday life as a form of myth. 

 

Similarly, through the medium of recorded sound, music was utterly transformed. A recording of live music is an assemblage of indexes, vibrations created in in the air and transformed into the form of a vinyl record, ultimately dematerialized into the form of digital audio. All that is solid melts into air. 

Sound artists Zach Layton and Volker Goetze present a composition in conversation with the current exhibition that embraces the status of recorded sound as a theoretical object. Through a combination of live sampling and processing of digital audio, amplified trumpet and electric guitar, an extended territory of theoretical sound objects will resonate alongside the constructed images of 20th century photography.

 

Enjoy our performance behind Rodney Graham's "Media Studies '77.

Zach Layton is a composer, curator, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and educator based in upstate New York. His work explores vibration, resonance, and sound localization. He has performed at the Guggenheim Museum, PS1, ISSUE Project Room, Roulette, the Kitchen, and many other venues in NYC and around the world. He has received grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and has participated in residencies at Signal Culture, Experimental Television Center and Art OMI. He is assistant professor of music production at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Duo featuring Mino Cinelu

March 2nd 2022

 

The duo constellation piano with trumpet - especially the wonderful mix of colors between flugelhorn and grand piano - is very dear to me and started decades back in cologne with multi-instrumentalist Christian Torkewitz. Informed by both of our knowledge of Afro-Cuban Bata, Salsa and Brazilian folklore with Jazz and Modern Classical Music, which can be found on Silent Thunder. The journey continues with Matt Malanowski and the great Mino Cinelu, composing new works informed by flamenco, yet expressing my voice incorporating my harmonic sense crossing Mahler and Chick Corea, testing a Tanguio and Bulería. A former dear mentor Wolfgang Schmidtke from Wuppertal - the magic place which allowing for Pina Bausch's success and the founding of German Free Jazz with Peter Brötzman and Peter Kowald once said: "I hate fusion, but I love Weather Report!" What couldn't be greater to have former Weather Report member be featured at the world premiere of my first two pieces of the flamenco suit? Thank you Mino Cinelu and Matt for making this magic happen despite my trial and errors. Enjoy the rough world premiere which will continue to inform me to improve and add onto my view on flamenco. You can only find the link via my website as this video is not public. I like to take time with this music as it is sometimes best to let the music grow on you before rushing into a studio to record just another album done way too often these days. Thank you for listening again!

March Tour with African Flamenco Jazz Trio & Recording Session

In March our trio had the opportunity to play to a full house and sold-out concerts at the LOFT in Cologne and at the Opus Jazz Club at the Budapest Music Center. It was wonderful to experience sold out concerts without much publicity. It seems that the flamenco community, Jazz and World music community is coming out despite Covid and the terrible events in Ukraine, which started just two weeks earlier. Nevertheless, during our off days, we took the opportunity to record our new trio record in the concert hall at the Bürgerhaus Stollwerk in Cologne. Special thanks to their team and Martin Eckhardt for opening their space which was unused because of the pandemic. The results from our residency in Salzburg in October 2021 paid off and we added a couple new songs, while refining our existing repertoire.

 

"This has never been done before: in this trio the Sketches of Spain are drawn in an African way. Flamenco guitar, kora and trumpet embark together on a futuristic journey through time, bringing many of the newly developed flamenco scales and rhythms to the West African kora via modal approaches and the Andalusian cadence Bach used to compose. The pentatonic possibilities are endless …"

 

Special thanks to Toni Scherrenberg for sending a pair of the fantastic modern ribbon microphones VR1 from SE electronics, which I used to record trumpet und flugelhorn with using them in the Faulkner Array (see below), as Rudy Van Gelder used them with Freddie Hubbard. It works every time in a soloist situation.

Celebrating diverse Musical Traditions

Early 2022 Micah Burgess - friend, guitarist and director of Art House Astoria - approched me to curate a series of workshops. Together we developed a series of interactive music workshops ceelebrstring New York's diversity. It was a great pleasure to hear and learn from these amazing artists: Yacouba Sissoko (Mali), Mino Cinelu (Martinique, USA), Kenge Kenge featuring George Odero (Kenya),  Max ZT (India, Senegal, USA) and the Sir Lankan Dance Academy New York.

2021 has been a year to remember!

© Youri Lenquette

My birthday is coming up and I want to celebrate it with you! I’ve put togethersome upcoming shows in NYC and Europe and would love to see you there!

Featuring Matt Malanowski and guest master percussionist Mino Cinelufeaturing new original compositions by Matt and myself. The evening’s music is influenced by Flamenco Music and Jazz greats: Paco De Lucia and Chick Cora.

In Europe with my new Flamenco Kora Trumpet Trio featuring Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko and Alejandro Moreno:

Last year was surprisingly crazy busy and creative. 

 

I was part of the Freispieler at Supergau - a public art festival with the goal of bringing art into the country side. I had the pleasure of meeting new amazing musicians: Tuba artist Carl Ludwig Hübsch while reconnecting with Sebi Tramontana and Almut Kühne.

 

Here is 360 video sample from a performance at the sculpture “Das Gelbe vom Gau” by Moritz Matschke and Anna Pech:

 

Gelbe vom Gau - Freispiel Supergau

© Moritz Matschke und Anna Pech

I was invited to perform at the summer festival of the German Bundespräsident and I invited Ali Boulo Santo Cissoko and Trilok Gurtu. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to Covid-19. Nevertheless it was encouraging to be invited receiving recognition for our two decades of cross cultural work.

 

Nevertheless we recorded a new album at the Goethe Institut in Paris with Ali Boulo Santo featuring Mino Cinelu. Huge thank to the Institute and their team especially Maxime Libiszeski and Susanne Bigot! It will come out sometime later this year. Mino Cinelu’s artistry has been with me since a teenager: I listened to him on so many recordings with Miles Davis, Gil Evans and Sting. I am excited for new collaborations with both amazing artists in the future!

Coverart © Vincent Bloch © Youri Lenquette | Cover Art © Vincent Bloch

The album is a deep spiritual continuation of my long time trumpet/kora collaboration, which we also took onto another level in October by being invited to the Jazz & The City Festival. Thank you, Tina and everyone in Salzburg, for giving us the opportunity to rehearse a new flamenco | Kora | trumpet trio. Here is a private video from a live performance with the duo and trio:

 

Flamenco | Kora | Trumpet Trio live a the Marionetten Theater Salzburg

 

We will be rehearsing and recoding the new trio album next month.

 

And it didn’t end here! The ART OMI Music Residency during the summer was mind blowing and truly life changing!

 

I met and connected with incredible artists:

 

Odero George Achieng, Kenya
Henry Fraser, USA
Amana Irarrázabal, Chile
Zach Layton, USA
Lee Odem, USA
Mint Parker, Uruguay, Mexico
Carola Zelaschi, Argentina
Stephanie Griffin, Canada, USA

 

Thank you Jeffrey for your vision and for bringing together this group!

Here a two 360 video from our experiences:

 

SILO 2
SILO 1

 

We were able to already record two new projects:

 

First Amanda Irarrazabal a double bass and vocal artist and myself recorded a session at St. Peter Church in Staten Island.

 

And secondly George Odero a single stringed fiddle artists and singer from Kenia. Many thanks to the German Konsul for opening their concert hall to recorded a duo album at the German house in New York.

 

They are pre-mixed samples and the recordings will come out this year as well.

I continued my lessons with flamenco master Enrique Vargas. What an amazing generous teacher and player. My friend Joe Quitzke a drummer from Paris and myself are now planning to create our own residency with Enrique in Spain. Joe speaks fluently Spanish and it can be helpful to do things together.

 

Besides four films, documentaries and Immersive projects which need to be finished, we completed the production of “Roll 4 US” by visiting Minneapolis, Moorhead and Austin competing additional missing interviews. More soon! It was great to see NeSey again while also visiting Rosy Simas new Dance Studio! What a great space!

 

This year I hope we can finally complete and perform the Immersive Community Performance about indigenous homelessness, historic trauma and genocide at Rosy Simas‘ Studio.

 

City Artist Corps gave me a grant for “Placed Notes Opus 2”- The composition consists of placed notes in space creating a sound bath based on the cardinal points: lighter keys in the south, darker keys in the north, ascending sounds in the east and descending sounds in the west. Twenty-five musicians were placed in space improving within parameters. Here a video:

 

Placed Notes Opus 2

Thank you for supporting the arts! Thanks for subscribing! And please follow me on Instagram and Youtube.

 

See you in New York (March 1), Cologne (March 5) or Budapest (March 11)!

 

Long Life, Happiness and Peace for 2021

 

What happened in 2020?

 

 

Covid Restriction at a concert in Salzburg (Photo by Edward Perraud)

 

 

Chair Mandala - 10 chairs painted by Almut Kühne Florian Weber, Anna Lena Schnabel, Edward Perraud, Alejandro Moreno, Christopher Dell, Niklaus Troxler, Boris Cassata, Almut’s sun & cousin and Helge Leiberg.

 

 

Boris and Alejandro overseen by Mozart… 

 

 

On the road filming a wheel chair road movie “Roll 4 US” now in assembly stage thanks to Sak Costanzo.

 

 

You can help us finishing the film by donating here: Roll 4 US

 

 

Arrival at the Capital after 270 miles raising after Gulf War illness and legalizing recreational marijuana with Andrew Hanson, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Native Veteran Kevin Shores.

 

 

Almut Kühne performing at the Blaue Gans Art Hotel with Niklaus taped chair. Special thanks to Andreas for hosting us!

 

 

Anna-Lena SchnabelFlorian Weber and Edward Perraud in after Chair Mandala…

 

 

Empty planes across the Atlantic felt safer than taking the subway in NYC…. 

 

 

Solo Improvisation over the Mirabell Platz from the Mozarteum.

 

 

Helge Leiberg’s overhead projection on Mozart’s birth-house. A few trumpet notes may had an impact on the painting? Inside the house were Anna-Lena and Eduard performing but we couldn’t hear them and I was happy to make some noise..

 

 

A gift from Helge now hanging in our NYC Appartment.

 

 

All the bandits and art fighters creating a infectious art virus… Many thanks to Claudia and Fred to open their “Leerstand”. And of course Tina Heine on the left who put the “Zwischenräume Festival” together! THANK YOU!

 

 

Madrid stop over visiting Museo Reina Sofia and a lesson with flamenco master Enrique Vargas.

 

 

Grateful to have met, learned from and performed with Alejandro Moreno.

 

 

Amsterdam Stop Over visiting the Rembrandthuis.

 

 

How to you ride blind on an electric chair? Ask Kevin and Lonnie they have answers… 

 

 

Studying UNITY for Wall of Forgotten Natives. Play the Four Direction Scene here (Desktop Computer only). Graphic Art by Tony Grahn. 

Many thanks to Lara Lewison for teaching me UNITY at Harvestworks via an artist scholarship.

Please support Harvestworks by clicking here!

 

 

Plant some trees to save the planet and expose our former president hoarding paper. Click Play (Desktop Computer only)

 

 

 

Raising funds to bring GRIOT to more fans worldwide! You can help!

Big THANK YOU to everyone who already did chip in!

THANKS YOU AGAIN for making 2020 a product year despite our challenges!

Exiting News

My feature length music documentary GRIOT is now available online.

USA / UK

SILENT THUNDER
Mat Malanowski - piano
Volker Goetze - trumpet

Friday, January 17, 2020, 8:00 PM

America's National Opera Center
330 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10001

Reserve tickets now by clicking here.

Dear Friends, 

It's been a while since my last newsletter. I hope you have all been well. I wanted to share some exciting news! 

I am releasing a new duo album, which was recorded back in 2013. My friend, the very talented multi-instrumentalist Chris Torkewitz and I worked for months on the musical context and the arrangements. It was recorded at the historic Avatar Studios here in New York with sound magician Jim Anderson. 

I will be touring to promote the album with Matt Malanowski, an innovative musical prodigy and we are looking forward to presenting the music to you. Please join us for the following concerts:

Dec 13 LOFT, Wissmanstraße 30, Cologne
Jan 17, National Opera Center America, New York 

Tell your friends and see you all either in New York or Cologne!

Also please help me to reach 1000 subscribes on YouTube which will allow me to distribute GRIOT a feature documentary about the oral history and music of West Arica!

All the best and peace to the world!

Volker.


Please see below for news about my other projects: 

 Wall of Forgotten Natives



Last year the American Composer Forum honored me with the Knight Composing residency. The community VR project follows a group of Native Americans in Minneapolis who are forced to live in an encampment near the highway. They survive the worst of circumstances by bonding together and fighting for desperately needed resources. The project was shot using 360 video and features a dance performance utilizing VR technology. It was one of the twelve finalists for the Knight Foundation's immersive technology call this year. I am excited to announce that the project has made it to the second round for the New Frontier Lab at the Sundance Film Institute. I am grateful to the many friends I have made and the invaluable support from from the Native Community. They invited me to a sweat lodge, to their most sacred sun dance ceremony and I also interviewed Sioux chief Galen Drapeau. 



Tony Grahn a former resident of the encampment painted the four directions for the 360 video and we traveled together to the badlands and wounded knee.



Native Choegrapher Rosy Simas, cellist Jacquline Ultan and myself had the opportunity to workshop a VR project inspired by Wall of Forgotten Natives in Salzburg at Jazz & The City which was a blast! Here is a special links only for you:

Workshop Performance Wall of Forgotten Natives



And I had the amazing opportunity to perform solo at the Toscaninihof in Salzburg with light-projection artist Katrin Bethge. She is amazing check her work out!



SONIC GATES



Click on the map to view a 360 video from last year's opening ceremony of SONIC GATES!


Float, Float, Float On by Arthur Simms

SONIC GATES was installed - NYC's first sound sculpture walk uplifted local communities by bringing new customers into the Bay Street Corridor, driving small businesses and highlighting the work of NYC local artists. 

Ablaye Cissoko and myself toured again around Europe and I feel blessed to be alive to create beauty and deep healing through our concerts.

 

 

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