Meklit: MOVEMENT Live
with Diana Gameros, Jesus Diaz, and Clarissa Bitar
Thursday, April 13, 2023
Bing Concert Hall
Meklit Hadero, Host/Co-Producer/Co-Founder
Diana Gameros, Featured Artist
Jesus Diaz, Featured Artist
Clarrisa Bitar, Featured Artist
The MOVEMENT Live Band
Kibrom Birhane, Keyboards/Ethiopian multi-instrumentalist
Sam Bevan, Bass
Marco Peris Coppola, Tupan/Percussion
Colin Douglas, Drumkit
Howard Wiley, Tenor Saxophone
Ian Coss, Sound Designer/Producer/Co-Founder
Sophiyaa Nayar, Director
Emmie Finckel, Scenic Designer
Lee Fiskness, Lighting Designer
Greg Kastelman, Creative Producer
Sara Langlands, Creative Project Manager
Thomas Bowersox, Production Manager/Lighting Director
Ariel Beller, Scenic Manager/Asst. Stage Manager
MOVEMENT Live combines the energy of a concert with the intimacy of storytelling in a podcast come to life. The project lives at the crossroads of migration and music, exploring a world in motion, and redefining what it takes to call a place home. The performance is led by Ethiopian-American musician and cultural strategist Meklit Hadero, who for this show is joined by Cuban multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Jesus Diaz, Mexican singer-songwriter, guitarist and pianist Diana Gameros, and Palestinian virtuoso oud player Clarissa Bitar. Directed by acclaimed Indian-American theater director Sophiyaa Nayar, MOVEMENT Live hits listeners at the level of the hips, the heart, and the head. Movement’s radio series debuted in 2020 as a nationally syndicated broadcast on PRX’s The World, and its stories are now heard regularly on over 300 radio stations around the US, reaching 2.5 million listeners with every episode. The Movement Podcast debuted April 5th, in collaboration with PRX, one of the top five podcast publishers in the world.
Movement is co-commissioned by the Meany Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Washington (Seattle), UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College (Takoma Park/Silver Spring, MD), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Stanford Live.
To subscribe to the MOVEMENT podcast, scan the QR code below.
PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.
Meklit is an Ethio-American vocalist, songwriter and composer, known for her electric stage presence and innovative, deeply personal Ethio-Jazz songs. Her music has made her a star in her home country of Ethiopia, and most recent album was named amongst the best records of the year by Bandcamp and The Sunday Times UK, climbing to the top of the iTunes, NACC, and European World Charts.
Meklit is a National Geographic Explorer, a TED Senior Fellow, and a former Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University. She has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, Andrew Bird, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and the late musical legend Pee Wee Ellis. She is a Co-Founder of the Nile Project, winner of the globalFEST Artist Award and a featured singer in the UN Women Theme Song.
Meklit’s work has been covered by the New York Times, BBC, CNN, NPR, Washington Post, Seattle Times and many more.
Diana Gameros is a singer, songwriter, composer, and social justice activist. Originally from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and living In the Bay Area since 2008, Gameros creates music at the borderlands between cultures, languages, and genres. As a formerly undocumented immigrant, Gameros’ music often tells stories of family, migration, and home, and has led her to perform with other prominent performers such as Joan Baez, Taylor Mac, Natalia Lafourcade, and the San Francisco Symphony.
Even as she continues her musical journey, Gameros uses music as a platform to celebrate her Mexican heritage, and to expand the conversation around social justice issues, especially those involving the immigrant community. Gameros has performed and spoken at rallies, protests, vigils, universities, county jails, juvenile halls, detention centers, hospitals, city halls, and at events for non-profit organizations committed to promote justice. In 2013 she released her first album "Eterno Retorno", a soulful retrospective of her journey as an immigrant, and in 2014 she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Chicana/Latina Foundation for her work in music and social justice activism. Gameros was named one of YBCA's 100 Artists in 2015, for asking the questions and making the provocations that are shaping the future of American culture. In 2017 Gameros released "Arrullo", an album of classic Mexican songs arranged and produced to pay homage to her heritage and homeland. Her songs and story have been featured on NPR, Billboard, Mother Jones, and the PBS Newshour, among others. A documentary film about her was released by KQED in 2020.
Cuban born percussionist and vocalist Jesus Diaz arrived in the United States from Habana in 1980. He quickly identified the Bay Area music scene as the grounds to establish his new home. His local and worldwide performances in collaboration with world renowned and acclaimed artists are recognized for their contributions to the richness of an ever expanding musical genre.
A multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and vocalist, Díaz has established himself as one of the most in-demand performers and studio musicians worldwide. As an educator, he has participated in several prominent clinics and workshops including Berklee College of Music, SFJAZZ, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Drummers Collective NY, and Jazz Camp West to name a few. In collaboration with his group Talking Drums, which includes fellow percussionists Michael Spiro and David Garibaldi, he has contributed to various Warner Brothers instructional books and videos.
Jesus Diaz has performed, toured or recorded with such artists as, Stevie Wonder, The DaveMathews Band, Carlos Santana, Andy Narrell, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobbie Womack, Steve Coleman, Caribbean Jazz Project, Planet Drum, Talking Drums, Pete Escovedo / Sheila E, José Luis Quintana "Changuito", Giovanni Hidalgo, Rebecca Mauleón & Round Trip, Omar Sosa, Columna "B", John Calloway, and Conjunto Céspedes, among many others.
Clarissa Bitar is an award winning Palestinian oud musician and composer born, raised, and based in Los Angeles, California. Clarissa has had the privilege of performing around the country and internationally. They graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Music and an emphasis in Ethnomusicology. To further their studies, Clarissa studied with prominent Arab musicians including Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, and Bassam Saba. They have incorporated oud with a multitude of genres ranging from R&B to Pop to Hip Hop and Rap. Their latest album titled 'Hassan Sabi' is out now on all streaming platforms.
Their music has been featured on Netflix, radio, film, and exhibits around the world. They released a joint poetry-oud EP with Palestinian poet and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd in January of 2019 titled Bellydancing on Wounds as well as a solo EP Bayati. Clarissa has a passion for teaching and sharing knowledge on Arab music, as well as performing and hopes to continue to carve out spaces for oud share this tradition with others.
Ian Coss is an audio producer whose work spans the worlds of music, podcasting and sound art. His original series "Forever is a Long Time" was named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Apple Podcasts. As a founding member of PRX Productions, he has produced and scored several limited series with the Radiotopia network — Ways of Hearing, The Great God of Depression, Over the Road, and Blind Guy Travels — and launched the acclaimed Antiques Roadshow podcast, Detours. His work has appeared on Snap Judgment, Studio 360 and 99 Percent Invisible; it has been featured at the Tribeca Film Festival, and recognized with multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards as well as a nomination for ‘Podcast of the Year’ from the Podcast Academy. Additionally, Ian has premiered live sound works at the Boston Museum of Science and Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, and collaborated on immersive audio installations for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Richmond ICA, and Atlanta Science Festival. Ian holds a PhD in ethnomusicology from Boston University, where he conducted research on Haitian radio broadcasting and Indonesian shadow-puppetry. Learn more at iancoss.com.
Director, MOVEMENT Live
Sophiyaa Nayar is from New Delhi, India. She creates interdisciplinary and genre-bending work that places (im)immigrants and BIPOC at the center of the narrative. She is a member of the WP Lab 2020-22, a 1497 Screenwriters Lab semi-finalist, 3Arts Make a Wave Grantee, an ensemble member with Definition Theatre, member of Director's Lab Chicago 2017, and a resident in Milwaukee Rep’s 2017/18 season. She was part of the SDC Foundation’s Observership Class, through which she worked on Soft Power by Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang at The Public. Most recently, she directed Plural (Love) by Jen Goma and Haruna Lee (WP, Pipeline Festival), Shakuntala by Lavina Jadhwani (Future Labs, Goodman Theatre). Love in The Time of Jonestown: A Radio Play by Omer Abbas Salem (New Coordinates), Good Years by Ada Alozie (Film, Definition Theatre), Pretty Shahid by Omer Abbas Salem (Jackalope Theatre), MLK Project by Yolanda Androzzo (Writers Theatre), EthiopianAmerica By Sam Kebede (Definition Theatre) which won Black Theatre Alliance Awards for Best Play, Featured Actor and Actress and a Jeff award for Fight Choreography. She has developed work with Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Shed, American Players Theatre, Writers Theatre, Jackalope, Milwaukee Rep and MCC theatre etc. Learn more about her on sophiyaanayar.net.
Since moving to San Francisco in 1999, Sam Bevan has established himself as one of the most versatile and creative bassists in the Bay Area. Bevan is able to canvas a large musical landscape where jazz, funk, r&b, folk and Afro-Cuban disciplines joyously intermingle. His sound is in response to the history of modern jazz, yet it’s his composer’s ear which informs his overall concept. Bevan explains, “Since I began my musical life as a pianist, including experiences composing and arranging for pop/rock, jazz and salsa bands, I have gained a much broader sense of the role of the bass. I am very content providing support and feel as a part of the rhythm section, as well as listening for appropriate moments to push the music into new territory. My goal is to introduce interpretations of the music which are interesting and creative without compromising the lead melodic instrument."
Kibrom Birhane carries with him an ancient tradition, a spirit of dedication to roots and ever-expanding innovation. The Ethiopian-born multi instrumentalist and keyboardist extraordinaire is a leader among jazz artists, mixing spiritual and Ethiopian jazz motifs to create a uniquely deep sound that resonates across cultures and musical concepts.
As a child, Kibrom studied Ethiopian orthodox chanting and traditional instruments at a monastery, later melding thousand-year-old musical histories with modern sounds. This religious connection to music is a testament to Kibrom's artistry; a righteous gift he shares as teacher and creator. Kibrom is a humble but prolific and engaging player whose art has touched the Mekane Yesus School of Jazz Music in Addis, the far reaches of Ethiopia, and taken flight across the world to California. Thousands of miles from his native land, Kibrom found commune with Los Angeles African jazz ensemble Ethio-Cali – a renowned group whose members included Jazz luminaries Kamasi Washington, Dexter Story, Mark De-Clive Lowe and others. With Ethio-Cali, Kibrom cemented himself as an important figure in the LA arts community and beyond.
Kibrom’s deep understanding of Ethiopian tradition and sublime ability to fuse those sounds with funk, gospel, pop and folk earned him an All African Music Award nomination for best male artist.
MARCO PERIS COPPOLA
Marco Peris Coppola is a Italian band leader, booking agent, creative strategist, and percussionist focused on the Tupan/Davul, an old world drum found in countries as diverse as India, Bulgaria, Egypt and Brazil. His musical trajectory is centered in Balkan sounds and rhythms, though his history includes years as co-leader of a Samba troupe, and a decade of playing Brass music across Italy, Argentina and the US. Marco is the mastermind behind the beloved Bay Area powerhouse Inspector Gadje, and he is one of the forces behind the Kafana Balkan series, described by the SF Weekly as “The best crazed Balkan Brass Band dance party.”
Grammy award nominated drummer/percussionist/educator Colin Douglas was born in New York City into a musical family. As the son of a music producer, he grew up experimenting with many different instruments and soon settled on drums and percussion. Mr. Douglas went on to study percussion at both the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music as well as Manhattan School of Music where he worked extensively in both the classical percussion and jazz drumset programs.
After college he became interested in the world of latin percussion and studied both in Cuba as well as with many master percussionists in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has lived and played professionally for 16 years. Mr. Douglas has performed and recorded with a diverse group of musicians ranging from latin acts such as Jesus Diaz y su Qba, Ray Obiedo, and the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet, with whom Mr. Douglas received a grammy nomination in 2013, to R&B and rock acts such as Donna Summer and Slash.
Howard Wiley is the type of person who exemplifies the word “character” from both sides of the spectrum...by having it, and by being one. Always willing to take the music or the conversation to the next level, it’s rare to end the music, or the conversation, without a smile on your face. Born in Berkeley, California, Howard Wiley displayed the seeds of his musical talent at a very young age. Wiley found himself playing in the most nurturing of all environments for young African American musicians; the church. Throughout the history of jazz, the church has been
root and center of the community, giving musicians, worshipers, and preachers alike the freedom and comfort to express themselves in the celebration of life. Wiley’s music is a direct reflection of his youth which gives his music a level of simplicity, honesty and integrity. He has developed into a very complete artist in the sense that he possesses a great awareness of the past while he continues to make statements and ask questions into the future.
Emmie Finckel (they/them) is a queer, Asian-American scenic and properties designer specializing in new work and immersive design. Emmie is excited by work rooted in community and collaboration that prioritizes inclusivity and challenges traditional uses of theatrical space. Recent design credits include In the Southern Breeze (Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre), The Watering Hole (Signature Theatre), In the Penal Colony (NYTW Next Door), Athena (JACK), Riot Antigone (La MaMa), Mondo Tragic (National Black Theater), Mrs. Murray’s Menagerie (Props – Ars Nova), Folk Wandering (Props – ART/NY), Suds, All Aboard, Out There (Bluelaces Theater Co.), East O’, West O’, Telegraph Bois (ANTFEST – Ars Nova), SHE: A Choreoplay, And It Felt Like A Kiss... (HERE Arts), The Essential Ella Maythorne (Dixon Place), Macbeth (The Humanist Project), Hot Belly (The Tank), Loudon Wainwright’s Surviving Twin (Subculture NYC), Eurydice, The Pillowman, Mr. Burns... (Wesleyan University), Oklahoma!, The Armor Plays, The Wolves, Rhinoceros, and The Wiz (Fieldston School). Assistant/associate design credits include numerous productions with David Korins (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen) and Gabriel Evansohn (KPOP (Ars Nova & ART/NY), Empire Travel Agency). Emmie holds a BA from Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing their MFA in Scenic Design at the Yale School of Drama. See more of their work at www.efinckel.com.
Lee Fiskness is a Lighting Designer based out of Chicago where he designs for theatre, opera, dance, television, and more. He has also worked internationally including designing The Jurassic World: Movie Exhibition in Chengdu China and Marriage of Figaro in Matsumoto, Japan. Lee has also worked on the lighting teams for TV shows including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Rosie Show, and The Steve Harvey Show, Fox Sports, NBC, and Chicago Bears Network. Lee has taught at Columbia College and Northwestern University. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Lighting Design from Northwestern University. Lee was the Lighting Director at The Santa Fe Opera and was working with the company for 18 seasons.
Australian Chamber Orchestra
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Sun, April 23 at 4:00 PM | Bing Concert Hall