The Soul’s Flame – A Musical Reflection of Dante’s Worlds, with Story and Art
5:00 pm Sunday Feb 21, 2016
The Story and the Art with Kayleen Asbo, PhD accompanied by violinist Julija Zibrat, followed by The Musical Journey with Shira Kammen, Devi Mathieu, Michelle Levy, and the Soul’s Flame Workshop Singers, narrated by Philip Jonckheer
Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 550 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa CA
Suggested donation $25 at the door only
Open to all!
In his epic poem the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri weaves Greek and Roman mythology, Italian history, and Christian legacy into a map that charts the journey of the human spirit from the depths of despair to the heights of beauty and love. In observance of the Lenten season, and in honor of the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, Numina Center for Spirituality and the Arts presents an experience of music, art, and story that emphasizes the profound, universal elements of Dante’s vision. We follow in the footsteps of his quest in Purgatorio for hope, healing, and community.
This journey of hope and forgiveness begins at 5pm, with cultural historian Kayleen Asbo presenting art and story that charts Dante’s path through the Purgatorio. At 6pm, medieval music specialists Shira Kammen and Devi Mathieu, joined by Michelle Levy and the Dante Singers, present a program of music to lead us on that journey.
With music drawn from the medieval era and beyond, our journey crosses the boundaries of time, culture, and spirituality. The program features some of the most renowned pieces from the Middle Ages, with emphasis on works referenced in Dante’s poetry. Selections range from Gregorian plainchant and Hildegard of Bingen, to Carmina Burana and Cantigas de Santa Maria. The journey honors the common roots of all the traditions that trace their origins to the prophet Abraham by including songs and chants from Christian, Sufi, and Jewish traditions.
Philip Jonckheer will narrate our adventure. Audience members will have the opportunity to join in some of the chanting.
Multi-instrumentalist Shira Kammen has spent well over half her life exploring the worlds of early and traditional music. A brilliant and inspiring teacher and director, she was a member for many years of the early music Ensembles Alcatraz and Project Ars Nova, and Medieval Strings. She has also worked with Sequentia, Hesperion XX, the Boston Camerata, the Balkan group Kitka, the King’s Noyse, the Newberry and Folger Consorts, the Oregon, California and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, and is the founder of Class V Music, an ensemble dedicated to performance on river rafting trips. She has performed and taught in North America, Europe, Israel, Morocco, Latvia, Russia, Abu Dhabi and Japan, and on the Colorado, Rogue, and Klamath Rivers.
Shira happily collaborated with singer/storyteller John Fleagle for fifteen years, and with medieval music expert and string virtuoso Margriet Tindemans. Shira performs now with several groups: a medieval ensemble, Fortune’s Wheel: a new music group, Ephemeros; an eclectic ethnic band, Panacea. She frequently collaborates with singer and medieval expert Anne Azema, storyteller/harpist Patrick Ball, and many theatrical and dance productions. www.shirakammen.com
Devi Mathieu sings medieval, contemporary, and traditional music in the US and Europe. She coaches singers, leads song circles, directs ensembles, and helps those who think they cannot sing to discover their voice. She sings with Ephemeros, a collaboration with her husband, composer and author William Allaudin Mathieu, and string virtuoso Shira Kammen. Their work is recorded on the Cold Mountain Music label. Devi also sings with Gradina, a California-based ensemble specializing in traditional Eastern European song and dance.
Devi has been singing and teaching the music of St. Hildegard of Bingen for more than 20 years. She uses the same methods of oral transmission Hildegard used – relaxing, nourishing techniques that lift the spirit and bring out the best in every voice. Devi leads song gatherings, retreats, and workshops on Hildegard’s music, and regularly offers pilgrimages for singers to the Land of St. Hildegard in Rhineland Germany. www.SingHildegard.com, www.coldmountainmusic.com, www.numinacenter.org
Kayleen Asbo is a passionate scholar: a cultural historian, musician, writer, and teacher who weaves myth, music, psychology, history, and art with experiential learning. A faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music for seventeen years, Kayleen also teaches regularly for the Osher Life Long Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State University, and Dominican University. Her classes on a wide array of topics ranging from Depth Psychology to Dante to Contemporary Classical Music have been hailed as “inspirational”, “fascinating and compelling”, “transformational”, and “truly life changing”.
The Creative Director and Resident Mythologist for the Mythica Foundation for Education, Contemplation and the Arts, Kayleen leads workshops and retreats throughout the country and offers a pilgrimage to sacred sites in France every year. www.kayleenasbo.com