P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
September 23, 2004
Ann Hamilton's Falling Paper Installation will house Whirling Dervish Performance, and then, things get even wilder . . .
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Ann Hamilton's immensely popular corpus, on display in MASS MoCA's football field-sized Building 5 Gallery, will close this fall but not without one last hurrah. A Whirling Dervish Dance Party held in the space on Saturday, October 23, at 8 P.M. will start with a performance by several dervishes, then renowned Pakistani singer Riffat Sultana takes the stage performing traditional Sufi songs as well as a modern fusion and getting guests on their feet. The evening rolls in to a full-fledged dance party with San Francisco's hottest DJ Cheb I Sabbah spinning a multi-layered funky blend of old and new. Doors will open at 7 for food and drink courtesy of Spice Root."This event promises to be a real highlight of our season - the kind of thing you can only find at MASS MoCA," said Joseph Thompson, director of MASS MoCA. "Building 5 is an inspiring space on its own but coupling Hamilton's installation with authentic whirling dervishes and incredible music from first Riffat then DJ Cheb will make this a once-in-a-lifetime experience." The performance will take place inside the gallery space where corpus is installed. Corpus was commissioned for one of MASS MoCA's most dramatic installation spaces, the football-field sized Building 5 Gallery. Hamilton, one of the world's great installation artists, animated the volume of the space with dramatic sound effects, organza silk covering the windows, and sheets of paper that fall from the ceiling. Together these elements create an experience with deep emotional impact, different for every person who walks in the gallery. Riffat Sultana is the first woman from her family's musical lineage to publicly perform in the west. She is the daughter of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, who was universally recognized and acclaimed as the finest Pakistani Classical singer of his time. Riffat's family represents a 500-year lineage of musicians hailing from the Sham Chaurasi Gharana (school of music). The Ali Khan family are direct descendents of two famed court musicians, Suraj (of the Sun) Khan and Chand (of the Moon) Khan, who performed Morning and Evening Ragas respectively for the artistically devoted Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great. Riffat learned the nuances of her family's musical tradition from her father and her brothers, all acclaimed singers in their own right. Her family background as well the countless other musical influences she absorbed growing up in Lahore, Pakistan have shaped Riffat into a unique artist worthy of distinction in the world music genre Riffat currently performs in a wide variet of musical configurations including her world-trance band SHABAZ that Riffat's vocals have been recorded for numerous labels including Ark 21/Universal, Triloka/Mercury, Hearts of Space, City of Tribes, 6 Degrees and XDot25. She has worked with producers Narada Michael Walden and Miles Copeland. Riffat frequently performs with her trio, "Riffat Sultana and Party", accompanied by Shiraz Ali Khan on 12 string guitar and Ferhan Najeeb Qureshi on tabla. Shiraz, Riffat's husband, is also a student of Ustad Salamat Ali Khan. Ferhan is a disciple of Ustad Tari Khan, one of the finest Tabla players performing today. The group performs a wide variety of traditional and modern material thrilling audiences of all types. Born in Algeria, DJ Cheb i Sabbah might be best described as a ritual music "hajji" a musical pilgrim of the spirit. He began spinning in Paris in 1964. His work with The Living Theatre troupe led him to some of the earliest attempts at turning the spinning of discs into a dramatic art. He has been a fixture on the club scene in San Francisco since the late '80s. Earlier in the day at 5:30 PM, MASS MoCA will host a culture break: In Conversation with Riffat Sultana and Cheb I Sabbah moderated by Dartmouth religion professor Kevin Reinhardt. Tickets for the culture break are free, but should be reserved in advance. This culture break and dance party are part of a weekend of programming called New Voices in Islam. On Thursday, October 21, there will be a screening of the documentaries Our Times and Covered Girls at 8:00 P.M., preceded by a conversation with the filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad and Williams College Professor William Darrow at 6:00 P.M. On Saturday, October 23, at 1 P.M. there will be an event for kids presented by Northern Berkshire Creative Arts about making Islamic stencils and body art. All the events are made possible in part by the Islamic World Arts Initiative, a program of Arts International generously supported by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. "New Voices in Islam" is presented in collaboration with Dartmouth College's Hopkins Center for the Arts and Hood Museum of Art. For Dartmouth events visit www.dartmouth.edu/~hop/. Tickets for the Whirling Dervish Dance Party are $15 in advance, $18 the day of the show, or $12 for students with ID. The ticket price includes gallery admission. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org. MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release