Caballito Negro | Songlines - EP

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Songlines - EP

by Caballito Negro

Contemporary music nomads, flutist Tessa Brinckman and percussionist Terry Longshore, perform intercultural work in a fearless, ecstatic blend of tradition and modernity.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Music for South Africa: I. Amandla
5:10 album only
2. Music for South Africa: II. Ububele
5:01 album only
3. Music for South Africa: III. Hamba Kahle
3:46 album only
4. Encounters XVI
8:10 album only
5. This Is Like Jazz!
6:33 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
As Caballito Negro, flutist Tessa Brinckman and percussionist Terry Longshore perform intercultural work, in a fearless, ecstatic blend of modern and traditional aesthetics. Inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poem, “Canción de Jinete (1860)”, the Southern Oregon duo collaborates with many prominent, innovative artists, creating contemporary music that pushes the flute and percussion repertoire to new heights, and always in the spirit of duende.

Songlines is performed in its entirety as a touring concert program of six works, which also includes those by Howard Hersh, Mark Applebaum and Caballito Negro, some of which will be recorded in 2017 as a second EP. Songlines - much like the physical and spiritual journeys of Aboriginal people - describes a few of the inner and outer landscapes humans must travel, using diverse instrumentation of six flutes, all kinds of western and non-western percussion, and spoken word. All six pieces are woven seamlessly in concert with narratives (creative non-fiction and poetry) and images.

Program Notes:

"Music for South Africa" (2003) was originally composed for alto saxophone and percussion, and commissioned/premiered by Darin Kamstra. Jones’ inspiration was the music and people of South Africa (composing “music of hope and not rage”), where, in spite of the Nelson Mandela’s election in 1994, South Africa remains haunted by its oppressive history. Caballito Negro arranged the saxophone part for alto flute, adding vocal effects inspired by the Zulu and Xhosa languages and music (as a reflection of Tessa Brinckman’s South African heritage). Amandla is a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning “power”, from the popular rallying cry in the apartheid/post-apartheid eras. “Amandla Ngawethu” (“Power to Us”, a South African version of “Power to the People”), is often used by political speakers as a way of beginning or ending a speech, and to quiet down a crowd when a speaker has something important to say. The marimba, here and in the third movement, is a natural link to African balaphone (xylophone) instruments in southern parts of Africa. Ububele, an Xhosa and Nguni word, generally refers to “kindness” or “empathy”, soulfully represented by alto flute and vibraphone. Hamba Kahle, partially based on African drum rhythms, means “farewell” in Zulu. Marimba and vibraphone are performed simultaneously in this movement, with the alto flute also performing a percussive shekere part.

David P. Jones (b. 1958) is on the faculty of Peninsula College in Port Angeles, WA, where he teaches courses and private lessons in Composition, Arranging, Theory, Ear-Training, Music Appreciation, History of Rock Music, Jazz Ensemble, Improvisation and Piano. His compositions have received over 300 performances throughout the world by noted soloists and ensembles. He has received composition awards from St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Marimolin, Society of Composers, International Trumpet Guild, International Horn Society, International Trombone Association, and the Percussive Arts Society. His music has been released on eleven commercial CDs including the labels Polymnie (France); Nosag (Sweden); and Summit, Centaur and Coronet (USA).

Caballito Negro premiered "Encounters XVI" in 2012 and recorded it for the composer in 2014. Heralded as an “American Impressionist”, Kraft marries the sexiness of LA studio jazz with the impressionistic colors of Debussy and Ravel. The flute is balanced, blended, and even rebuked by Kraft’s percussive palette including marimba, vibraphone, multiple drums, and metals.

World-renowned composer William Kraft (b. 1923) has had a long and illustrious career. In 2002 he retired as chairman of the composition department and holder of the Corwin Chair at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 1981-1985, Mr. Kraft was the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Composer-in-Residence. During his residency, he was founder and director of the orchestra’s performing arm for contemporary music, the Philharmonic New Music Group. Mr. Kraft had previously been a performing member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for 26 years – eight years as percussionist, and the last 18 as Principal Timpanist. For three seasons, he was also assistant conductor of the Philharmonic, and, thereafter, made frequent appearances as guest conductor. Mr. Kraft has received numerous commissions and awards, including two Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards; two Guggenheim Fellowships; two Ford Foundation commissions; fellowships from the Huntington Hartford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Music Award; and numerous others. Mr. Kraft’s works have been performed by orchestras throughout the United States and around the world, including in Europe, Japan, Korea, China, Australia, Israel, and the former Soviet Union. In November 1990, Mr. Kraft was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Percussive Arts Society.

Commissioned by Caballito Negro, "This Is Like Jazz!" (2015) is a co-commission with Joe Perez, Ben Prima/Cathy Apple (Citywater), Dwayne Corbin/Ruth Polcari (Simpson University), Shane Reeves, and Tomm Roland/Christine Beard (Zephyrus). Trevino’s groove-heavy piece mirrors Turkmen music's rhythmic and metric complexity. It features amplified percussive contrabass flute in conversational riffs with marimba and spoken word, creating a musical narrative of the composer’s time in Turkmenistan.

Ivan Trevino (b. 1983) is an award-winning composer, percussionist, and rock drummer in Austin, TX. As a composer, Ivan’s music is regularly performed around the world and has become standard repertoire in the field of percussion. He is a multi-award winning recipient of the Percussive Arts Society’s International Composition Contest and has been commissioned by numerous performers and universities around the U.S. PASIC 2015 featured the world premiere of two commissioned works by Ivan for the percussion ensemble idiom. He was Visiting Professor of Percussion at Baylor University for the 2015 fall term and is an artist and clinician for Malletech Instruments and Mallets, who created his signature series marimba mallet in 2014. Ivan is also a songwriter and rock drummer with Break of Reality, an international touring cello and percussion quartet. As a member of Break of Reality, Ivan has headlined concerts across North America, South America, and Asia and was recently named a music ambassador for the U.S. State Department for a tour of Turkmenistan, where This Is Like Jazz! was inspired. Ivan received his Master’s degree from Eastman School of Music in 2010, where he taught a course in music business until moving to Austin in 2014.

Recording Information:

All tracks recorded at BrokenWorks Productions, Ashland, Oregon
All recording, editing, mixing, and mastering by Sean McCoy, Oregon Sound Recording
Produced by Caballito Negro
Production Assistance: Joseph Howe, Tyler Willoughby
Photography by Greg Eliason
Artwork and graphic design by David Ruppe

Performer Biographies:

New Zealand flutist Tessa Brinckman has been described by critics as a “flutist of chameleon-like gifts” and “virtuoso elegance” (Gramophone), an “excellent…flutist” (Willamette Week) and “highlight of Portland” (New Music Box), who “play(s) her instrument with great beauty and eloquence” (Music Matters New Zealand). She enjoys a versatile career, having worked in many classical music ensembles and concert series in the United States, South Africa and New Zealand. Her orchestral and festival work includes the Oregon Symphony, New Haven International Arts, Oregon Bach, Oregon Shakespeare, Ernest Bloch, Bumbershoot and Astoria Music Festivals. She has recorded, composed and performed in major regional theaters across the United States and internationally, as well as for radio programming and TV commercials. Her most recent theatrical co-compositions and performances were for Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake, the music of which was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award in 2014.

In demand as a collaborator, performing on flute, piccolo, alto, contrabass and baroque flutes, Ms. Brinckman currently works with contemporary flute/percussion duo Caballito Negro, with master koto-player, Mitsuki Dazai, and a forthcoming new baroque ensemble, Next World Collective. She also performs solo concerts, composing new works that blend technology and traditions, while exploring contemporary geo-political themes. She has received local and international grants to present unique historic and contemporary chamber music programs, and has premiered numerous works by American composers. Ms. Brinckman’s composition for flute and string trio,“Glass Sky”, can be found on the critically acclaimed CD Glass Sky (North Pacific Music), and is featured in the South African documentary, Inner Landscapes (Climax Films), centering around Outsider artist Helen Martins and her Owl House creation. She has served on the faculties of Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College, and teaches masterclasses in the USA and abroad.

Terry Longshore is a percussionist based in Ashland, Oregon whose genre-crossing work balances the artistry of the concert stage with the spontaneity of jazz and the energy of a rock club.

Whether collaborating with multi-media artists, composing live music for dance and theatre, or premiering works by today’s most ground-breaking composers, Terry Longshore brings a dynamic voice to every musical encounter. From concert venues in the Americas, Australia, and Europe to flash mobs in Amsterdam, Longshore has concertized and performed throughout the world. He is the founder and artistic director of percussion group Left Edge Percussion, and performs with flute and percussion duo Caballito Negro and flamenco ensemble Dúo Flamenco. He has performed extensively with ensembles Skin & Bones, red fish blue fish, Conundrum, and Sonoluminescence, among others. Longshore has performed at the Bang on a Can Festival in New York City, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella Series, the Cabrillo Music Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Festival of New American Music, the Britt Festivals, and has been featured six times at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC).

Terry Longshore has performed and studied internationally, including significant study of the classical music of India and Spanish flamenco. He can be heard on numerous CD and motion picture recordings and has premiered many compositions for solo percussion, chamber ensemble, and symphony orchestra. His recordings include the percussion music of Iannis Xenakis for Mode Recordings, music of percussion maverick William Kraft on Albany, and multiple recordings for Stanford University composer Mark Applebaum on the Innova and Tzadik labels. Terry Longshore is a Yamaha Performing Artist and an artist endorser for Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Gon Bops Percussion, and Remo Drumheads, and is a member of the Black Swamp Percussion Education Network.

Terry Longshore holds bachelor’s degrees from the California State University at Fresno (Business Administration – Computer Applications and Systems) and Sacramento (Music – Percussion Performance) and earned the master’s and doctoral degrees in Contemporary Music Performance from the University of California, San Diego. His teachers include Steven Schick, Daniel Kennedy, Swapan Chaudhuri, Ronald Holloway, David Glyde, Chuck Flores, and Kartik Seshadri. He holds the position of Professor of Music at the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University where he directs the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble and Graduate Percussion Group and teaches courses in Percussion, Music Business, and Contemporary Art & Music.



to write a review

Joshua Cheek

An exciting taste of a new musical project!
Few musical combinations are as primal or as modern as that of flute and percussion. From Ancient Egypt to classical Greece, from the plains of Africa to the Mayan Empire in the New World, images of flutes and drums are ubiquitous throughout the world's musical cultures. Yet, despite its ancient pedigree, it’s only been since the second half of the 20th century this paring has been explored to any significant degree by western composers, with hundreds of new works written for flute(s) and various percussion instruments, (stay tuned for an obscenely over-priced "Bibliography of Music for Flute and Percussion" from the Greenwood Press)! Among those ensembles eager to explore and grow the repertoire is Caballito Negro, an Oregon-based duo comprised of flutist Tessa Brinckman and percussionist Terry Longshore. Praised by the new music press for their "fearless, ecstatic blend of modern and traditional aesthetics", Brinckman and Longshore bring tremendous credibility and energy to their first recorded project, offering a tantalizing sample of three of the compositions showcased in their multi-media "Songlines" performances: David P. Jones’ Music For South Africa, William Kraft’s Encounters XVI and This Is Like Jazz! by Ivan Trevino. The remainder of the "Songlines" program (as of yet, unreleased) included works by Howard Hersh, Mark Applebaum and a collaborative composition from Caballito Negro.

The EP opens with David P. Jones’ Music for South Africa (2003), a work originally composed for alto saxophone and percussion. For their "Songlines" tour, Caballito Negro arranged the saxophone part for alto flute, adding vocal effects inspired by the Zulu and Xhosa languages and music (as a reflection of Tessa Brinckman’s South African heritage). In the program notes, the composer cites the continuing inequities that many South Africans continue to face as an inspiration, but none of this is readily apparent to the casual listener. In fact, the suite is an uplifting show-stealer! I can see it being programmed on a lot of master's recitals in the future! The sensuous breathiness of Brinckman’s alto flute and African vocables combined with Longshore's confident handling of the complex polyrhythms inspired by African balafon and percussion music is hypnotic and engaging.

By way of contrast, William Kraft 's Encounters XVI, the 16th installment in a long series of "Encounters", a series of chamber compositions begun in 1975, immediately establishes its modernist outlook with the flute's surging, gestural opening and shifting colors from Longshore's battery. Kraft's writing for the duo shows particular sensitivity to percussion instruments, which comes as no surprise considering that Kraft played in the percussion section of the Los Angeles Philharmonic for decades, prior to becoming its composer in residence from 1981 to 1985. Despite the lack of "tonal references" and sometimes disjointed textures, there is a restful, even nocturnal quality to the peice, further reinforced by the dreamy, slightly out-of-focus sound of the vibraphone.

This short sampler concludes with Austin-based composer and percussionist Ivan Trevino's THIS IS LIKE JAZZ!, a duo for contrabass flute and marimba (with spoken word by the marimba player). Written as a musical memoir of a week spent in the reclusive nation of Turkmenistan, where Trevino and his cello-rock band, Break of Reality were invited by the US State Department to perform and teach music. It’s thrilling to hear Brinckman coax a playful palette of husky, percussive and seductive sounds out of the ungainly contrabass flute. Unfortunately, I found the spoken word portions a bit distracting, especially given the fascinating sounds Brinckman was making, and Longshore’s complex rhythmic counterpoints. It just seemed a bit superfluous. That said, Trevino is a fascinating composer who writes thrillingly and idiomatically for percussion (his SPUR for solo snare drum and tape is one of the most fun percussion works I’ve heard in a long time) and fans of Apocalyptica, 2Cellos and Tina Guo are urged to check out Trevino’s side project, Break of Reality.

Despite its brevity, “Songlines” covers a lot of stylistic (and geographic!) territory. The performances are near flawless! Brinckman plays with an absolutely gorgeous tone throughout the full range of all the instruments - even the sensuous, breathy contrabass flute, which really doesn't call for much bel canto and Longshore’s understated virtuosity is percussion poetry at its best.

I look forward to hearing more from this adventurous duo.