Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Multimedia: Will Calhoun in concert at the Chelsea Art Museum

Will Calhoun performs with saxophonist Jeff Smith, dancer Ethel Calhoun and Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo on October 28, 2009 at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. © Lia Chang

Will Calhoun performs with saxophonist Jeff Smith, dancer Ethel Calhoun and Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo on October 28, 2009 at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. © Lia Chang

The serenity of the Chelsea Art Museum in New York proved to be the ideal forum for renaissance artist Will Calhoun to display his many creative pursuits on Wednesday night.

Will Calhoun poses with a photograph he created during his travels, after his performance at the Chelsea Art Museum on October 28, 2009. © Lia Chang

Will Calhoun poses with a photograph he created during his travels, after his performance at the Chelsea Art Museum on October 28, 2009. © Lia Chang

Best known as the drummer of the iconic rock band LIVING COLOUR, he and band members guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Doug Wimbish and vocalist Corey Glover have been touring since September to celebrate the release of their new CD “The Chair in the Doorway”.

Will Calhoun and Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo on October 28, 2009 at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. © Lia Chang

Will Calhoun and Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo on October 28, 2009 at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. © Lia Chang

Presented by the Performing Arts at CAM series, a showcase for the collaboration of new media, music of diverse cultures and art, the Chelsea Art Museum featured the two-time Grammy winner, who is a percussionist, photographer and digital rhythmatist in a solo electronic/Indigenous multimedia concert.

Dancer Ethel Calhoun at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York on October 28, 2009. © Lia Chang

Dancer Ethel Calhoun at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York on October 28, 2009. © Lia Chang

Calhoun loves a good collaboration and invited his sister dancer Ethel Calhoun, Real World recording artist-Tibetan vocalist Yung Chen Lhamo and saxophonist Jeff Smith to join him in the course of the evening.

Calhoun spent a ten year period traveling, mainly to Africa and the Outback of Australia to research music, rhythm, sound, and to learn music that was spiritually based, and not based on entertainment. He took many photographs and field recordings. The photographs on view were from one of his favorite desert locations in the central part of the Moroccan Desert.

“It was a beautiful experience to be out in complete silence, riding a not so friendly camel for two days.” shared Calhoun. “The music you’re going to hear tonight has been influenced from my photographing, my travels and a combination of me growing up in New York City, in the Bronx, growing up on hip-hop, being a kid and going to the Village Gate, listening to music at the Village Vanguard, salsa, electronic, rock ‘n’ roll-all these combined in improvisation.”

The performances featured Calhoun on wave drum, flute, his drum kit and several indigenous drums, exploring traditional/electronic rhythms laced with digital visuals, and married with his photographs that were projected on the wall behind the artists.

Calhoun’s latest release on the Halfnote label, Native Lands is Jazz meets World, meets trance-inducing Urban music. This double CD/DVD package in which Calhoun marries his far reaching interests in a genre-bending collection that taps key expressionists from various backgrounds. Among those contributing are Pharoah Sanders, Mos Def, Buster Williams, Stanley Jordan, Kevin Eubanks, Marcus Miller and Wallace Roney, as well as Nana Vasconcelos from Brazil and Cheick Tidiane Seck from Mali. The album includes a DVD with over ninety minutes of music videos and documentary materials that chronicle the last ten years of Calhoun’s life and travels.

Selections from Calhoun’s “Native Lands” CD/DVD are also featured in the Streaming Museum exhibit, New Era: The Middle East , at Tina B. Contemporary Art Festival 2009, in Prague’s Wenceslas Square and in the historic district on the Vernon City Gallery facade, as well as throughout the Streaming Museum network in cyberspace and public spaces on 7 continents through December 8. For additional artist information, schedules and locations, go to www.streamingmuseum.org.

Tina b. Prague Contemporary Art Festival (tina-b.eu) is an international contemporary art project directed by Monika Burian, which strives to combine the creative energy of the cultural scene in Central and Eastern Europe with emerging talents and trends from around the world. Tina b. is held under the auspices and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the City of Prague. An acronym for “This Is Not Another Biennial”, Tina b. is also the personification of a fictitious character, the festival’s enigmatic female patron.

About Streaming Museum
Streaming Museum (streamingmuseum.org), a new hybrid Museum that presents multi-media exhibitions in virtual and public space on 7 continents. Launched January 29, 2008 by Nina Colosi, the museum is produced and broadcast in New York City, with exhibitions generated in collaboration with international cultural, educational, and public centers; artists, curators and visionary creators. The Streaming Museum was inspired by Nam June Paik who in the 1970’s envisioned the Internet, predicting an “information superhighway” as an open and free medium for imagination and exchange of cultures. Streaming Museum is sponsored by The J. M Kaplan Fund, FJC Foundation, ONSSI, and is amember of the International Urban Screens Association.

Will Calhoun on Myspace
www.willcalhoun.com

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Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer and an award-winning multimedia journalist. Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, VIBE, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog. As a photographer and videographer, Lia is frequently tapped to collaborate with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet.
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