Date(s) - 05/02/2015
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Berkeley's Finnish Kaleva Hall
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Annual Vappu Spring Festival May Day Celebration Matinee Concert of Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble CD release concert of “The Otherworld Cycle”: A New Music Odyssey inspired by Ancient Finnish Mythology
Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble
- Rent Romus — saxophones, kantele, flutes, bells
- Jason Hoopes — bass
- Bill Noertker — bass
- Timothy Orr — drums, percussion
… plus Ron Heglin and Bob Marsh — voice; Heikki Koskinen — recorder, trumpet, kantele; Joshua Marshall — tenor saxophone; Suki O’Kane and Mark Pino — percussion; Mika Pontecorvo — flutes; Shanna Sordahl — cello
The festivities begin with a 4:00pm matinée concert by Bay Area saxophonist and composer Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Ensemble performing ”The Otherworld Cycle,” a culmination of over 14 years of research into the intersection between modern composition, improvisation, and Finnish traditions in music. The evening program begins with a buffet supper at 7:00pm, followed by dancing at 8:00pm. The Kaleva All Stars, led by Heikki Koskinen, will provide music for dining and dancing. A silent auction will begin at 6:00pm to benefit the Hall’s film program. The Helsinki Café will be open downstairs for social gathering.
Vappu or May Day is an annual international celebration. It is a holiday in Finland to celebrate and usher in spring, as well as a traditional workers’ and students’ day. The name of the celebration comes from the German “Walpurgis day,” and is celebrated in many countries under a variety of names. Vappu is a major holiday, like Christmas Eve and Midsummer (Juhannus). Today Vappu belongs to everybody, with its carnival-like atmosphere featuring sima (drink), tippaleipä (pastry), and cheerful partying. Vappu celebrations in many places in Finland begin early at sunrise welcoming Vappu with traditional choral singing.
The Otherworld thematic abstractly reference the Finnish “Body of Memory” embedded in Romus’ musical psyche refracted through the multifaceted lens of improvisation and post-modern jazz.