A[ndalu]sia – Flamenco ReOriented
A concert without borders by REORIENTATE
ReOrientate is a new, unique Hong Kong-based collective that is rapidly gaining acclaim for its accessible, modern re-imagination of complex flamenco forms. Drawing upon Oriental musical traditions from Taoist, Sufi, Hindu, and Buddhist roots as well as modern dance pop, ReOrientate is immediately familiar yet defies categorization. Join ReOrientate on a journey that weaves together harmonies through humanity’s diverse heritages, back to the spirit of the Spanish flamenco gypsies’ original roots near present day north India between western China and eastern Pakistan, where their epic migration began along the Silk Road, then both the European and African sides of the Mediterranean. The musical migration from Andalusia all the way back to Asia stands for ReOrientate’s committment to transcending communication barriers, in a shared search for the intangible relationships that emerge from human universals.
SEEMA RAMCHANDANI [vocals / duff / harmonium] burst on the Indipop scene eight years ago when she won India's first-ever reality TV talent hunt Popstars (on Channel V) to form the band Viva! The band's self-titled album was a huge commercial success selling over 600,000 copies. Seema was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. She has been onstage since age 9 and has four albums to her name. She has lent her vocals on many other projects including Helen Mottee's Letters from the 5th Estate (released worldwide by UNHCR); Foya, an Afro-Indian album by Papa Diabate; canto-pop star Miriam Yeung's album Meridian; and on One Under the Sun, a collaboration with Nigerian pop star Asa. Seema was a presenter on dozens of episodes of Toshiba Ultimate Home Theatre produced in Hong Kong and aired on Star Movies India and Pakistan.
RUPERT WOO [erhu / banhu / gaohu / jinghu] began his erhu training under Lai Siu Ming and Ching Sauwing at the age of 12. He won a scholarship from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) for the Master of Music program, where he is completing his second Masters in conducting after receiving his first Masters in banhu and gaohu. He holds dual bachelors degrees from both HKAPA and HKUST. While studying at HKAPA, he received scholarships from the Society of HKAPA, Hang Seng Bank, William Au Education Fund for Arts, and the Hong Kong Bank Foundation. Rupert has studied under many banhu experts and has been the Erhu Principal of HKAPA Chinese Orchestra, Concertmaster cum Gaohu and Erhu Principal of the Hong Kong City Chinese Orchestra, and Chairman of Tuen Mun Youth Chinese Orchestra.
INGRID SERA-GILLET [flamenco dance / palmas / vocals] is a French/Italian dancer and actress. She began studying flamenco with Gabriel da Roca in Paris, and subsequently moved to New York to study intensively under Jose Molina and La Meira, as well as Nelida Tirado. Ingrid has worked extensively on stage, New York tablaos where she has worked include Flor de Sol, La Nacional, Xunta, Allioli, Taperia Madrid, and Meson Flamenco. After recently moving to Hong Kong she performed at the HK Cultural Center as a featured artist of the First Hong Kong Flamenco Festival. In 2010 she founded Sol Y Flamenco with De Kai and three others, which as Hong Kong’s first and only complete pure flamenco grouphas performed at the HK Cultural Centre, HK Arts Centre, and many others. Ingrid teaches flamenco at HKAPA and other flamenco studios.
KING CHI LEE [zheng] began her zheng training in Hong Kong at the age of 10. She majored in the zheng at the HKAPA, under the mentorship of Xu Ling-Zi. She received a diploma in 2007 and her bachelor’s degree with first class honors in 2010, winning scholarships from the Society of HKAPA and the Hong Kong Bank Foundation. She is currently an MPhil candidate in ethnomusicology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She devotes time to spreading her extensive knowledge of these traditions, most recently having been invited by the Chinese Language Foundation in New Zealand to introduce Chinese Opera and Chinese music to schools across the Auckland region.
ANTOINE RICHARD [flamenco / gypsy guitar] is a French multi-instrumentalist who began his music training at the age of 8. His long exploration style by style started with rock and pop, moved to Brazilian and classical, and then to his passion for jazz, fusion, and acoustic world music. During three years at the prestigious Jazz-a-Tours school in the center of France, he studied under many renowned French musicians. His guitar work spans rock bands, choirs, three years of big bands, jazz quintets and sextets, and six years of acoustic gypsy jazz. He has performed in a wide range of French music festivals. Antoine regularly performs gypsy jazz in Hong Kong, and teaches music theory, guitar and musical awakening at Start Music and the French International School of Hong Kong.
DE KAI [percussion / keys / electronica / composer] is the creator of ReOrientate. A native of St. Louis, USA, he began playing piano and composing in Chicago at age 4. He was classically trained at the music academy of Northwestern University, yet also grew up immersed in the sound and feel of the blues and R&B for which Chicago is famed, and was drawn from an early age to the more improvisational, rhythmic, soulful, call-and-response musical forms. In college he began studying West African polyrhythms and drumming, and subsequently undertook years of intensive study of cajón under a wide range of the top Spanish flamenco percussionists. Music and technology are dual interests for De Kai, who is also a professor of computational musicology and linguistics at HKUST, and he has been immersed in the cutting edge of electronic and computer music throughout the maturation of the technology over the years, leveraging advanced degrees in computer engineering. He works in live settings ranging from pure flamenco in theaters and tablaos or keys and percussion for funk and R&B, to film scores and canto-pop fusion with stars such as HOCC (Denise Ho Wan Sze) and Chet Lam.
(photos: Guillaume Vilaca)