Windham Loops premier
June 12, 2011
Windham Loops for full orchestra and my world fusion power trio Impulse Ensemble premiered at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, VT on June 12, 2011. The Windham Orchestra under the baton of Hugh Keelan performed the 30 minute piece to a very warm and responsive audience. The piece was followed by Beethoven's 9th Symphony which was unfortunately cut short by a power outage. The concert was rescheduled and both pieces were performed again on July 10, 2011 - this time without mishap.
VCME premieres Astonishing Visions
March 4, 2011
The Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble led by Steven Klimowski (clarinet) premiered my new Brazilian inspired piece "Astonishing Visions" Feb 19 and 20 in Burlington and Montpelier, VT. The piece is in three movements: Berimbau Ghosts, Flower Kiss, and Circular Rainbows. It was well attended and was well received by an enthusiastic audience. The piece is written for 7 instruments: flute, bass clarinet/clarinet, bassoon, violin, cello, piano and marimba. The VCME has been playing and promoting new music by living composers for 25 years! Thank you VCME!
Governor Shumlin signs Proclamation 2011 "Year of the Composer"
February 17, 2011
Governor Peter Shumlin signed a proclamation in Montpelier today stating that 2011 is the "Year of the Composer" in Vermont.
He asked me to read the proclamation before he signed it since he's from Putney and so am I. Getting a little preferential treatment for a change. Ha!
About 12 composers were present for the ceremony.
Windscape premieres "Walk In Beauty" in NYC
October 18, 2010
Windscape, one of the premiere woodwind quintets in the US premiered "Walk In Beauty"on October 18 at the Manhattan School of Music.
"Walk In Beauty" is an instrumental arrangement of an original Brazilian flavored samba for flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn and bassoon.
Impulse Ensemble CD release party!
September 18, 2010
Impulse Ensemble has released its first CD! A world fusion power trio with Tony Vacca on balafon and percussion, Jim Matus on electric Greek lute and Derrik Jordan on electric violin, percussion and vocals. The band works with spontaneous improvisation based around African and Middle Eastern sounds. High energy, great chemistry and interplay make this band very special.
Our CD release party will be in Brattleboro, VT on Sat Sept 18 at the Stone Church on Main St next to the Post Office. $10 admission or pay $20 and get the CD as well. Another Cd release party will be held in Northampton TBA.
"Welcome Santo" premiere in Brattleboro, VT
June 5, 2010
"Welcome Santo" for kalimba, shekere and string quartet was premiered at the River Garden in Brattleboro, VT on June 5 as part of the Heifer Stroll and the 35th anniversary of the Windham Arts Council celebration.
It was performed with Derrik Jordan on kalimba, Julian Gerstin on shekere, Sabine Rhyne on cello, Lisa Ferrigno on violin, Michelle Liechti on violin and Peggy Spencer on viola.
The piece is Derrik's 2nd world fusion string quartet and is written in 12/8. It is heavily influenced by the music of Africa. It has three movements: Mbiraland, Gratitude For The Earth And Sky and That Buzzing Is The Ancestors Singing.
Impulse Ensemble debuts
October 30, 2009
My new world fusion trio Impulse Ensemble made it's debut this fall. Featuring Tony Vacca on balafon, percussion and spoken word, Jim Matus on electric laoutar and vocals (greek lute) and myself on electric violin, percussion and vocals. The music is a high energy African/Middle Eastern fusion. We performed in Northampton at the Northampton Center For The Arts on Oct 30, 2009 and did a 3 camera high definition shoot to create a video to help promote the band. Look for Impulse Ensemble in the coming year playing near you. You can check out the video of performance excerpts (6 min) at http://www.impulseensemble.com
. Let me know what you think. We are looking to get into some festivals this summer here and in Europe.
"Odzihozo And The Lake"
September 24, 2009
"Odzihozo And The Lake" premieres!
As I announced in my last newsletter - I have been chosen to be the the featured composer for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra's 2009 "Made In Vermont" Fall Festival Tour. I received a commission to write a 12 minute piece for the VSO chamber orchestra. This year Vermont is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de Champlain. The VSO wanted a piece about the lake and I thought it would be nice to write something that paid respect to the Abenaki, who, after all, were here long before that French explorer decided to name a beautiful lake after himself.
The piece I wrote is called "Odzihozo And The Lake." Who is Odzihozo you might ask? Well, he is a supernatural being of Abenaki legend who created himself from the leftover dust that fell from the Creator's hands. He was pretty clever at making himself but somehow he forgot to make himself legs. So he dragged himself over the land pushing up mountains and gouging out rivers and eventually made Lake Champlain, which he considered to be his masterpiece. In fact, he liked it so much that he decided that he would stay there and watch over it forever, so he turned himself into a rock island that sits in the Burlington Bay. The piece tells this story in music.
The piece was performed in 10 locations around the state of Vermont in the fall of 2009 and was conducted by Anthony Princiotti. It's been a lot of fun writing it and I've learned a lot in the process. It is written for a chamber orchestra of 28 people, which includes 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 french horns, violins, violas, cellos, bass and a percussionist who plays vibraphone, timpani, bass drum and cymbal. I have worked two Abenaki musical themes (a greeting song and fragments of friendship song) into the piece to honor the Abenaki people and their connection to the lake and to Ndakinna, which is their name for Vermont.
"Five Gamelans For Brass Quintet" premiere
April 30, 2009
Premiere of "Five Gamelans"
I had the premiere of two movements of my piece for brass quintet (2 trumpets, French horn, trombone and tuba) at "Spotlight Indonesia," an evening of Indonesian music, dance and Indonesian inspired music in Brattleboro on April 30, 2009. The two movements are The Clown Prince and Mountain Of The Gods And Goddesses. The piece is called "Five Gamelans For Brass Quintet" and draws on the rhythms and scales of Balinese music. It is not traditionally Balinese but has some of the Balinese flavor. Gamelan is the name of the traditional Balinese orchestra that is made up of metallophones, drums, rattles and flutes.
"Sky Mirror" Wins Shakuhachi Chamber Music International Prize 2008
June 30, 2008
I am very pleased to announce that I have won the Shakuhachi Chamber Music International Prize for 2008 for "Sky Mirror," a piece I composed in February 2008 for shakuhachi, string quartet and electric guitar.
The composition competition took place in Australia with entries submitted from all over the world. Shakuhachi (aka Japanese bamboo flute) is used traditionally in Zen Buddhism and is most often played solo. It has a very evocative and expressive sound, sometimes employing explosive breath and other techniques unique to the instrument. The idea behind this competition in Australia was to expand the repertoire of the shakuhachi by encouraging composers to create chamber music pieces that feature the shakuhachi as part of an ensemble.
"Sky Mirror" will be performed and recorded as part of the prize in a concert in December and there is a cash award of $1500 Australian dollars as well.
If you are interested you can go to their website to see for yourself. http://www.shakuhachichambermusic.net/index.html
Harmonizing With Humanity in Arizona
April 7, 2008
I was invited to perform in Phoenix, AZ (March 28-30) along with 30 other singer-songwriters who specialize in Positive Music. The weekend was a blast and I met a lot of great people like Karen Taylor-Good, Harold Payne, Greg Greenway, Freebo and many others. The purpose of the event was to bring together like-minded musicians who are using their music to create positive change in the world. We had a stage set up in the desert under the stars. There was lots of great music and lots of good vibes. A beautiful event!
Commission from the Sage City Symphony!
February 24, 2008
The Sage City Symphony in Bennington, VT commissioned and performed "Four Unknowns" my first piece for string orchestra and percussion on February 24, 2008. It was exciting to hear my piece come to life and a great learning experience for me. I plan to compose many more pieces for orchestra, bringing together my various world music influences with classical musicians.
SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal just released!
May 4, 2007
Yep, it's finally here. An electric violin-driven world fusion extravaganza, this hour long CD is music that I wrote and recorded in Senegal in January 2006 and Vermont and features some wonderful African and American musicians. Barou Sall on hoddu (small West African banjo) and Pape Sakho on kora (West African harp) were recorded in Senegal at the beautiful coastal retreat of Sobobade along with the amazing Sobobade Drummers. Back in Vermont (thanks to my daughter Sheyna) I met and recorded 3 songs with local Brattleboro high school student and Ethiopian vocalist Helen Kerlin-Smith who sings in Amharic. Also featured on the CD are Tony Vacca on balafon, spoken word and percussion, Jo Sallins on bass, Erik Lawrence on flute and Steve Leicach on talking drum.
The CD release party at The Common Ground Restaurant on May 4 was a great success! We had a well-attended show with Tony, Jo, Erik and Helen performing at the historic Common Ground. It was great to be back there and to get the crowd up and dancing just like we used to do in the old days. Tons o' fun.
SuperString Theory Goes To Senegal can be purchased locally in Brattleboro at Turn It Up!, In The Moment, Everyone's Books and Brattleboro Books. In Putney you can find it at The Putney Coop and Heartstone Books. Or you can send $15 plus $2 shipping and handling to Derrik Jordan PO Box 403 Putney, VT 05346 and I'll send one out to you right away.
Wins Songwriting Awards
May 4, 2006
"Speak Through Me" from his CD "Expecting A Miracle" won 2nd place overall and 1st place in the Gospel category in the USA Songwriting Competition, the world's leading songwriting competition out of 32,000 songs entered!
"Something's Gonna Change" from the CD "Touch The Earth" took top honors for Reggae Song of the Year from Just Plain Folks, the worlds largest songwriter organization!
5 songs from Derrik Jordan's "Touch The Earth" CD (Love To Spare, Standing Prayer, Indigenous, Panorama and True Love) have recently been featured the Discovery Channel, E! Networks and MTV.
Trip To Senegal, West Africa
January 10, 2006
I returned in January 2006 from Senegal on a fantastic trip with 17 people, mostly teachers and my good friend and band mate from World Rhythms, Tony Vacca. We played with a lot of great Senegalese musicians and got to hang out with Baaba Maal at his house. I recorded 5 different musicians and bands including a kora player, a hoddu player, a singer-songwriter, djembe and talking drummers and gave them CDs of their music as gifts. I wrote a lot of new music inspired by all the new sights and sounds in the short 12 days we were there. We stayed in a magical place called Sobobade right on the beach. Just a wonderful time! I'm busy working on a CD called "SuperString Theory Goes to Senegal" which brings together all the music I recorded and composed there.
Article about my trip to Senegal from VT Folk US Magazine follows:
I was invited by Tony Vacca to go to Senegal, West Africa the day after Christmas (2005) for a 12 day trip. Tony is a well-known percussionist from the Northampton area. I've been playing in his group, Tony Vacca's World Rhythms for the past 4 years. He's been to Africa 15 times. This was my second time, my first being 5 years ago when I went to Ghana to study drumming. The trip was organized by Tony and Jean Butler who head the Senegal-America Project, a group that is working to create a cultural bridge between the two countries. Jean is also Tony's agent and books him into schools for performances and workshops. Seventeen people went on the trip, most of whom were school teachers who already teach about Africa in their classrooms, but wanted to get some firsthand experience of the place. It was an inspired group of people and each person had their own amazing back story. Massamba Diop, Tony's good friend and a celebrated tama player (talking drummer) with Baaba Maal's group was our host. We spent our time between Dakar and Toubab Diallaw, a small coastal village about an hour south of the capital.
I had some ideas before leaving about what I hoped to accomplish in Senegal. Amazingly, I was able to achieve them all in the short time we were there. I brought my electric violin, a small amp and recording gear. Before leaving, I thought it would be great if I could give something to the musicians that I met there that would be valuable to them. It occurred to me that if I could record them and give them a CD of their own music while I was there then they could use it to help promote themselves or at the very least use it as a reference that they could listen to. It proved to be a very popular idea. I made the first one for Pape Sakho, a great kora player, who was at Sobobade in Toubab Diallaw where we stayed. Once his musician friends heard it they all wanted one too. I made 5 separate CDs for musicians or groups while I was there: kora (harp), hoddu (small African banjo), two drumming groups and one for a singer-songwriter.
I also got to record my electric violin with Pape Sakho the kora player and with Barou Sall, who plays the hoddu. Massamba says Barou is the best hoddu player in Senegal. I will be including these recordings on my next SuperString Theory CD which will have a Senegalese theme.
Sobobade, the place where we stayed, is completely magical. From the moment we arrived there I was inspired to write music which I did most nights till the very early hours. Sobobade is a combination of an artist retreat and a hotel for tourists set right on the ocean. It was created by a sculptor from Haiti who had filled it with sculptures, tiles and mosaics of stones and shells. It was a very inspiring place to be and very conducive to creativity. There was an amphitheater there where a large dance company that included 7 drummers rehearsed every day. They were fantastic and one of the CDs I made was of this drumming group.
I was hoping to buy a riity, a one string Senegalese fiddle, while I was there and I finally was able to get one on the last day of the trip. It's a very unusual instrument and I'm having fun learning how to play it.
Other highlights of the trip included two Baaba Maal shows that we attended. We even got to hang out with him at his house after the second show. He is a true visionary leader and does a lot of work to prevent AIDS in Africa. Our trip to Goree Island was very moving. Goree Island is where the slaves were held in captivity while waiting for the ships to come to bring them to the New World. We went to the market in Dakar on the last day which was overwhelming - extremely crowded and the vendors wouldn't stop hassling us to buy things. Tony had an all day and night recording session at Baaba Maal's studio that was very productive. A parade of musicians came through. We were invited to a very special ceremony at the mayor's office in Dakar because Tony had gotten a signed letter of friendship from the mayor of Northampton to give to the mayor of Dakar. The mayor welcomed us with 2 drumming groups and 2 dancing groups. It was an unforgettable experience. The whole trip was captured on video by Robbie Leppzer who is an independent documentary filmmaker.
Sometimes it seems like I dreamed the whole thing, except I have these cool recordings... ~ Derrik Jordan