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Fifth House Ensemble and Baladino Present 'Nedudim' at Saturday Concert

April 20, 2015

For the final Green Guest Artist Concert of the season, the DePauw University School of Music series brings together Chicago’s innovative Fifth House Ensemble (5HE), the Mediterranean folk band Baladino, and 2014 Rome Prize-winning composer Dan Visconti to present Nedudim, a genre-defying, evening-length suite of music rooted in Middle Eastern, European and American folk traditions. The concert, which takes place at DePauw's Green Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, represents the culmination of Fifth House’s two-year artist residency with the School of Music.

The two groups will arrive in Greencastle on Thursday for a joint residency, April 23-25. Prior to their concert on Saturday, 5HE will introduce the Tel Aviv/Berlin-based band Baladino to the community at a Friday night cookout and open jam session from 5:30–6:30 p.m. at the new School of Music House (705 South Locust Street).

The spirited alliance represents a celebration of music that transcends borders, merging ancient and modern instruments and musical traditions. Inspired by a diverse group of cultural influences, the two groups tap into the shared experience of musical memories to explore music as an indelible part of cultural identity.

Nedudim, which means “wanderings,” brings fresh settings of Ladino and Israeli folk melodies to the stage, including Tzur Mishelo, La Esclava and Tres Hermenicas, augmenting Baladino’s instrumentation to incorporate musicians from 5HE. Baladino’s lead arranger Tomer Moked says, “I want each arrangement to feel like a home-cooked meal that you share with new friends, so that people from any culture can hear something that they might remember from the music of their childhood.”

The centerpiece Saturday evening will be the premiere of Native Tongues by 5HE’s core composer Dan Visconti. His new piece, written for the ensembles’ combined forces, grew out of conversations, memories and melodies gathered through the group’s work with cultural partners in Chicago over the past year. These original arrangements, the composer says, “forms a kind of musical adhesive that builds a bridge between the sound of the two groups, and acts as a springboard for understanding how we share parts of our own stories and lineage through music.”

The program also includes pieces by living composers rooted in American folk music, including “He’s Gone Away” from Robert Beaser’s Mountain Songs, Kenneth Benshoof’s Traveling Music, and with Visconti’s Black Bend. In all three works, soloists from Baladino weave improvisatory lines over the existing musical framework, adding their own distinctly Mediterranean flavor.

Taking the creative blend a step further, Visconti and Moked joined forces to create new works for members of both groups, including a mashup of Greek and Blues scales and a Raga Etude inspired by melodies gathered through interviews with Eye on India.

The two ensembles, Fifth House and Baladino, met in Berlin in January 2015, through grant support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund, to workshop repertoire for Nedudim and further their collaboration. A commercial recording, made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, will be produced in September 2015.

General admission to the Green Concert is $10 in advance and $15 the day of the event. Thanks to season sponsors Judson and Joyce Green, tickets for seniors, children and all students are free. To obtain tickets, visit www.depauw.edu/music/tickets or stop by the Green Center box office, 605 S. College Avenue.

For a full schedule of this week’s events, click here.

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