Birds of Paradox
Debut self-titled album, released in spring 2010.
Birds of Paradox was formed in 2007 to explore the fusion of composition and improvisation, incorporating three very distinct voices and cultural backgrounds into a creative whole. The trio synthesizes elements of jazz and improvised music, traditional Chinese, Western and Indian music into a collective expression of life in post-millennial Vancouver. Their new cd was been nominated for a 2010 Western Canadian Music Award in the category of Instrumental Recording of the Year.
“It’s so vivid, you can almost feel the heat and the surging press of bustling humanity. “Asian Market: Chapter 1 China”, from the Vancouver trio Birds of Paradox’s new, selftitled CD, mixes discordant cries, half-heard conversations, the rattle and clatter of traffic, and the whirring and clanking of mysterious machinery into a startling, abstract portrait of a Beijing streetscape. Even if you’ve never been to the Chinese capital, it’ll put you there…” – Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight, July 6, 2010
“Both gorgeous and adventurous at the same time, the dozen tracks on this disc provide a wealth of unique entry points into where classical, modern and improvisational styles meet.” -Stuart Derdeyn, The Province, July 5, 2010
Buy the CD online at CD Baby and iTunes.
Neelamjit Dhillon tabla, alto saxophone, flute, bansuri
Ron Samworth guitar, effects
Lan Tung erhu, vocals
This collaborative trio of Ron Samworth, Lan Tung, and Neelamjit Dhillon was formed in December of 2007 to explore the fusion of composition and improvisation. The unique instrumentation – erhu/voice, guitars/effects, and tabla/alto saxophone, provides a wealth of textural possibilities to these three versatile composer/performers. Three very distinct voices and cultural backgrounds come together as a creative whole. Samworth is from Anglo/Irish roots, Dhillon: Indian, and Tung: Chinese. The traditional musics of these cultures are infinitely rich unto themselves – but the transformation and synthesis of these traditions into a contemporary expression of life in post-millennial Vancouver is what compels these artists.
Vancouver is a city which has experienced extraordinary growth and significant demographic shifts since the 1970’s. The incredible cultural diversity of the city makes a group like this a natural collaboration- but as a subtext, rather than a deliberate intercultural initiative. The trio employs elements of jazz and improvised music, traditional Chinese and Indian music with a view to creating a discourse that is simply their collective expression.
Vancouver-based guitarist/composer RON SAMWORTH is known on the Canadian improvised/contemporary music scene as an inventive textural improviser and a strong fluid melodicist informed and inspired by a variety of music traditions including jazz, rock, new music and folk music of many cultures. He is the founder and leads the internationally acclaimed improvisation ensemble, Talking Pictures.
He has appeared at all the major jazz festivals across Canada, the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, at New York’s Knitting Factory, and the New York Improvisation Festival, New Music America, Vienna’s “Lets Cool One” Chamber Jazz Festival, Chicago and Berlin jazz festivals and other leading venues in Europe. His inter-disciplinary work includes composition, performance and sound design for theatre, spoken word, film, and dance. He has composed music for Talking Pictures, Standing Wave, the Hard Rubber Orchestra, the NOW Orchestra, EDAM Dance Company, the Vancouver New Music Festival and various dance, film and theatre projects. Samworth was also a longtime member and from 1992 to 2003 the artistic director of the New Orchestra Workshop (NOW), and a co-curator of a weekly concert series at Vancouver’s grunt Gallery from 1987 to 1994.
Samworth’s playing credits include John Zorn, Barry Guy, George Lewis, Wayne Horvitz, Rene Lussier, and the New Music operas The Gang and 120 Songs for the Marquis de Sade.
As an improviser, LAN TUNG creates new vocabularies on the erhu/Chinese 2-string violin. She draws inspiration from her background in Chinese music, as well as numerous genres from western contemporary music to various ethnic styles, such as Indian, Flamenco and Middle Eastern. Lan has performed with Huun Huur Tu (Tuva), Baka Beyond (UK), Khac Chi Ensemble (Vietnam) and Hossam Shaker (Egypt) and shared the stage with many Vancouver’s innovative improvisers, such as Ron Samworth and Coat Cooke. She is the leader of the JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble, a member of Vancouver world music ensemble Tandava, and the vice president of Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra.
Lan has premiered numerous compositions by Canadian and US composers. Trained at Taiwan’s Chinese Cultural University, Lan went on to study with erhu virtuosi Jiebing Chen in San Francisco and Zhang Funming in Beijing, with Hindustani violinist Kala Ramnath in Bombay, Egyptian violinist Dr. Alfred Gamil in Cairo, and improviser/violinist Mary Oliver in Amsterdam. At Vancouver Creative Music Institute, she has studied and performed with Barry Guy, Evan Parker, François Houle, Paul Plimley, John Butcher, Han Bennink…..etc. The various influences are evident in Lan’s compositions and music arrangements. Lan is also active as a concert producer and arts administrator, creating large scale multi-disciplinary projects regularly with media artists Aleksandra Dulic and Kenneth Newby.
NEELAMJIT DHILLON is a professional musician equally versed in both Eastern and Western traditions. He has obtained a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies (majoring in saxophone performance) from Capilano College and has also completed a Bachelor of Education degree in Secondary Music Education from the University of British Columbia. Upon graduation he received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to further his tabla studies at the Ustad Allarakha Institute of Music in Mumbai. The tabla is Neelamjit’s first instrument and he studies under the tutelage of world-renowned maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain. Neelamjit has had the fortunate opportunity to work with same great names in jazz such as Bob Mintzer, Kurt Elling, Nenna Freelon and Cedar Walton. He has also had the distinction of working with some of India’s finest such as Louiz Banks, Fazal Qureshi, Rakesh Chaurassia and Taufiq Qureshi.