Hip-Hop Party and Workshop at Amherst College Oct. 21-22

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- The Amherst College Global Sound Project will kick off a Hip-Hop Happening on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 21 and 22, with a dance party on Thursday, Oct. 21, at 9:30 p.m. in the Front Room in the Keefe Campus Center. The Original Jazzy Jay and GrandWizzard Theodore, pioneering hip-hop DJs, and renowned hip-hop dance legend Jorge "Fabel" Pabon will provide the entertainment. They will be joined by hip-hop publicist and agent, Christie-Z-Pabon, co-founder of "Tools of War", on Friday, Oct. 22, at 10:00 a.m. in the Amherst College music department for a workshop. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Original Jazzy Jay began his career in the Bronx under the guidance of Afrika Bambaataa. During the '80s club revolution, Jazzy went from performing on the streets to spinning records in clubs. With the Jazzy 5, he recorded the hit single "Jazzy Sensation." He co-produced the seminal hit "Planet Rock" with Bambaataa and The Soul Sonic Force, played the role of club DJ in the hip-hop classic Beat Street and contributed to the movie's soundtrack. A co-founder of Def Jam records, where he worked with such artists as LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, Jazzy was inducted into the DMC/Technics DJ Hall of Fame in 2000. He is featured in the DJ documentary Scratch and has headlined every Scratch Tour in the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

GrandWizzard Theodore, who invented the "scratch" and "needle drop" techniques, was a member of the L Brothers and the Fantastic Five, and was also involved in creating the soundtrack for the cult classic movie WildStyle. He was inducted into the DMC/Technics DJ Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Turntablist Federation. He served as a panelist at "Roots, Rhyme and Rage: The Hip-Hop Story" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and is also featured in the DJ documentary Scratch.

Jorge "Fabel" Pabon, born and raised in Spanish Harlem, developed his dance and choreography career at hip-hop jams and clubs throughout the city. President of the Hierophysics crew, senior vice president of the Rock Steady Crew, member of Magnificent Force, and an honorary member of the Electric Boogaloos, Fabel also co-founded GhettOriginal Productions, with whom Fabel co-authored, co-directed and co-choreographed the first two hip-hop musicals, "So! What Happens Now?" and "Jam on the Groove." Fabel served as a consultant, moderator, panelist and writer for "Roots, Rhyme and Rage" at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, he is the first hip-hop dance instructor to be employed at N.Y.U.'s Experimental Dance Theater Wing.

Christie Z-Pabon made a name for herself on the DJ battle scene by overseeing as many as 17 DJ battles a year and inducting hip-hop pioneers like GrandMaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa into the Technics/DMC Hall of Fame. With her husband, Jorge "Fabel" Pabon, she co-founded "Tools of War," a grassroots hip-hop company named with the idea that there are many "tools" one can use in battling within hip-hop culture: turntables, microphones, paint, the body and especially the voice. In 2002, she teamed up with the Original Jazzy Jay to launch the King/Queen of the Beat Producer Battle with such judges as Premier, Hank Shocklee, Diamond D and Lord Finesse. At no loss for new battle formats, she created a DJ battle for the 2002 Zulu Anniversary, which did not allow any profanity or derogatory remarks. Christie is frequently commissioned to consult, fact-check and proofread to ensure historical accuracy in books and magazines. She recently completed the first nine-city Vinyl Kombat DJ Battle tour.

The Amherst College Global Sound Project supports members of the music faculty, collaborating with colleagues at other institutions, in developing an approach to the teaching of music understood in the context of global and cultural studies.

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Indian Jazz-Fusion at Amherst College Oct. 15

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Shubhendra Rao, a leading sitar player; Biplab Bhattacharya, a rising star among classical Indian musicians; and jazz guitarist Freddie Bryant will present "East Meets West: An Evening of Indian Jazz-Fusion," on Friday, Oct. 15, on 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College. The concert is free and open to the public.

Connoisseurs acknowledge Rao, a disciple of sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, as a worthy successor to his guru's tradition. A reviewer for The Times of India wrote that Rao "has fully imbibed the style of his mentor and embellished his music with numerous innovative ideas."

A wonderful young player of tabla, or Indian drums, Bhattacharya had his initial training from his father, Kanai Bhattacharya, and has been under the tutelage of Pandit Shankar Ghosh for many years. He has traveled through Europe as an accompanist to many artists in many styles. On this tour he makes his American debut.

Bryant, a graduate of Amherst College trained in classical as well as jazz guitar, is now a "Jazz Ambassador." The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the United States Department of State are sponsoring "Freddie Bryant and Kaleidoscope-The String Project," on tour across North Africa, the Middle East and India, celebrating Latin jazz and its influence on American music. Freddie Bryant is the guitarist, composer and arranger for The String Project, a group whose sound is an eclectic blend of world rhythms with jazz.

Rao has a Website at www.shubhendrarao.com; Freddie Bryant at www.freddiebryant.com/itinerary.html.

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Poet Dan Chiasson To Read at Amherst College Oct. 21

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Poet Dan Chiasson will read from his work at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at the Amherst College. The event, sponsored by the Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The Afterlife of Objects, Chiasson's debut poetry collection, was named a "notable book" by the New Yorker and "a superb first book" by The Washington Post. It is "a kind of dreamed autobiography," according to the University of Chicago Press, and "both intensely personal and deeply rooted in recognizable events of personal, familial, or national significance." Chiasson has received a Pushcart Prize, and his work has been published in Slate and Ploughshares, among other places. A 1993 graduate of Amherst College, Chiasson received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and is currently assistant professor of English at Stony Brook University, where he directs the Poetry Center.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Website, www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Portrait, Poetry and Biography in the Iranian World at Amherst College Oct. 15

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-"Majalis ul-ushaq: Portrait, Poetry and Biography in the Iranian World," a symposium exploring the role of Sufism in the pre-modern greater Persian world in pre-modern times, will take place on Friday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. in Room 101 in Chapin Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Religion Department, the Willis Wood Fund, and the Hamilton Fund at Amherst College, all sessions are free and open to the public.

Taking its name from the a 15th century Persian literary masterpiece called the Majalis ul-ushaq- literally "conferences of lovers"- the symposium will not focus on the Majalis ul-ushaq itself but on the role of Sufism in Iran, Central Asia, pre-modern northern India, central Asia, Iran and Anatolia. Combining biographies of prophets, saints and poets with those of some prominent members of the ruling Timurid dynasty, the Majalis ul-ushaq became popular in courtly circles of the Persian-speaking world in the 16th century; lavishly produced manuscripts from that period featured outstanding Persian miniatures. The symposium will explore questions of what purposes were met by such popular biographical works.

At 1 p.m., the first session will address "Admonishing Words and Exemplary Bodies: Toward a 'Fair and Balanced' Approach to the History of Sufism," with Shahzad Bashir (Carleton College); "On Seeing: Relationships of Resemblance in Pre-modern Islamic Thought" with Jamal J. Elias (Amherst College); and "Divine Devotion and Filial Failure: The Pattern of Ignoring Parental Concerns in Some Sufi Hagiographie" with Farooq Hamid (Whittier College).

The second session, from 2:45 p.m. until 4 p.m., will address "Spiritual Practice and Corporate Identity in Medieval Sufi Communities: The Khalvati-'Ishqi-Shattari Continuum" with Devin Deweese (Indiana University); "Portraiture and Biography: Sufi Images in Sixteenth Century Manuscripts," with E. Sara Wolper (University of New Hampshire); and "Defining Kingship and Authority in Early Safavid Painting: Lessons from the 1604 Shahnama of Firdawsi," with Kishwar Rizvi (Barnard College).

Michael Cooperson (University of California at Los Angeles) will lead a discussion at 4:10 p.m., followed by a reception in Chapin Lounge.

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Todd Palmer and Friends To Present Music at Amherst Oct. 18

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-In the latest installment of the 2004-05 Music at Amherst Series, clarinetist Todd Palmer and Friends will perform a program including Mozart's "Kegelstatt," Husa's "Evocations de Slovaquie" and Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time," on Monday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College.

The quartet's performers include Todd Palmer, clarinet; Melvin Chen, piano; Scott St. John, violin and viola; and Christopher Costanza, cello.
Palmer has performed as a concerto soloist, recitalist and clinician in 46 states, and was the first wind player ever to receive the Grand Prize at the Ima Hogg Young Artists Competition in Houston, Texas. He has also been principal clarinetist in both the Minnesota Orchestra and Wyoming's Grand Teton Festival.

The latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website at www.amherst.edu/~concerts. Admission to the concert is $22; senior citizens and Amherst College employees, $19; and students $5. For more information and brochures call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195, or e-mail concert manager Michael Baumgarten at mhbaumgarten@amherst.edu.

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Writer brenda Lin To Speak At Amherst College Oct. 5

October 1, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Essayist brenda Lin will be at Amherst College on Tuesday, Oct. 5, visiting creative writing classes throughout the day, and reading from her new book, Wealth Ribbon: Taiwan Bound, America Bound, at 8 p.m. at Amherst Books (8 Main St.) Her reading, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Amherst College English Department and the Eastman Fund.

Wealth Ribbon offers a half-dozen essays that share a narrative theme, telling the story of the coming-of-age of Taiwan with three generations of the author's family history and relationship with American culture. Lin explores what it is like to have a transnational identity and shows how the everyday politics of an international cultural identity is in fact quite universal.

"Language" focuses on Lin's grandmother, who grew up in Taiwan during the Japanese occupation speaking Japanese fluently and developing a strong cultural tie to Japan. "Place" traces the story of Lin's father, whom she uses as a symbol for the new Taiwanese identity of his generation. "Nationality" describes Lin's first trip to mainland China. In the last three chapters-"Home," "Translations," and "Umbilical Cord"-the three generations of Lin's family, which represent both similar and different languages and cultures, come together in a sometimes cacophonous, other times melodious, symphony of emotions.

Lin grew up in Taiwan and moved to the United States when she was 17. She received an M.F.A. degree from Columbia University. Her essays have appeared in Fourth Genre, Full Circle Journal and Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.

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