Some exciting news via e-mail today from our old virtual pal Joseph Waters, godfather of NWEAMO (the New West Electro-Acoustic Music Organization).  The NWEAMO Festival is coming to New York on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7 with a program called Pulse: the Influence of Africa — NWEAMO-SoHo 2006 International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music, which will feature cross-genre works that investigate the influence of Africa on classical music. 

The NWEAMO Festival began in Portland, Oregon eight years ago and has since spread to San Diego, Mexico City, Venice (Italy) and now New York.

Each year NWEAMO proposes a theme to composers around the world, and invites them to submit their take on it.  The NWEAMO board takes this as a starting point, and the original theme grows and evolves to become a unique event, that could not have been predicted at the onset. 

“This is what makes the festival so fun, despite the months of hard work it takes to bring it off — we really do not know what we will end up with and it is this sense of adventure that keeps us coming back to do this again each year,” Waters says.

The influence of Africa on the development of classical music is the core topic of this year’s cross-genre, cross-continent, cross-equatorial celebration.  Each night has a different feature and each is unique.
Both New York performances will be at The Apple Store in SoHo at 103 Prince Street.  The October 6 program, which begins at 7 pm, features works by Luke Dubois, Dennis Miller, Centrozoon, Brian Knoth and Lukas Ligeti with guest artist Mai Lingani.  This year’s festival is dedicated to Lukas’ father.

The October 7 program begins at 6 pm and includes works by Noah Keesecker, Paula Mathusen, Brad Decker, Meg Schedel/Alison Rootberg, Greg Beyer, Michael Theodore/ Tim Eriksen and SWARMIUS.

NWEAMO says its mission is to forge connections between the composers, performers and lovers of avant garde classical music and the DJs, MCs, guitar-gods, troubadours and gourmets of experimental popular music.  

“When there is no connection, both suffer,” Waters says.  “When classical music does not connect with popular culture, it becomes a music of experts, unable to reflect and contribute meaningfully in the broad marketplace of developing ideas and cultural experimentation. When popular music has no connection and communication with the classical it becomes naive and superficial, untethered to its historical roots and broad cultural underpinnings. A healthy cultural milieu celebrates both.”  

Sounds suspiciously like one of those perfect made-up quotes that you see in press releases.  Better than most, though.