Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Sat, Oct 25 2014 8:00 PM

San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music & Outsound Presents
The Other World Cycle - visions of the Kalevala land of my grandmothers
A new music odyssey inspired by the ethos of Finnish cultural mythology
by Rent Romus

featuring The Life's Blood Ensemble:
Ron Heglin•Voice Jason Hoopes•Bass
Heikki Koskinen•Recorder, E-trumpet, Kantele
Bob Marsh•Voice Bill Noertker•Bass Suki O'Kane•Percussion Timothy Orr•Drums
Crystal Pascucci•Cello Mark Pino•Percussion Mika Pontecorvo•Flutes
Rent Romus•Saxophones, Kantele, Flutes, Bells
Shanna Sordahl•Cello

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Black Spell by Brian Lucas The Otherworld Cycle is the culmination of over fourteen years of research of the Finno-Ugric traditions and music. The Cycle consists of a series of new compositions and improvisations inspired by the poems of the Finnish National Epic known as the Kalavela, as well as Karelian regional folk songs, and Sami Joik song elements of the native peoples of the north.
Cycle songs will be set instrumentally utilizing thematic elements both using melodic material while embedded structurally in ways that abstractly reference the Uralic “Body of Memory” embedded in Romus’ musical psyche refracted through the multi-faceted lens of improvisation and postmodern jazz.
(painting by Brian Lucas, Black Spell acrylic and pastel on paper 2011)

The Kalevala also known as the Finish National Epic tells of the mysterious worlds, heros, weddings, life, death, and the power of the Finnish spirit. The basis for the Kalevala are known as rune poems, constructed as Karelian folk songs originally passed on through oral tradition as far back as ten millennia. Much later these were documented in the 19th century by physician, botanist and linguist Elias Lönnrot. Dr. Lönnrot assembled them under the banner of the Kalevala which helped to define modern Finnish cultural national identity and shaping a path to an independent Finnish nation.
Interweaving within the Kalevala are influences from the folklore of the native Northern Sami people who based on current research share a connection to early Finnish inhabitants dating as far back as eight thousand years. Musically the Sami are best known for their songs under the descriptive heading of Joik (Yoik). Unlike songs about a particular subject Joik are songs of people, objects, animals, or spirits.

Hailed by Downbeat as having "...a bold sound, unmistakeable sincerity and conviction", Rent Romus "swings like death and hell" according to the late Danish writer and producer Jack Lind. Born in the great north of upper Michigan and growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Romus' work on the saxophone has been dubbed “ferocious” by the San Francisco Weekly and “central to the creative music world of the West Coast” by writer jazz critic Frank Rubolino. From his very beginnings as a student of jazz while being exposed to the twilight tutelage of Stan Getz he found himself drawn to the outer realms of Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, as well as Derek Bailey and Merzbow.
He runs the collective ensembles the Lords of Outland as well as the Life’s Blood Ensemble. Romus has recorded exploring improvisation and composition in a wide variety of musical settings on over 35 albums both as a leader and sideman which (photo © Lenny Gonzalez 510-814-0674 year 2014) have included Chico Freeman, John Tchiai, Vinny Golia, Thollem McDonas, Stefan Pasborg, Dave Mihaly, James Zitro, Kash Killion, Jon Bridsong, Jim Ryan, and Ernesto Diaz-Infante. With over 25 years of D.I.Y. music production, performance, and curation he runs Edgetone Records a label for many forms of improvisation and experimentation. He is the founder and Executive Director of Outsound Presents under which curates the bi-weekly SIMM Music Series at the Musicians Union Hall, the weekly Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series, as well as annual Outsound New Music Summit, a creative music festival held every summer in San Francisco.

The appearance of the Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble is made possible through the Musical Grant Program, which is administered by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, and supported by the Heller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and Grants for the Arts|San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.

Cost: $15 gen $10 stu/sen
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play:
Videos featuring musicians playing at this event
A montage of the free music group the Lords of Outland from their live presented as part of The Tenderloin Museum’s Sounds of the Tenderloin live music series at the Tenderloin National Forest in San Francisco July of 2022 Featuring Rent Romus on alto/soprano saxophones, Ray Schaeffer on bass, Anthony Flores on drums, and Philip Everett on