3 Questions for 3 artists in Prism – Part 2 – curious arts

Prism, one of UAlberta

Spotlight on Karim Gillani, Taran Plamondon and Kendra Heslip

Just over two weeks until showtime. I continue our questions spotlighting artists showcased in the Prism program. Using the same three question format I used last week, I talk with Karim Gillani, Taran Plamondon and Kendra Heslip.

Meet Karim Gillani

Karim is an instructor of the UAlberta Indian music ensemble and also teaches various ethnomusicology courses including “Introduction to World Music, “Introduction to Ethnomusicology: Popular Music of Bollywood (Hindi Cinema). He has been associated with the Department of Music since September 2002 when he arrived as a PhD student.

Karim will be performing compositions from my latest album “Raah-e-Ishq: The Path of Love” with my Sufi music ensemble.

Photo of Karim Gillani performing with a band

Karim Gillani

Ensemble members who will be performing with me on vocals and harmonium include: Dr. Deepak Paramashivan (sarangi), Ojas Joshi (Tabla), Kevin Johnson (Tombak), Farhad Khosravi (Santoor) and Jessica Rogers (Flute).
The album has been well-received by local music critics and artists.

”Sufi music album ranks as one of this year’s most notable releases on Canada’s Global music horizon” Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal.

“Karim’s new album sounds beautiful, great vocals and lovely instrumentation” Maria Dunn, Juno Award Nominee

For more information about  “Raah-e-Ishq: The Path of Love” see our album release preview story by Laurelle Miciak.

Q: Why are you a musician?

I believe it is only through music I am able to connect with the Divine, I am able to express my deep emotions and connect with myself and the nature around me. Music is the form of art which is both visible and invisible, it has a body and soul, no experience is as moving as listening and performing to spiritual music!

Q: Who (or what) is your musical inspiration?

First and foremost the sounds of nature, the beauty of harmony within and outside ourselves! I also love the musical renditions of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abida Perveen, Ustad Mehdi Hassan.

Q: What is your earliest memory related to music?

When I was hardly four years old, my mother trained me to sing one devotional hymn in our prayer hall in front of 400 people. Before performing that hymn I was scared like hell, but my mother told me “not to worry just look at me while you are singing, just go and sing your heart out, and everyone in the congregation will join you.” Believe me or not, when I started singing, unfortunately no one accompanied me, except my mom that day.  My mom felt extremely proud of me and I gained an immense confidence and courage not only to sing with utmost love but also to connect through my performance.

Meet Taran Plamondon

Taran Plamondon is a second year BMus student at the University of Alberta and will be performing in the Symphonic Wind

Taran Plamondon in a tuxedo

Taran Plamondon

Ensemble, the Woodwind Quintet and the Brass Quintet at the Prism concert.

Q: Why are you a musician?

I suppose the main reason is that the study of classical music really speaks to me. I look forward to getting up early and going to class every day, and music students are generally a delight to work with. I hope one day to be able to teach and inspire people with my music, just as many of my mentors and professors have done for me.

Q: Who (or what) is your musical inspiration?

There are plenty – from several dead European composers (Debussy, Beethoven and R. Strauss to name a few), to my past and present band teachers, to my fellow musician friends who astound me with their talent and musicianship more and more everyday.

Q: What is your earliest memory related to music?

I recall having a tiny toy piano when I was in preschool on which I would try to play the Für Elise theme. I didn’t know how to read music at the time so I just tried to guess each note based on how it sounded. In retrospect it wasn’t terribly accurate but I like to imagine it was one of my first thoughts about music analysis. Soon after I “figured out” the Beethoven melody and my parents decided to put me in piano lessons.

Meet Kendra Heslip

Kendra has been a student in the Department of Music since Fall of 2011. She will be graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Music degree in Saxophone Performance. For Prism, she will be performing a work called Strata, written by a Doctoral composition student at the University of Alberta, Colin Labadie. This piece was also premiered by my professor, Dr. Allison Balcetis.

Kendra Heslip holding her saxophone in a garden

Kendra Heslip

 Q: Why are you a musician?

I am a musician because I cannot imagine my life without music. I know that music has changed me and my outlook on my world and I believe this is true for any type of music and any person. Music is a universal method of communication everyone can relate to and be inspired by. It’s the most amazing experience to listen and without any words know that for one moment, everyone else is listening with you, is feeling something similar and that you are not alone. I never want to stop feeling that way.

Q: Who (or what) is your musical inspiration?

I think the experience that has helped me grow the most was my time spent at the Fredrick L Hemke Saxophone Institute. Dr. Hemke is an amazing mentor and all of the instructors and students have had an amazing impression on my personal development, in both music and life.

Q: What is your earliest memory related to music?

My mom tells me that as a toddler I became extremely captivated when I was watching a movie. Apparently, as soon as one of the Disney classics came on I would sit and not move or make a sound until it was done. Then I would spend the next week singing every song from the movie. My mom always thought I would pursue music.

Presenter: University of Alberta Department of Music
Event Title: Prism
Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Winspear Centre
Tickets: $10 student, $20 adult, $15 senior at www.yeglive.ca/ualbertamusic
Show time details: doors open 30 minutes before performance

For more information about Prism see http://uofa.ualberta.ca/events/prism

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