Samai 2.0

Frank from New York took this blurry photo of me performing at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. He was close to tears watching me juggle all the instruments. Notice that I’m playing the bowls, rubbing the drum, and wearing a tie. What you don’t get in this photo is that I sing as well. The rest of my concentration goes to making sure nothing falls off the TV tray.

In the 80s when it was all about synthesizers, I went to a high school creativity camp at Centrum (no relation to the vitamins) in Port Townsend. I spent my entire time playing with the electronic equipment rather than the out-of-tune piano in the corner of the classroom. Now, it would be a toss up whether I would choose the out-of-tune piano or the plastic keyboard. I’d probably forego both and run outside to find sticks to clack together.

For the Bellevue Art Museum performance version of Samai: Lost in Time, I knew I needed to have a recording. Both because the choreographer Archana Kumar initially wanted a recording and because I knew I couldn’t always perform live.

Samai Version 2.0 is all about dense sonorities, delays, and the feeling of a beat that is always a little bit off. Best part now is that the music comes from pressing a button.

This is a vastly different score than the original acoustic version of me singing with my prayer bowls, rattle, and opera drum. Archana says that it is totally futuristic and dancer Ying thinks it is very personal. I’m glad that it creates a groovy “Lost in Time” feel for the dance that is more theatrical than disco.


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