Silk Sound

The Silk Screen Fusion program seeks to create a new sound from several disciplines of Asian music and Jazz fusion. Read about our progress on our News page.

concert1Listen to one of our latest rehearsals:

For decades there have been attempt to create new music combining traditional Indian music with Western Jazz.

In particular Ravi Shankar had produced an album in the 70s call Jazzmine that was quite successful. Over the years many other musicians have made similar attempts. Most of these failed to distinguish themselves.

However now the genre seems to have reached a tipping point. This might be because of the Internet, or because of considerable increased traffic between the West and the East. In particular, the Coke Studio music produced in Karachi, Pakistan and Delhi, India have done remarkable work.

Silk Screen is embarking upon a project in the similar vein bringing to it a particular American and Pittsburgh sensibility.

We have been tinkering with the idea of creating some new music, a fusion Project with Asian and American (Jazz) musicians. We want to take very old, traditional Asian music and give those a modern sound. The idea is to first establish a house orchestra, and then invite various renowned Asian musicians.

Some very prominent musicians are already on board with the project.

Musicican Bios - Click to Expand

Jeff Berman – Multiple Instruments
Jeff Berman is a multi-instrumentalist, improvising artist, composer, and educator whose work reflects his global musical vision. A native of NYC now living in Pittsburgh, his genre-extending concept on vibraphone, percussion, and mountain dulcimer has allowed him to collaborate, across stylistic boundaries, with a diverse group of artists from across the planet. Josef Woodward has described his music as “a worldly folk-jazz”, Jazziz has written  “…hypnotic vibes work…Berman not only play vibes, he sounds like he created the instrument”, and Bill Milkowski has called Jeff’s writing “…hauntingly beautiful…”.

He has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. Some of the artists he has performed, recorded, and collaborated with include Andy Statman, Paul Bley, Linda Thompson, Robert Een, Susan Mckeown, Tony Trischka, Arthur Russel, AppalAsia, Tibetan singer Pasang Dolma, and choreographers Yin Mei and Gia T. Cacalano, to name just a few.

He has several recordings on the Palmetto label featuring his compositions, and his music has been used for performance, dance, theater, and film – including the Academy Award nominated documentary In Our Water.

Matt BoothMatt

Matt Booth grew up in Northern Virginia and moved to Pittsburgh in 2005 to study music at Duquesne University.  Since graduating, he continued living in the area and is active as a music educator and performer.  Matt is a member of the Americana band City Dwelling Nature Seekers, the David Lynch/Angelo Badalamenti tribute act Silencio, the tango group Cuidado, as well as freelance work accompanying singer-songwriters and jazz musicians.  In 2012, Booth cofounded the Space Exchange, a weekly live music series at the Thunderbird Cafe.

Samir Chatterjee – Tabla
samirSamir Chatterjee is a virtuoso Tabla player of India. He travels widely across the world throughout the year performing in numerous festivals as a soloist or with other outstanding musicians from both Indian and western musical traditions. Samir performed at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway on December 10th, 2007. His compositions are widely acclaimed as well as his writings.
Samir Chatterjee is an A-rated artist of the national radio and television of India. He can be heard on numerous recordings featuring as soloist, accompanying many of India’s greatest musicians and in collaboration with western musicians of outstanding caliber. In concert Samir has accompanied many of India’s greatest musicians including Pt. Ravi Shankar, Ud. Vilayat Khan, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Pt. Jasraj, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee, Pt. V.G. Jog, Pt . Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, Ud. Amjad Ali Khan, Ud. Salamat Ali Khan, Smt. Lakshmi Shankar, Ud. Ashis Khan, Ud. Shujat Khan, Pt. Ajoy Chakraborty, Ud. Rashid Khan, Pt. Tejendra N. Mazumdar, Pt. Debashish Bhattacharya, to name only a few.

Samir Chatterjee lives in New York-New Jersey area, where he has become a catalyst in the fusion of Indian and Western music, performing with Pauline Oliveros, William Parker, Branford Marsalis, Ravi Coltrane, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Steve Gorn, Glen Velez, Boby Sanabria, Ben Verdery, Dance Theater of Harlem, Boston Philharmonic, Ethos Percussion group, Da Capo Chamber Orchestra, Boston Musica Viva and other jazz, classical and avant guard musicians and ensembles. He is member of jazz trio SYNC with Ned Rothenberg and Jerome Harris and quintet Inner Diaspora together with Mark Feldman and Eric Friedlander. He also collaborates with Sufi-Rock singer Salman Ahmad of Junoon. He is also the composer and director of Nacho Nacho – Gypsy Storyteller and Chhand-Anand, World percussion Ensemble and Dawn to Dusk and Beyond. He performs with Sanjay Mishra on his CD “Blue Incantation” featuring Jerry Garcia as guest artist.

Samir Chatterjee has been teaching for the last 30 years and many of his students are established performers. He is the Founder-Director of CHHANDAYAN, an organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Indian music and culture. He is the author of a comprehensive 654-page book entitled ‘A Study of Tabla’ and a guide book to Indian music titled ‘Music of India’. He is on the faculty at Yale University, Manhattan School of Music, University of Pittsburgh, New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and University of Bridgeport in CT.

Mimi Jong – Erhu
Mimi was born and raised in Indonesia, educated in Germany, and is now home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has been performing erhu, an ancient Chinese two-string bowed instrument, since age eleven.

Mimi performed with members of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, renowned jazz musicians and folk musicians. She collaborated with Mary Miller Dance Company in “The Gathering of Women”, and taught and performed at Huntingdon Council for the Arts “Folk College”. As a guest artist, Mimi has performed with renowned erhu virtuoso Karen Han, Pipa virtuoso Min Xiao Fen’s New York based ensemble Blue Pipa, and has has toured and collaborated with poet/activist Huang Xiang. In addition to performing within the U.S., she also performed in Germany, Spain, China and Indonesia.

With the mission of weaving cross-cultural experience, Mimi collaborated with first-class artists from China to form “Jasmine Dynasty”, introducing Chinese dance and music to schools in the Western Pennsylvania region.  She co-founded the band “AppalAsia”, combinding the influences of Appalachian and Asian music traditions with original composition and inspired improvisation to create a unique musical voice. Using erhu, dulcimer, banjo, AppalAsia creates cross-cultural musical experience that draws on their collaboration of traditions with an ear toward the future.

Ben Opie

Saxophonist, bandleader, composer, educator; currently artist lecturer in music technology atCarnegie Mellon University, former faculty at Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Currently leads or co-leads Thoth Trio (intense acoustic jazz), OPEK (Sun Ra-inspired big band), Flexure (groove-based improvising sextet); also playing with David Throckmorton Group (improvising drum and bass/hip hop/experimental). Chief coordinator of the “Braxton Plays Pittsburgh Plays Braxton” festival, bringing avant garde stalwart Anthony Braxton to Pittsburgh for a series of concerts and collaborations. Recipient of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Creative Achievement Award.

Chris Parker
Chris Parker is a guitarist, drummer, composer and producer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the drummer for folk-rockers City Dwelling Nature Seekers and Michael Glabicki (Rusted Root) and is the guitarist for the Bill Deasy Band and experimental jazz sextet Flexure. He has also played with other notable acts such as The Clarks, Poogie Bell Band, Sean Jones, OPEK and Good Brother Earl.

Harish Saluja – Composer / Producer
harishHarish has been the host of Music From India on WESA (old WDUQ) radio for 41 years. He wrote, produced and Directed the award-winning film The Journey for which he composed much of the music.

The Process

We will pick a few old traditional melodies from India and China.

The composers in the group will divide these among themselves and arrange/suggest some improvisational venues.

Rehearsals have been taking place for almost a year until we are all happy with the results. A performance will be held on February 28 2014 at Bellefield Hall.

Documentary- an educational tool

The whole process from the very beginning to end will be videotaped. Apart from the discussions and rehearsals it will also include interviews with all the musicians. All this will be edited into a documentary The Making Of A New Sound. Apart from being aired on TV, this will also become an excellent educational tool for colleges and schools