Climbing PoeTree will be performing Friday at 9:00-9:30 on the Unifier field stage
Climbing PoeTree is the combined force of two boundary-breaking soul sisters who have sharpened their art as a tool for popular education, community organizing, and personal transformation. Alixa and Naima interweave spoken word, hip hop, and award-winning multimedia theater to expose injustice, channel hope into vision, and make a better future visible, immediate, and irresistible. With flawless cadence and impeccable lyricism, Alixa and Naima weave together their voices to tell powerful stories of love and liberation, state and personal violence, social, environmental, racial, and sexual justice, woman’s empowerment, and human transcendence. In 15 self-organized tours over the past 10 years, Climbing PoeTree has blazed stages in more than 70 cities across the U.S., and abroad from the UK to South Africa, Mexico to Cuba. At concert halls and conferences, classrooms and festivals, prisons and universities, Alixa and Naima’s words inspire thousands of people to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves and their communities. Their soul-stirring performances have been featured alongside visionary leaders and artists such as Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Amiri Baraka, Cornel West, Angela Davis, Sonia Sanchez, Alice Walker, Vandana Shiva, Danny Glover, Joanna Macy, The Last Poets, and Dead Prez. Amid their busy touring schedules, Alixa and Naima are committed organizers and educators. They lead workshops in state institutions from Rikers Island Prison to Clark County Juvenile Detention Center, and prestigious academies such as Cornell and Columbia Universities. One Common Unity recognized Climbing PoeTree with an award in 2010 for creating peace and lasting sustainable change in their communities through education, arts and media; and in 2012 Climbing PoeTree was featured on TEDx SIT for their work connecting communities, building bridges, and using their creativity at the service of their vision for a better world.
Srikala is an MC, DJ, producer, and percussionist who has established solid footing — and an equally solid following — by creating hip hop rooted in confidence without bravado. The soul in his music is found not only in the rhythms, but in the energy and intention of each beat.
“My music is about transformation. So much so, that if you stripped away the music, that message is still there,” he explains.
For Srikalogy (whose real name is Srikala Kerel Roach), this transformation is at the center of ‘New Paradigm’, his fifth studio album and first widespread label release, due May 20, 2014 on Black Swan Sounds.
Influenced by artists ranging from From Talib Kweli to Radiohead, Michael Jackson to Matisyahu, Jimi Hendrix to Tinariwen. Srikala was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, New York. Throughout his West Indian upbringing, he gained a deep love for listening to and creating hip hop, R&B, dub, and reggae music. He recalls spending many days and nights in the basement with his cousin making beats, saying “That’s just something we did growing up.”
In his early days, he was intrigued by the skateboarding lifestyle, much like his “kick-pushing” musical favorite, hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco. Says Srikala, “I was skating a lot because I was up-and-coming in that scene. There was a lot of partying and I eventually burned out in that space,” he recalls. “Ultimately, New York City beat me up.”
Instead of coasting through self-destruction, Srikala chose to meet the city’s challenge and find balance by taking a drastically different route: he spent six years living in an ashram on New York’s Lower East Side, dedicated to refocusing his life through spiritual instruction and meditation. “Whatever healing needed to happen started happening, and as it did, I started writing music again,” says Srikala. As the music became increasingly prominent in his way of life, he was gently encouraged to leave the ashram and embark on the next phase of his journey because, as he notes with a smile, “there weren’t any monks coming out with albums.”
As his first foray back into the city that helped to shape him, Srikala trained in audio engineering at New York’s Institute of Audio Research and began independently releasing records in 2011. His efforts produced four albums in less than three years, each project placing equal significance on both the message and the music. His multiple talents have afforded him the opportunity to collaborate with artists around the world as an MC, producer and DJ. He is also the founder of Unitribe Productions, a community-based organization dedicated to creating socially-conscious nightlife events, and plays regularly with The Flowdown, his jazz-funk fusion band in which he is lead singer and percussionist.
In all of Srikala’s expressions of sound, he seeks to bring a message of hope and inspiration, and defines his philosophy with ease: “I am a fan of the beauty of life.”
In turn, ‘New Paradigm’ showcases sophisticated beat production and songwriting that are seamlessly bound together by his skilled cadence and flow. The track “State of Mind” (featuring J Brave of California-based Luminaries) is a hip-hop track tingling with dubstep sounds promoting unity – a theme strongly advocated throughout the project. “RadheGovinda (DanceHall)” taps into Srikala’s Caribbean roots, blending tones mellow enough for meditation, while “Take My Hand,” featuring conscious rocker Trevor Hall, perfectly demonstrates how naturally a spiritual message blends with head-nodding beats. From start to finish, the 14-song project illustrates his varied musical influences, the complexities of his background, and his current exuberance.
As he embarks upon the next stage of his own journey and transformation, Srikala accurately surmises what music fans of every genre have long known to be true: “Good music is good music,” says this powerhouse of creativity. “It really just depends on how you present it.”
- ● Srikalogy: Self Titled Album : February 2014 (coming soon)
- ● Optimus Tribe: Urban Mystic – 2014
- ● Srikalogy: Kirtan Remix Vol 1 – 2013
- ● Srikalogy Kirtan Sessions (co-produced by Duke Mushroom)-2012
- ● Sacred Hip Hop (a collaboration with hip hop artist and film director/producer, Abe (Anadi)Heisler) -2011VideoSrikalogy Solo Set @ Cosmic Renaissance – 1-18-14 Srikalogy Solo set @ Unitribe’s 12 – 12 – 12 Party Solo Set
Srikalogy with Full Band 2013Srikalogy 2012 Video Press Kit2013 Performances and Festivals
- ● Fontanas – NYC – March
- ● SRB – NYC – March
- ● Festival of Colors – Alachua, Florida – April
- ● Club Divine – Chicago – April
- ● Krishna Lounge – London, UK
- ● Wanderlust Vermont – Vermont – June
- ● Luminous Movement – Santa Monica, CA – May1st
- ● Mantras, Bass and Beats Tour- California-May 2st- 13th
- ● Lightning in a Bottle – Lake Skinner, CA – July
- ● Dance Meditation Practice – Detroit – July
- ● Bhakti Fest Midwest – July 5th – 7th
- ● Ecstatic Dance – Oakland, CA – August
- ● Kirtan Vancouver – Vancouver – August
- ● Rootwire Festival – Logan, Ohio – August
- ● EvolveFest – Pennsylvania – August
- ● Symbiosis Gathering- California – September
- ● Bhakti Fest – California – September
- ● Black Swan Midwest Tour – October 16-23rd
- ● Club Divine Florida Tour – Florida – Nov. 1-11th
LIVING LIGHT / Desert Trax / Re:Evolution
Entrancing dub and body-moving uptempo electronic opuses are the hallmark of the Living Light sound, blending global beats, indigenous voices, swirling symphonic melodies, and a dash of psychedelia that has lit up audiences coast to coast. Eartha Harris officially launched her Living Light project in 2012 having spent half a decade behind the keyboards in the pioneering live electronic hybrid Psylab. She now has two full albums and two EP’s under the Living Light name, her most recent pair released in 2016 on Desert Dwellers’ Desert Trax label, in addition to compilation appearances on Merkaba Music and Sofa Beats, and official remixes for Papadosio, CloZee, Wildlight, Desert Dwellers, and many more heavy-hitters on the festival circuit. On top of her busy touring schedule, Harris shares her wealth of knowledge with nutritional workshops, and engaging yoga classes in between high-energy performances — sometimes you can find her doing all three at a single festival.
The next Living Light album, “The Great Attractor”, slated for a 2018 release, will strike a balance between uptempo dance and psydub focus while maintaining its connection to that classic Living Light sound.
The name “Living Light” has multiple interpretations, and simultaneously refers to living non-materialistically, maintaining a positive outlook, and all life originating from star-stuff.
The Graceful and the Grotesque INTENSIVE $45 Saturday 10-11:50am
Description: *begins with a short lecture* Learn a dance that marries raqs sharqi and freakish isolations of Tribal Fusion. This class is a moving discussion of the historical influences on today’s bellydance. In different places and times, bellydancers have consciously incorporated weightlessness and grace into their movements as well as grotesque and alarming incongruities. This class includes a discussion on theories of the “grotesque” and how the freak-show and graceful elements have historically made their ways into our modern concept of bellydance.
Release Technique INTENSIVE $45 Sunday 2-3:50pm
Description: Using science and visualization to increase your body’s efficiency. Bellydance training regimes often emphasize only the muscular component of strength building; however strength lies in the neuromuscular system and good technique often appears as effortless movement, not muscular strain. Through various “release techniques” developed since the 1960’s, dancers have been learning to move as efficiently and effortlessly as possible by building direct neuromuscular pathways. In bellydance, releasing unnecessary effort from a single movement frees up more muscles and energy for layering and emotional presence. Through guided imagery and hands-on partner exercises adapted from releasing techniques, April Rose leads the class in this approach to movement. Bring a paper and pen for note taking on the history and science behind releasing technique and be prepared for tactile interaction between students.
All Levels Welcome
An educated and traveled dancer of 14 years, April Rose creates playful and thoughtful choreographies that often seek to find a balance between fused traditions and the ethics of intercultural performance.
Director of Rose Movement Studio in Austin, Texas, she teaches weekly classes at home and currently travels abroad on a monthly basis to teach, speak, and perform at bellydance conferences. In her workshops she teaches a variety of
bellydance techniques, physical conditioning, fusion and the politics of fusion, choreographic method, bellydance history, and adapted psycho-physical awareness practices.
April Rose tours internationally with The Bellydance Superstars and was a performing member of UNMATA for 5 years. She began Egyptian/American cabaret or raqs sharqi bellydance as a child and has since been trained in tribal bellydance and group improv. She is certified teacher in the Hot Pot/UNMATA format of Improvisational Tribal Style.
April Rose has a Masters degree in Culture and Performance from UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures|Dance Department, where she also holds a BA in Dance. Her research explores the transnational history of bellydance since the mid-19th century and the many incarnations of bellydance practice in the post 1960’s US. April Rose has studied choreographic method, the role of dance in the production of culture, and a variety of dance forms (including: ballet, modern, West African, jazz, hip hop, Bedhayo Javanese court dance, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, & Khathak classical Indian dances, contact improv, Skinner Releasing Technique, raqs sharqi, tribal, and fusion bellydance).
Her life is dedicated simultaneously to bringing into bellydance the theoretical, historical, and compositional knowledge she has gained in her academic study and to helping people understand the potential bellydance has for thoughtful self expression, community formation, and challenging of social convention.
Her strategy for life and art is to take risk without taking yourself all too seriously!
-Photo by Reed Burnam
Artistry in Motion: Cultivating Performance Quality & Dynamic Dancing OPEN TO ALL Saturday 12-1:50pm
Description: Dance is the visual representation of the music. Our bodies are the vessel of creative expression and art in motion. In this workshop, we will move beyond the bellydance box and explore ourselves as artists, creating shapes, stories, and captivating performances from beginning to end. This workshop will pull from Deb’s studies of dance, music, somatic inquiry, theatre, and yoga to push our edges, encourage choreography development, and push one’s own personal style, intention, and innovation- to be applied to either solo or group pieces. We will explore concepts such as “throwing energy”, “the tension of opposites”, pacing, and “the art of doing nothing”, as well as as practices to become more comfortable in our own skin, and being seen/interacting with the audience. Exercises in this workshop will help build performance confidence and help build your own voice. Please bring journal, water bottle, and playful spirit.
The Ultimate Slink Factor: Uncoiling the Serpent’s Kiss INTENSIVE $45 Friday 1:30-3:20pm
Description: Next Level Slink! This workshop will begin with Deb’s signature core-integrated yoga for belly dance warm-up as the foundation for slow/slinky tribal, with a focus on asana which will increase space and articulation through the upper thoracic spine/ribs/sidebody for maximum expression in the traditionally ‘stuck’ places. Class focus is on refining your torso and upper body technique, and new slow combos will be introduced to drill the concepts. Moving beyond the basics, however, this TF workshop edition will focus strongly on how to create deeper, core-integrated, jaw-dropping movement quality, suspension, and hyptonizing subtleties and transitions to bring your slow&slinky dancing to the next level of intoxication, presence, and decadence. She has been coined “The Queen of Slink”. Come learn Deb’s unique tribal stylization and critically-acclaimed teaching perspective of some of her favorite material.
The Tension of Opposites INTENSIVE $45 Sunday 10-11:50am
Description: In this workshop, we will explore the delicate interplay between 2 opposing forces—balancing slow, sinewy, serpentine, fluid transitions and movements, with quick, sharp, crisp, isolated hits and accents to give any combination ‘punch’ and create more dynamic dancing and performance. We will also explore the elements of contrast and creating tension within single movement phrases. Workshop includes: Deb’s signature core yoga for dancers warm up and technique drills (may include: torso isolations, hip work, traveling footwork, and/or layering). All material will then be incorporated into a new Deb combo, inspired by the heart of SF tribal, which we will then manipulate and add to, using the concepts explored in class, to encourage dancers to think outside the box and explore their own creative process. Please bring yoga mat and be ready to sweat!
Deb Rubin, MA, CMT, RYT, is an internationally-acclaimed teacher and performer of tribal fusion belly dance based out of the SF Bay Area. Coined “The Queen of Slink,” for her captivating performance style, she is honored to have shared the stage as a guest artist with the musical inspirations of: Balkan Beat Box, EOTO, David Starfire, Brass Menazeri, Zilla, Vibesquad, Lynx&Janoever, Fishtank Ensemble, Beats Antique, and more. Founder of SattyaBody Women’s Health & the SF Mecca Immersion retreat into the heart and soul of San Francisco Tribal, Deb teaches retreats/workshops around the globe, fusing yoga, world-class tribal fusion technique, performance artistry, and therapeutics.
Deb received her foundation in Tribal Fusion from 5 years as a member of DjunDjun and then UltraGypsy BellyDance Theater, under the direction of Jill Parker, known by many as the mamma of tribal fusion, and–with much gratitude–by Deb as the inspiration who started her on this path. She was a regular sub for Jill’s classes until Fall 2007. Deb’s dance technique and stylization is most influenced by inspiration from her long-time teacher, Rachel Brice, whom she had the honor to assist at Tribal Massive, 2008, and has so much gratitude for her guidance on this path, both in and out of the studio. A product of the SF dance community, during the boom and global expansion of tribal fusion, Deb is honored to have studied intensively, over a 5-10 year time span, with many of the masters and innovators of this genre. She draws from all of her long term intensive studies with: Mardi Love, Zoe Jakes, Mira Betz, Kami Liddle, Carolena Nerricio & Fat Chance Belly Dance, Cera Byer, Amy Sigil, and Suhaila and Jamila Salimpour, as well as modern, ballet, jazz, and contact improvization. She is level 1 certified in Suhaila Salimpour’s method.
A holistic health counselor, yoga teacher, and integrative bodyworker, Deb’s private practice specializes in women’s health and injury rehab for dancers. She is most influenced by her Yoga studies with IYT, Shiva Rae, Gary Kraftsow, AcroYoga, Darshana Weil, and Rachel Brice, her Thai-Yoga Massage studies in the hilltribes of Northern Thailand under the lineage of Asokananda, and her vision quest experiences in the Northern California desert. She has a B.A in psychology and pre-med from Princeton University,and an MA in holistic health education from JFK University. Deb received her Massage Therapy Certifications through the San Francisco School of Massage, and Sunshine Network in Thailand. For over a decade, she has worked as a massage therapist in affiliation with chiropractic offices, integrative medicine centers, and/or private practice. She developed the curriculum for and taught the very first Thai-Massage course at McKinnon Massage School, in Oakland, CA, in 2007-8. Her writings are published in Yoga Journal , and FUSE magazines.
Deb was coined “The Best Kept Secret in Tribal” by FUSE magazine, Winter 2011. She is currently working on a DVD of her unique Dance Therapeutics Material. With 15 years experience working in the field of mind/body medicine, and 30+years in dedicated study and performance of dance, her focus in 2012 is to be a bridge between those two areas, bringing a keen, integrative approach to the study and embodiment of this evolving art form, while still maintaining the high level of training and artistry that our art form inspires.
An improvisation workshop for dancers of all levels to explore dance as a language of the artist’s self and nourishment for the body. Using themes of elements, transition, change, and planetary shifts, we will explore movement in its formal sculptural elements as well as using meditation, group-work, and solo journeying (dancers will not be asked to dance in front of an audience) to get in contact with the movement body that each of us carry. Our work will be developing the mental focus of the dancer firmly planted in the two realms of physical and non-physical. A great workshop for fire circle preparation, or just for a chance to tune into one’s essence of the land we gather upon. INTENSIVE-$45 Friday 4-5:50pm
Sera Solstice is an international Bellydance Artist, based in New York City, known for creating the East Coast Tribal bellydance style, characterized by Lunar and Solar movement categories, which use extensive full-body movement, intense multi-layer hipwork within pop’n lock elements, tied together by deep emotive power and story-telling flow. Sera is the founder and director of Solstice Studio: a Bellydance
Studio in New York City, with over 300 active participants using Bellydance as a means for building self-empowerment, expression, and creativity. Sera is director and
choreographer of the dance troupe Solstice Ensemble, and The Solstice Project, as well as two student companies, the Lunar and Solar tribes. Sera has produced and directed dozens of dance events in New York, in the theater and in night clubs.
Sera has created 5 full-length instructional DVDs on East Coast
Tribal Bellydance, (produced by World Dance New York) including 1) East Coast Tribal, 2) Foundations of Bellydance 3) Solar Bellydance 4) Lunar Bellydance, 5) Goddess Dance: Prenatal Bellydance and Meditation. And is featured in the DVD series: Gothic Bellydance: Revelations and Fantasy Bellydance: Mystery.
Sera’s Choreography has been described as “complex, content-rich, sublime, haunting, psychedelic, technically superb, at the forefront of evolution of bellydance as an artform. Sera is frequently a featured dancer with bands: Raquy and the Cavemen,
Djinn, Copal, Beatbox Guitar, and the Rhythm Shamans. Sera is fed artistically from underground electronic music culture. Sera has a passion for electronic music, but also enjoys earthy, acoustic elements
Sera seeks to open the doorway between non-physical self, and the
physical self via movement. She seeks to expand consciousness through
movement, and to use dance as a method for inward journey, creating a
marriage between the physical and non-physical. Sera has chosen
Bellydance as her primary medium for movement because it is the most
inward dance she has discovered. Sera believes that some movements of
Bellydance open a doorway to an ancient lineage of women and wisdom,
whereby a dancer may connect if she is dancing in a trance-state.
Sera has danced her way through two pregnancies (and other
life-changing circumstances) with support from this spiritual lineage,
and believes that her choreographies draw forth from this same source.
Sera has participated in American Fire Circle culture for nearly 2
decades and has bellydanced her way through countless rituals and
all-night drum-circles, and therein has developed her dance as a
sacred movement form. In 2005, Sera was invited to
India to teach movement as a form of healing and empowerment for young
women who had been rescued from sexual abuse and other oppressive circumstances.
Sera was a full-time Sculptor upon discovery of Bellydance, and has transferred from her medium of clay and metal into the body moving through space. Although she challenges dancers to find deeper expression in their movements, Sera is known for her hard-driving, highly technical classes. She believes one must first
master their tool-set before putting it to use. Sera is a former core
member of 3 internationally acclaimed dance companies: Bellyqueen, The
Silk Road Dance Company, and Raqs Sahara. Sera’s foundation of
technique, form, and discipline was by means of her formal
apprenticeship with Rachel Kay Brookmire (of DC’s Sahara Dance) Rachel Kay Brookmire.
Under the Influence: Sunday 12pm
This workshop will explore the intoxication that comes from drinking the wine of a different tavern. It is an introduction to Sema, the ritual ‘dance’ of the Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes, whose inspiration comes from Persian mystic philosopher and poet Mevlana Jalal ad-Din Rumi. It will focus on whirling as active meditation and include history, Sufi poetry and music, as well as unique exercises and tips against dizziness. Requirements: passion, patience, a pillow or mat, relaxed clothing and good socks. Open your arms if you want to be held.
Tawhida Tanya Evanson has over a decade of study under Turkish Rifa’i Marufi Sheikh Sherif Baba Catalkaya and Open Secret Semazenbashi/Teacher Raqib Brian Burke. She has performed and taught across Europe, Turkey, Japan, Canada and the U.S. as part of the Vancouver Rumi Society (Canada) and music groups Mercan Dede (Turkey) and Niyaz (Iran-Canada). She is also a poet, performer, arts organizer and educator. www.mothertonguemedia.com
photo credit: Temmuz Arsiray, Istanbul 2008
Truth Now is an MC, Writer, Bandleader, Event Producer and Empowerment Specialist from New York. He creates through art and direct action. Quite the troubadour, Truth has performed at international music festivals such as Secret Garden Party (UK), Mystic Island (Maui) and Cosmic Convergence (Guatemaya). Embracing the principles of unity, sovereignty, love and sustainability, Truth is feeding the fire that burns in his heart to liberate all beings.
A longtime student of spiritual practice and musical magic, Adam Bauer is an emerging presence in the chanting, yoga and creative arts space. His first solo record, is Shyam Lila. Adam began practicing hatha yoga in 1986, and co-founded reggae-rock pioneers The Equalites in 1987.
A kirtan musician for the past twelve years, Adam played bass with Krishna Das from 2001 to 2008, and with Shyamdas from 2005 until his untimely passing in 2013. He has performed at hundreds of gatherings over the years, sharing stages with Ram Dass, Jai Uttal, Deva Premal and Radhanath Swami, among many others. He has played bass at Bhakti Fest and at every Omega Ecstatic Chant since its inception in 2004 (except for that lost week at Burning Man in 2006), and has accompanied esteemed singers like Gaura Vani, Brenda McMorrow, Karnamrita Dasi, David Newman, Daniel Paul and Gina Sala, to name just a few.
Now accompanying himself on harmonium singing his own original kirtan compositions, Adam has led kirtan at world-class venues like Omega Institute, BhaktiFest and the Wanderlust Festival and at more humble gatherings in Canada, India and across the US. Through bhakti yoga, the community practice of kirtan and satsang, Adam continues his own journey of healing and transformation, offering a unique voice and perspective through these simple yet powerful ancient devotional practices.
Additionally, Adam has a unique online store, Dharma Boutique, filled with sacred and sensual treasures collected on his travels in India. www.dharmaboutique.com
Bhakti Dojo is a Brooklyn-based kirtan group hosted by Srikala and Jesse Johnson. We lead an open kirtan practice every Sundayafternoon at our home in Brooklyn, where we chant the holy names and share stories and poems from the ancient mystics. “Bhakti” describes the qualities of devotion, surrender and divine love. “Dojo” is a place for practice and discipline. Bhakti Dojo’s mission is to spread the joys and blessings of the holy name and offer support for the life transformations that come along with regular practice. We are storytellers and musicians, dancers and poets, teachers and servants, and we offer all this service in love.