Ektah: The Unity Project

The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble joins forces with Brazilian-born pianist and composer Jasnam Daya Singh to premiere a new suite of music by this dynamic musician. This new music explores the idea that “unity is not a luxury or something we concern ourselves with when everything else is taken care of. Rather, I want to think of this word and concept, Unity, as possibly one of the most needed things in our existence.” Join us at the Montavilla Jazz Festival for the performance of what is sure to be an incredible body of new music!

From the composer: Every time I start working on a new composition, even before I put down the first note, I try and connect with a concept, an idea, a feeling ,or even just a word.

Once that connection is established the music seems to flow effortlessly. The word that came to me and inspired the direction of the new work commissioned to me by the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble is “unity”. When we, artists, set out to share our ideas and feelings, that is often times associated with events taking place around us and before we know it our artistic intentions are being informed by all that seems relevant to us at the time.

Well, unity is a concept of the utmost importance always but specially more so right now. I want, with this piece, to bring to the forefront the beauty that exists in being connected to all, as if to remind ourselves that unity is not a luxury or something we concern ourselves with when everything else is taken care of. Rather, I want to think of this word and concept, Unity, as possibly one of the most needed things in our existence. Ektah- The Unity Project is a suite of pieces that celebrates diversity and coming together no matter where we’re from or look like.

About Jasnam Daya Singh:

Born Weber Ribeiro Drummond in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil on February 17th 1962. It wasn’t until mid 90’s that Weber adopted the stage name Weber Iago as a homage to the Roma People, also known as Gypsies. Since taken Amrit ( initiation in the Sikh Religion)  in 2013, Iago has adopted the name Jasnam Daya Singh.

Jasnam has spent all of his musical life researching different types of sounds, ultimately dedicating most of his endeavors to uniting elements of Classical, Jazz and Brazilian Music.

In Brazil, Jasnam spent years developing his craft as a concert pianist as well as a composer, writing mostly piano and chamber music works.

In the early 80’s he began developing a strong interest in Jazz which prompted his move to the U.S., more precisely Los Angeles, in 1987.

Once in the U.S. Jasnam began working with notable musicians such as Moacir Santos, one of Brazil’s greatest composer and arranger.

In 1989, Jasnam had the opportunity to record with great flautist James Newton.

In 1990, he moved to the Monterey Peninsula where he resided until the end of 2008 when he moved to Vancouver, Washington . During the time he spent in the Monterey Peninsula  he formed different ensembles over the years. The most important in his career was the sextet Zen-Blend in 1991, which was ,then, categorized as Esoteric Jazz.

Also in the 90’s Jasnam (still under the name Weber Drummond) recorded two CDs with great Brazilian guitar player Romero Lubambo. Those titles are “Face to Face” and “TWO”.

Jasnam Daya Singh has participated as a pianist and band-leader in Jazz festivals all over the world: Brazil, Mexico, U.S.A. , France, Belgium , Japan , China and South Korea, to name a few, as well as shows and interviews in the most important  Jazz radio stations in the country such as KRML in Carmel and  KCSM in San Mateo, both in California. Jasnam has also performed extensively as a solo artist and sideman in Italy, Luxembourg, Italy, New York, Japan and Czech Republic.

Jasnam Daya Singh has released several CDs over the years, like “Children of the Wind” with Adventure Music and “Spring Will Stay Here” with Mogno Music.

Since 1991 Jasnam has made constant appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival ,  among those are  the one  in 2005 with the Carla Bley Big Band, which featured Carla, herself , Steve Swallow and Billy Drummond and 2010 as part of the Hristo Vitchev Quartet. Great guitarist and composer.

Jasnam Daya Singh has recorded and performed with great Jazz luminaries such as Paul McCandless, Ali Ryerson, Kenny Stahl, Claudia Villela ,  Charles Loos, Marcia Maria, Alex Acuna and Alphonso Johnson.

At the end of 2005  Daya Singh was commissioned by the Carmel Bach Festival to write a composition uniting different musical genres such as Classical and Jazz. The result, Jazz Concertino for Piano and String Orchestra was premiered on July 9th of 2006 in Monterey, California.

Jasnam  is also an experienced educator. In that role he travels constantly to give clinics and workshops in different parts of the globe. Some of these events have been Jazz Camp West,  California Brasil Camp , Stage de Musique Bresilienne in Brussels ( Belgium) . He is also in the faculty of the renowned The Jazz School in Berkeley, California.

Jasnam has written Music for theatre plays such as “Bar Lies” by Ana Luca and arranged songs for “Kepler’s Project” by Nina Wise. For Ana Luca Iago has also composed an original score to accompany her novel “ Letters to a Love Unsung”.

As a producer Jasnam has recently accomplished the project titled “Caminhos Cruzados” , a CD by the Russian-American vocalist Masha Campagne.

Over the years Jasnam Daya Singh has received countless commissions by different artists as well as musical institutions, such as Hidden Valley Music Seminars which commissioned him “Children of the Wind “ in 1997 and “Songs and Dances “ in 2007 , the latter, a piece for voice, piano, flute solo and flute choir, featuring Claudia Villela on voice and Keith Underwood , flute.

Also in 2007 he was commissioned by the Vento Trio to write a piece for them. The piece “Que bons ventos te trazem” was premiered early that year and was sponsored by the American Composer Forum under the umbrella of the program titled Encore.

In 2009 , Jasnam Daya Singh’s CD ( still as Weber Iago ) in duo with Jovino Santos Neto , received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Album.

Jasnam’s current projects is the band SEVA which he co-leads with great guitarist/composer from Bulgaria, Hristo Vitchev and features world class musicians such as Dan Robbins on Bass and Mike Shannon on Drums.

Currently Jasnam Daya Singh works extensively as a  performer, composer and arranger.

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