Innovative Song Cycle Explores Spirituality, Nature, and Gardening

New York City based cellist, vocalist and composer Jody Redhage and her band Fire in July will perform at Boston’s Kaji Aso Studio on Friday, July 23, 2010 at 8 pm. Admission is $10. Kaji Aso Studio is located at 40 Saint Stephen Street in Boston, MA. Phone is (617) 247-1719.

Fire in July is comprised of Jody Redhage, voice & cello; Daisy Press, voice; Alan Ferber, trombone; and Tom Beckham, vibraphone. At this concert, the band will premiere Redhage’s new song cycle “The Spirit of the Garden,” using poetry that explores the nexus of spirituality and nature. The lyrics are from poets from all over the world: French, Japanese, American, and middle eastern–all different traditions that celebrate gardens as an artistic medium and a source for spiritual reflection and inspiration. Kaji Aso Studio itself has been a large source of inspiration behind the song cycle, as Fire in July performed at the Studio in July 2009 and became familiarized with the art institute’s philosophy and worldview. The Studio’s mission statement includes the statement, “The value of nature is stressed as an inspirational and endless source of material” and “Art does not come from art…art comes from life.” The evening offers audience members a chance to experience nature’s inspiration as expressed through music, poetry, the visual arts (painting and watercolor) and through gardening. Before and after the concert the audience is invited to visit Kaji Aso’s own Japanese garden behind the studio and view the paintings and watercolors in the studio’s galleries. Several of the studio’s experts on Haiku will be in attendance and available to discuss their creative processes with the audience.

Called an “adventurous cello songstress” by Time Out NY, cellist, composer, and vocalist Jody Redhage is “a new music dynamo…Redhage is cultivating a repertoire of indie art song that breaches genre boundaries and makes for stirring listening” (MusicWorks Magazine). Redhage has spent the past eight years developing the ability to simultaneously sing and play rhythmically complex and intricate lines. Her passion is setting 20th and 21st century American poetry into art song, and she principally composes for her ensemble Fire in July. Redhage’s compositions meld the detail and finesse of chamber music with the energy and drive of jazz improvisation and more popular genres. With tinges of Medieval chanson and hints of Kurt Weill, Redhage creates a captivating blend of genres that simply comes across as her own unique voice.

Fire in July released their debut album Ancient Star on Sept. 15, 2009. Ancient Star has been called “a real accomplishment, refreshing and enjoyable, music that is exploring and pioneering a new style and doing so with real thought and skill” – George Grella, The Big City. Having begun composing at age 19, Jody studied composition at the University of California Berkeley and cello performance at the Manhattan School of Music. In New York, Jody continued her composition studies with Bang on a Can founder Julia Wolfe. Redhage has performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, and on NBC, CBS, and ABC. Redhage’s original compositions have also been featured on several NPR stations across the country, including a recent feature of songs from “Ancient Star” on WNYC’s Spinning on Air.