Alain-Philippe Durand


July 16

The Klezmopolitans play Yiddish, Jewish and Israeli music

The Klezmopolitans will present a collection of Yiddish folk and pop songs, Jewish jazz standards, Israeli songs, waltzes and classic klezmer songs such as "Tumbalalaika," "Reb Dovidl" and "Hava Nagila" during a performance that begins at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Arizona Senior Academy.

Klezmer music is derived from the musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. It is essentially dance music influenced by Romanian folk songs with Greek, Ukranian and Turkish overtones. The Romanian influence is strong, imitating the human voice, especially laughing and sobbing. Its origins were Jewish celebrations, mainly weddings, in Eastern Europe, but composers such as Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland were influenced by the klezmeric forms and traditions, as was Gustav Mahler.

The Klezmopolitans began in 1984 as The Borderlands Klezmer Band and segued into the new name because of the cosmopolitan nature of the music the band plays. Although the group continues to concentrate on klezmer and Jewish music, it also now includes jazz standards, classical, Eastern European and gypsy music.

Founding member Jay Vosk, clarinet, triples on flute and alto sax as well. He is associate professor in music theory at Pima Community College with a bachelor of music degree in composition from the Eastman School and a master of music degree from the University of Michigan.

Guitarist Matt Mitchell has received many awards and recognitions, including the Tucson Jazz Society's Young Artist Award in 1995 and top standing in its Traditional Jazz Category in 2000.

Jeff Holsen, double bass, is assistant principal bass with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, having graduated in double bass performance from the University of Arizona. His experience with Eastern European music began as a member of Orchestra Stari Grad in Milwaukee. He also performs on the cimbalom, a large hammered dulcimer commonly found in Eastern European gypsy bands.

Violinist Michael Fan is one of Tucson's busiest violinists. He is a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as well as the Tucson Symphony Piano Trio. He serves as concertmaster of the Tucson Pops Orchestra and is well known throughout the Tucson educational community for his original musicals for children.

July 18

Professor to discuss aspects of hip-hop

Hip-hop culture includes many forms of expression - rap music, dance, graffiti art, slam poetry, fashion and film. Beginning in the South Bronx in the 1970s as a combination of neighborhood rhymes and rhythms, it developed in the 1980s as a voice for social commentary on life in the inner cities.

Today some feel hip-hop in the U.S. lost its initial element of social consciousness as it grew into a multi-billion-dollar industry of music and images often criticized as glorifying drugs, violence, money and misogyny.

While colleges and universities including Harvard, Cornell and Stanford have offered classes on elements of hip-hop, in 2012 the University of Arizona announced the country's first degree designation: the hip-hop concentration in the College of Humanities' minor in Africana Studies. The announcement was reported by major media across the U.S. and overseas. Some welcomed the program as a legitimization of an important cultural movement; others deemed it unworthy of serious academic interest.

UA Professor Alain-Philippe Durand, Ph.D., director of Africana Studies at the UA and author of "Black, Blanc, Beur: Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World," will be at Academy Village Thursday to talk about this worldwide cultural phenomenon.

Interviewed at a UA symposium in February, "Poetics and Politics of Hip-Hop Cultures," Durand discussed the importance of including hip-hop as a university program: "Hip-hop is just like any of the other areas of study," he said, emphasizing that hip-hop has shaped local, national, regional and global issues. "Hip-hop culture has become an all-pervasive key component to contemporary American society, culture and identity which warrants serious academic inquiry."

Before coming to the University of Arizona in 2010, Durand was professor of French, English and film media, and head of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Rhode Island, where he became interested in hip-hop culture. One of his favorite artists is Dr. Dre.

About Academy Village

• Events are held in the Great Room of the Arizona Senior Academy Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center, 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

• Nonresidents who want to ensure priority seating can make reservations by emailing or calling 647-0980.

• To learn more about the academy, go to online.

• Visitors can buy lunch at the Academy Cafe across the courtyard from the Arizona Senior Academy Building. The cafe is open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Prices range from $4.50 to $9.50. For more information call the cafe at 647-0903.

• Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

Donald J. Behnke Glenda Tonkin