Thursday’s show at Portland’s Space is a prime example of how the venue offers unique performances out of the ordinary.
Called “Riffs and Lullabies,” the piece was a collaboration between a Portland-based pianist and animator/videographer that had been in the works for many years.
Cincinnati-born pianist Kafari (Ahmad Muhammad) will present a collection of new songs from his upcoming album, composed especially for the show, on a two-tiered instrument he calls the Junopiano (bottom piano, top piano). I play it on a Roland Juno keyboard). At the same time, his Dr. Scribbz (Jay Brown), an animator and videographer, will bring his work to the stage.
Muhammad and Brown know each other as Muhammad was a member of the electronic band Jaw Gems from 2009 to 2018. Brown made several videos for the band, including the jaw-dropping “Starvisor,” which was released nearly ten years ago. Muhammad is a big fan of Brown’s work, and the two remain friends and collaborators.
For the past three years, they’ve shared music and film clips while working on the “Riffs and Lullabies” show.
Funding for this performance came from Space’s Sonic Vision Fund a few months ago. The $2,500 he was awarded four prizes for what Space describes as “unparalleled visionary multimedia performance, collaborative art-making and communal experience.”
The show shares its name with two Muhammad albums, the first of which was released in 2015. II’ will be released in the fall, and on Thursday’s show he plans to include a few songs from it.
Recorded over a period of five years using a Sony digital voice recorder, this album of piano and keyboard, plus a touch of guitar and ambient sounds, feels like you’re in the same room as him, and you can probably hear the kicks. I feel like I am being held. Go back to the dimly lit couch. Tracks such as “Afterhours” and “Sparks” are graceful and warm, but at the same time tender and evocative.
“Riffs and Lullabies Vol. II” is not background music, but it helps you spend some quiet time alone. These songs slipped into my ears, swirled, pollinated my senses with a sense of peace and protection from harm.
In addition to tracks from ‘Vol.
In addition, Wayne-based singer-songwriter Lisa/Liza (Liza Miller) with a dreamy and experimental sound will also perform. Muhammad said of her: Her genuine, her heartfelt and original performance leaves me more vulnerable. “
In the afternoon of the Space Show, Muhammad and banjo player/songwriter CRYS will lead a workshop on the Irish percussion instrument Rhythm Bone. A presentation on the history of bones will be followed by the basics of their preservation and regeneration. Workshops are open to all and bones can be borrowed for sessions.
Muhammad said he first noticed Rhythmbone when he saw Carolina Chocolate Drops at the 2014 Bonnaroo Music Festival. I keep doing it. Space He can be heard during the show.
Even if you don’t go to space, you can regularly catch Muhammad at The Jewel Box in Portland. He’s been doing Monday residencies (7:30pm-midnight) since his 2019 (apart from shutdowns due to the pandemic). These shows are a big part of his overall goals.
“My purpose on Earth is to want to create magical performances and see how far I can go with that,” he said.
Kafari and Dr. Scribbz Release “Riffs and Lullabies” with Lisa/Liza
8 p.m. Thursday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress Street, Portland, $12 advance, $15 door. space538.org.
rhythm bone workshop
3:30 p.m. Thursday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress Street, Portland, free to $25. space538.org.
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