The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum continues the 34th season of its Wednesday Folk Traditions concert series on July 15, 2015, with a performance from Impulse Ensemble, a red-hot free-flowing fusion of world music, jazz and spoken word, with virtuoso skill on balafon, gongs, laoutar, and electric violin. This and all other Wednesday Folk Traditions performances are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. in the Sunken Garden at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley, MA 01035. General admission is $12, or $2 for children 16 and under. Picnickers are welcome on the museum grounds beginning at 5:00 pm. The Museum and its grounds is a smoke free site.
Playing with an infectious rhythmic energy, Impulse Ensemble brings together expressive percussion with soulful instrumentation in a dynamic musical trio. Impulse Ensemble includes Tony Vacca, Derrik Jordan, and Jim Matus, who share an interest in the converging traditions and innovations that are constantly redefining what it means to be an American musician. Passionate and mesmerizing performers, they are equally at home in written composition or in free-form improvisation. As individual musicians they have each produced many recordings of their own music, but as Impulse Ensemble their respective strengths collide to create a heart-pounding, toe-tapping, forceful sound.
Bringing his skills on balafon, gongs, percussion, and spoken word to Impulse Ensemble, Tony Vacca is an innovative composer and producer who has recorded and performed with a wide range of musicians, from pop icon Sting to Senegalese Afro-pop star Baaba Maal. His fourteen trips to West Africa have informed his unique approach to playing the balafon, a type of wooden xylophone, expanding his knowledge about African and American musical traditions. Using giant West African balafons, over twenty incredible Paiste gongs, djembe, djun-djun, talking drums, and an outrageous percussion drumset, Tony Vacca has created a signature blend of rhythm, word, and drum.
Jamming on electric violin, percussion, and vocals is Derrik Jordan, an award-winning composer and singer-songwriter, producer, and recording artist. In his journey to hone his craft he has traveled to Brazil, Trinidad, Ghana, and Senegal. He has produced jazz, spoken word, Native American, children’s, and award-winning folk recordings, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra commissioned him to write a piece for their 2009 “Made In Vermont” Fall Festival Tour. Jordan seeks to establish a spiritual connection with his listeners; “creating live music,” he comments, “is a sacred trust. That moment of ecstatic communion when performer and audience become one is one of life’s greatest experiences.”
Rounding out the group is vocalist and electric laoutar player Jim Matus. A composer, band leader, arranger, guitarist, teacher, and studio engineer, Matus attended Berkelee College of Music, and has performed all over New England. Specializing in progressive world fusion and improvisatory music, Matus has electrified and re-worked the Middle-Eastern lute into something all his own. Simultaneously bold and unassuming, Matus’s innovations produce a sound you simply have to hear to believe.
For more information, visit Impulse Ensemble's website.