Drumming Goes Global at UAF

Arctic Region Supercomputing Center March 23, 2004

Drumming Goes Global at UAF

What do you get when you combine the talents of a master percussionist with the technical savvy of Arctic Region Supercomputing Center staff? Drumming heard around the world, of course!

On Thursday, March 25, Valerie Naranjo, percussionist for the Saturday Night Live Band and Broadway’s “The Lion King” will conduct an interactive workshop while participants from around the globe tune in from their home sites to simultaneously learn, listen and share drumming expertise.

The workshop will be held over ARSC’s Access Grid Node (AGN). The AGN allows for simultaneous video and sound communication between remote sites via high-bandwidth networking. Sites equipped with an AGN can log on and participate in conferences, meetings or other events. Participants can share audio and visual feeds as well as exchange data or present information from their personal computers. Already, ten sites from around the world have signed up to participate in the drumming event, which will take place live in the Regents Conference Room on the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) campus at 9 AM Alaska Standard Time.

The project started when UAF Percussion Professor Scott Deal invited Naranjo to conduct a week-long residency in Fairbanks. The residency was made possible through a joint effort between UAF and the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, with a grant from Conoco Phillips. Deal has already been involved with the AGN through the “Art on the Grid” program, an experiment in which artists share and create art over the grid. In addition to providing the program over the AGN, several local school groups will participate in the workshop.

"Valerie's workshop is but another example of how Internet technology is negating geography and distance as an obstacle to doing meaningful work with interesting people around the world, no matter where they live,” says Deal. “Now, what you are doing is more important than where you are doing it."

About the Artist:

In addition to playing percussion and arranging music for the Saturday Night Live Band, Valerie Naranjo has recorded and performed with The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, Tori Amos, Selena, Airto, and the international percussion ensemble, Megadrums, which includes Milton Cardona, Zakir Hussein, and Glen Velez. Naranjo performs with and arranged for the five percussionists in Julie Taymor's “The Lion King.” Other performances in theater include: New York and international productions of Julie Taymor/Elliot Goldenthal's “The Tempest” and Juan Darien, and Thuli Dumakude's “Buya Afrika,” which traveled from Off-Broadway to Johannesburg, South Africa's Civic Theatre.

CONTACT: Jenn Wagaman, ARSC Public Affairs Coordinator, (907) 450-8662 or (907)322-2537, wagaman@arsc.edu . ARSC news releases are also available on the Web at http://www.arsc.edu/ For more information about the AGN, visit http://www.accessgrid.org .

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