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  • WDCH
  • May. 24, 2007
  • Pravda Features Special Appearance by
    Ten-Piece Theremin Orchestra


    PRAVDA: SATURDAY, MAY 26, 10 PM - 3 AM

    Media Sponsor: KCRW

    On Thursday, May 24 and Saturday, May 26, Walt Disney Concert Hall hosts two unprecedented events that explore the influence of political oppression on artistic expression during the Stalin era. These two contemporary programs are presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as part of Shadow of Stalin, a series of programs that examine the effects of government decisions on creativity.

    Denver-based indie-gypsy-folk group DeVotchka performs on Thursday, May 24, at 8 p.m. in a program that explores Russian Chanson, an anti-folk musical movement with its roots in injustice and disappointment in Russian life. DeVotchka's instrumentation includes guitar, bouzouki, piano, trumpet, violin, accordion, piano, sousaphone, double bass, theremin and percussion. They perform original material in the style and spirit of Russian chanson, as well as original songs written by great chanson songwriters. Saul Williams, a leader of the spoken word/slam poetry movement, and star of Slam, winner of the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, also performs. Special guest to be added.

    On Saturday, May 26, from 10 p.m. - 3 a.m., a line-up of DJs, VJs, artists and musicians converge at Walt Disney Concert Hall for PRAVDA - a progressive exploration of the sounds, sights, and philosophies of the Stalin era. Amon Tobin, Cut Chemist, DJ Spooky, J-Rocc, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Mumbles with special guests dublab soundsystem, collaborate to remix the music of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Mosolov, complemented by improvised visuals from iconic Russian films, painting live onstage by Norton Wisdom, and mobile video projection produced by MC This. Film footage from Battleship Potemkin, Alexander Nevsky, The Cranes are Flying, and Soy Cuba, as well as rare clips from Russian documentaries, interviews, and propaganda films give a historical reference point against modern interpretations of Russian culture. Additional special guest artists to be announced.

    At midnight, Christoph Bull gives a special dramatic organ performance, and for the first time since Leon Theremin conducted the original ten Theremin Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1932, the concert is recreated with ten theremin players on the stage at Walt Disney Concert Hall. In celebration of the birthdate of the late Robert Moog, pioneer of this electronic instrument, the evening also features a special tribute to Moog, whose company is the leading manufacturer of theremins today.

    Pravda also invites guests to experience Russian culture from different perspectives throughout Walt Disney Concert Hall. Lobby walls and white spaces display custom-created images; music is broadcast outside the main auditorium; and BP Hall becomes a multimedia discoteka for non-stop dancing into the late hours of the night.

    The Shadow of Stalin series runs from May 8 - May 19 and features performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as film screenings and symposia that examine the artistry born in the shadow of Communist oppression.

    For a complete listing of Shadow of Stalin events, please visit:

    CHRISTOPH BULL, master of the pipe-organ, has showcased the many facets of the pipe-organ and other keyboards, ranging stylistically from traditional organ repertoire to original arrangements of popular and film music during his prestigious career. Born in Mannhiem, Germany, Christoph has been improvising on the piano from the early age of five and continuously studying his craft at such places as University of Church Music Heidelberg, Freiburg Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, University of Southern California and American Conservatory of Music. Christoph has recorded for Bootsy Collins and performed with George Clinton of Parliament Funkadelic; he has consulted for Harry Connick Jr.'s Christmas Album and Steven Spielberg's movie Minority Report. Christoph has also been the featured recitalist and workshop presenter at the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists and has performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angles as a solo performer and with the L.A. Master Choral. He has also performed with the Pacific Serenades and Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music.

    CUT CHEMIST met future Jurassic 5 MCs Chali 2na and Mark 7 at a park jam in Silverlake, while attending an arts-based high school in the center of Los Angeles. The three were part of a group called U.N.I.T.Y. Committee, which made its cassette debut in 1991 and played at shows with Tupac Shakur, among others. Cut Chemist's first original production came on "Lesson 6" from the Jurassic 5 EP: A cheeky head-nod to the pioneering sample-based cut-ups of Steinski & Double Dee (who first gained attention in the early '80s via record called The Lessons). Cut Chemist spent 12 years as a DJ and producer for LA hip-hop dynamos Jurassic 5, five years playing the turntables backing up the Grammy-winning group Ozomatli, and several years releasing highly bootlegged mixtapes. Throughout it all, he's found the time to helm recurring club nights in Los Angeles. Cut Chemist's debut album for Warner Bros., The Audience's Listening (2006) finds him back at the root of his DJ self while leaping into new sonic territory with Brazilian, rock, Eastern European and many other influences. The Audience's Listening is a product of a Los Angeles native who's lived in the bustling metropolis for all of his 33 years. It's what's shaped both his sound and diverse outlook.

    DEVOTCHKA have quietly become one of the most celebrated bands making music today. They are a union of Eastern European, Southwestern, South American, and American roots music, both punk and folk. Behind three records, SuperMelodrama (2000), Una Volta (2003), and How it ends (2004), DeVotchKa began touring as a house band for a Burlesque troupe. Since then, DeVotchKa has traversed the continent with a wide range of artists including Belle & Sebastian, M.Ward, Calexico, 16 Horsepower, Los Lobos, Jim White, and the Dresden Dolls. The release of How it ends introduced the country to what a burgeoning national audience had been following for four years. Nationwide sold out shows followed as the band continued to convert with their soaring and beautiful live road show. The Curse Your Little Heart EP (2006) reinterprets tracks by the Velvet Underground, Frank Sinatra, Siousxie and the Banshees, and others, in addition to one of their own songs. DeVotchKa also produced the score for the Academy-Award nominated Little Miss Sunshine. DeVotchKa is: Nick Urata - vocals, theremin, guitars, piano, trumpet; Tom Hagerman - violin, accordion, piano; Shawn King - drums, percussion, trumpet; Jeannie Schroder - sousaphone, upright bass, vocals.

    Founder of the world famous Beat Junkies and world champion turntablist J-ROCC continues to invent musical styles that display his creative expertise. Highly recognized for his funky showcases and original arrangements, J. Rocc has clearly distinguished his place in music history. J. Rocc has shared the stage with Hip-Hop phenomenons Talib Kwali and Mos Def, as well as Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, MC Supernatural, and the Beat Junkie crew on the heavily documented tour entitled Word of Mouth. J. Rocc's individual discography includes numerous innovations that continue to gain global recognition. Live at the Sex Machine highlights J. Rocc's skilled application of the group's signature "Beat Junkie Style," in which he precisely blends the musical genres of breaks, hip-hop and reggae. Sex Machine Today demonstrates his original style of producing illustrious musical arrangements stemming from diversified realms. The first Beat Junkie album entitled Classic Material, features innovative tracks produced and performed by the Beat Junkie artists between the years of 1995 - 2000. A collaboration with fellow Beat Junkie member Babu, known as the Bumrush Brothers, resulted in two masterworks entitled Gold Chain Music featuring Planet Asia and Evidence (Beat Junkie Sound), and "X-ecution of a Bumrush", a track from the X-ecutioners' album entitled Built from Scratch. In 2001, J. Rocc released Syndromes Remix, which hit record stores throughout the world and received international praise. J-Rocc is currently working on an album for Stones Throw Records.

    dublab soundsystem is a collective of the planet's most progressive music selectors. dublab sessions cross genres and defy classification. Each DJ digs deep to find rare gems. Their mission is to share beautiful music with wide open ears. Whether dublab is bringing dance floors to a boil, exploring magic experimentalism, or spinning eclectic sets, lucky listeners will absorb all shades of future roots sounds.

    MC THIS is a self-contained multimedia performance artist. From a patent-pending mobile video projection unit, MC This projects customized visuals on almost any available surface. MC This is the only artist in the world who has brought visual projection from the interior to the streets, rooftops, forests and deserts in one step. He can project live images from 4 or more video sources, mix them, add effects, and project them anywhere he goes.

    PAUL D. MILLER (DJ SPOOKY) is a conceptual artist, writer, and musician. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum, Raygun, Rap Pages, Paper Magazine, and other periodicals. Miller's work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture (year 2000); the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and more. His 2004 solo show at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, Path Is Prologue, echoed his live music/theater/film performance, DJ Spooky's Rebirth of A Nation, which ran simultaneously at the Lincoln Center Festival. Miller is well known as "DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid". He has recorded a huge volume of music and collaborated with artists such as Iannis Xenakis, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Butch Morris, Kool Keith a.k.a. Doctor Octagon, Pierre Boulez, Killa Priest from Wu-Tang Clan, Steve Reich, Yoko Ono and Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth among many others. He composed and recorded the music score for the Cannes and Sundance Award winning film Slam, starring critically acclaimed poet Saul Williams. In 2006, Miller was given access to the vaults of the classic reggae label Trojan Records, resulting in his landmark compilation release In Fine Style, DJ Spooky Presents 50,0000 Volts of Trojan Records!!! on Sanctuary Records. Prior to that CD, Miller's most recently released Drums of Death, featured Dave Lombardo of Slayer, Chuck D. of Public Enemy, Vernon Reid of Living Color, and Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto. Other recent albums include Optometry (2002), a jazz project featuring Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe Mcphee, Carl Hancock Rux, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and High Priest from Anti-Pop Consortium; Dubtometry (2003), a dub remix of the same, featuring Lee "Scratch" Perry and Mad Professor; and Riddim Clash (2004), a collaboration with Twilight Dub Sound System.

    MUMBLES (aka Matthew Fowler) was raised in a family of professional jazz musicians and developed an ear for jazz and hip-hop music from an early age. Being raised in such a diverse and musically stimulating environment, Mumbles tuned his ear early on to the complexity of rhythm, melody and harmony. After being inspired by the production and record collections of older brother Marvksi and Cut Chemist, who had together formed the influential rap group Unity Committee (of Jurassic 5), Mumbles embarked on his own mission of record digging, sampling, and beat re-construction. In 1994, Mumbles met Aceyalone and two tracks that appeared on Acey's first solo release All Balls Don't Bounce on Capitol Records. In 1997, two of Mumbles' tracks appeared on Ubiquity's release Audio Alchemy. In 1998, Aceyalone and Mumbles collaborated on the full length album, A Book of Human Language, widely acclaimed as an underground hip-hop classic. In 2005, a musical collaboration with Gone Beyond entitled "S.E.V.A" (Spirit Evolves Via Awareness) was released on Mush records, fusing the sacred sounds of the East with the Hip-Hop culture of the West. Mumbles' debut solo album on Sound In Color Records, entitled Illumination/Transformation is set to be released in the fall of 2007, and features guests Aceyalone, Kamau Daaood, Flora Purim, Tracy McMillan and more. Mumbles is currently in collaboration with Cut Chemist and Gone Beyond on a joint project entitled "Notes From the Underground", a hip-hop re-interpretation of the classical music of 20th century Russia.

    Chris Manak took on the name PEANUT BUTTER WOLF in the late-80s when he realized that, in an odd turn of events, a girlfriend's youngest brother feared the "peanut butter wolf monster" more than death itself. Wolf and his more conventionally-named counterpart, Charizma, began recording in 1989 when the two were still teenagers. Within three years, the duo signed a contract with Hollywood Basic (Disney). PB Wolf and Charizma were riding high until December of 1993, when Charizma tragically lost his life. Stunned, Wolf temporarily gave up on music. After releasing the song "Just Like A Test" with Charizma for David Paul's Bomb Hip Hop Compilation early in 1994, Upstairs Records, a label known primarily for house music, approached Wolf to record an instrumental LP. Thus, the Peanut Butter Breaks was born; the record became the Wolf's calling card, and he soon found himself in demand as a producer. He released a 6 song compilation for South Paw Records in 1995, featuring collaborations with up and coming San Jose MCs. He also produced Kool Keith's first single as a solo artist "Wanna Be A Star." These releases, amongst others, led to a picture disc EP for British label 2 Kool Records. In 1996, Peanut Butter Wolf founded Stones Throw Records. Charizma's posthumous "My World Premiere" was the single to launch the label. A few highlights in the beginning were the songs "Unassisted" by Rasco, Super Duck Breaks LP by DJ Babu, and hip hop 7" series. Lately, PB Wolf has moved away from producing to build the Stones Throw label and to travel as a DJ to Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, and across the US. Through his willingness to experiment and provide Stones Throw's artists with musical carte blanche, he has overseen the releases of Lootpack's Soundpieces, Quasimoto's The Unseen, Breakestra's Live Mix, Yesterday's New Quintet's Angles Without Edges, Madlib's Shades of Blue, and Jaylib's Champion Sound.

    AMON TOBIN will perform a 90 minute DJ set presenting a live mix of his new material from Foley Room alongside the music that inspired him to make it. Unlike conventional DJ sets, his set will focus more on composing new arrangements live on the decks, than on simply matching songs that share a similar bpm. The mixes will be treated as layers in an arrangement than as transitions between tracks, and the decks will be used more like samplers manipulating sources from vinyl than as turntables. Amon Tobin's influences are broad and his set will include everything from hip hop to soundtracks to dn'b. Foley Room, is Tobin's most conceptually satisfying and beautiful album to date.

    SAUL WILLIAMS has defined and redefined poetry as an accessible, living art form. His poetry has served as the archetype for a new generation of poets and spoken word artists. His work as a writer and actor in the critically acclaimed film Slam (Sundance's Grand Jury Prize '98; Cannes' Camera D'Or '98), placed him as a figurehead of the spokenword/slam poetry movement. Saul is the author of three collections of poetry: ,said the shotgun to the head. (2003 MTV Books/Simon and Schuster), She (1999 MTV Books/Simon and Schuster), and The Seventh Octave (1997 Moore Black Press). His musical debut, Amethyst Rock Star was produced by legendary rock/hip-hop producer Rick Rubin. Williams has lectured, performed, and toured across the world, and presented his work at nearly one hundred universities and colleges. He has made several television appearances, including Girlfriends, HBO's Def Poetry Jam, The Orlando Jones Show, The Chris Rock Show, Politically Incorrect, and more.

    Since 1979 performance painter NORTON WISDOM has worked with musical ensembles, spontaneously painting images that capture the essence of the musical moment. His collaborations are far and wide, from organist Christoph Bull to Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Wisdom performs at premiere festivals, museums, gallerys, and concert halls.

    The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, under Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, presents the finest in orchestral and chamber music, recitals, new music, jazz, world music and holiday concerts at two of the most remarkable places anywhere to experience music - Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to a 30-week winter subscription season at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the LA Phil presents a 12-week summer festival at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and home of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the Association's involvement with Los Angeles extends to educational programs, community concerts and children's programming, ever seeking to provide inspiration and delight to the broadest possible audience.


    THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2007 AT 8:00 PM

    SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2007, 10PM - 3AM

    WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, 111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles




    Tickets (Russian Chanson: $30-$38) (Pravda: $30 - $50)are on sale now online at, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3408,; Lisa Bellamore, 213.972.3689,; Photos: 213.972.3034