Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts in Partnership with Asia Society Texas Center Present Voices of the Spirit V

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 3/13/2015, 7:44 a.m.
Each year Houston Arts Alliance’s Folklife + Traditional Arts program in partnership with Asia Society Texas Center shines a light ...
Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero

Cantor Mutlu

Cantor Mutlu is a first generation American born to Turkish parents. Raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Cantor Mutlu fell in love with music during high school and went on to attend the New England Conservatory of Music. After serving as a cantorial soloist at Temple Emanuel of Worcester, Cantor Mutlu pursued a Master’s Degree in Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. In 2011, Cantor Mutlu was called to Houston and joined Beth Israel’s senior clergy as only the second full-time Cantor in the congregation’s 160-year history.

Cantor Mutlu has performed with many premier musical ensembles. He has sung at venues ranging from Lincoln Center to Minute Maid Park. Cantor Mutlu has had the pleasure of working with such notable conductors as Jane Glover, Simon Carington, Andrew Megill and Owen Burdick, under whose baton he earned two glowing musical reviews from The New York Times. An avid composer, Cantor Mutlu has premiered original works in Boston, Jerusalem, New York and Houston.

Chandrakantha and David Courtney

Chandrakantha and David Courtney are a husband-and-wife team who have been involved in Indian music for decades. Based in Houston, they have taught and performed worldwide. They have produced recordings of and authored books on Hindustani and other Indian musical traditions.

Chandrakantha Courtney began to sing professionally as a child. She was a regular contributor to radio and television programs during and after her studies with many noted gurus. In 1977 she was an artist in the Om International troupe, which toured South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore and Mauritius. In 1978 she married David Courtney and moved with him to the United States. She has been teaching Indian classical vocal in the Houston area since then. She has also been very active in arts education programs throughout the region.

David Courtney has been performing on the tabla since 1972. He first studied pakhawaj (an ancient barrel shaped drum) under the famous Zakir Hussain at the Ali Akbar College of Music. He then moved to India and spent a number of years learning tabla under the late Ustad Shaik Dawood Khan of Hyderabad. He is also well versed in dilruba, and esraj. They are both prolific performers, producers, composers and authors. They are joined for this performance by Neha Gupta on vocal and tanpura and Masood Raoofi on tabla.

Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero and Banda Viento Morelense de los Hermanos Campos

Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero and Banda Viento Morelense de los Hermanos Campos perform together on various occasions throughout the year, but especially so during the early December days that surround the feast day for the Virgin of Guadalupe. Both groups are family ensembles that draw on the traditions of southern Mexico from which each family originates. In general, chinelos are a troupe of colorfully costumed dancers that reveal a blending of indigenous and Catholic traditions. Their outfits spoof the fancy Europeanized manners of the Mexican elite, while simultaneously bearing beloved images of venerated holy personages from the Catholic world. They “dance” their devotion to these images. Danza Chinelos del Estado de Guerrero has roots in the state where the contemporary chinelos tradition is most prominent.