The award-winning Austin-based world music band Atash and The St. Stephen’s Global Ensemble, a touring chamber orchestra performing highly expressive and dramatic concerts of original music, will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Monday, April 23. The groups will be performing a four-part concert entitled “Global Harmony,” composed and arranged by Roberto Paulo Riggio with lyrics by Mohammad Firoozi and conducted by John Moon.
“In 2005, I got an email requesting that I join a tour with Youssou N’Dour, the great Senegalese singer,” Riggio said. “When I received the itinerary, I was amazed once again to find out that our first concert of the tour would be in Carnegie Hall. I thought to myself, ‘How is it that I am getting a chance to play in Carnegie Hall having stayed most of my life in Austin?’ It was an incredible experience. However, I did think to myself, ‘The only step up from here is to play my own music in Carnegie Hall.’ Now, almost 13 years later, that’s exactly what’s happening.”
Voted “Best World Music Band” in Austin for six years straight, Atash has been rocking audiences around the world since 2001. Made up of band members from the Middle East, India, Europe and the Americas, the group’s home is in the musical mecca of Austin, where the band has been presented the Austin Music Award for Best World Music Band at the SXSW Music Festival for the last six years in a row. High-caliber musicianship on instruments such as sitar, tabla, strings, flamenco guitar, upright bass, west African percussion and drum set; tight arrangements with eastern melodies, complex harmonies, driving rhythms, and a well-oiled ensemble; telepathic connection between musicians in a spirit of improvisation; the poetry of master medieval Sufi poets, ecstatically sung in Farsi by the powerful voice of the charismatic frontman Mohammad Firoozi — these elements describe Atash, but don’t come close to the live experience of the band.
Atash combines creates a powerful, worldly and original sound that inspires people of all ages and from all walks of life. The band has spread its message of love and peace on the east and west coasts, in Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Taiwan, China, Spain and México, gaining legions of fans. They are truly the Austin ambassadors of world music.
The St. Stephen’s Global Ensemble includes student members of the orchestral and percussion programs at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Austin. Orchestra director and Atash violinist, John Moon, leads this group through an eclectic program influenced by classical, blues, jazz, percussion, Mystic Sufi, Central and South American, South Indian and European musical traditions. As part of their mission, Atash has always sought out opportunities to work with young people. St. Stephen’s, as an international day and boarding school, brings together students from around the world for a college preparatory education. Building on the values of global awareness, education and collaboration, John Moon brought these groups together to produce their successful European tour in March 2017, which traveled Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Trevor Detling, Director of St. Stephen’s Thunder Drums, and John Moon prepared the student musicians as they learned to perform these highly intricate rhythmic, melodic and formal compositions.
“Austin is so often not on the radar, particularly with respect to music in this genre,” Riggio continued. “It’s still quite shocking to realize that somehow our work was noticed, and we have been invited to play in Carnegie Hall. So we’re working hard, practicing, practicing, practicing – as the saying goes!”
Tickets may be purchased through CarnegieCharge or by calling (212) 247-7800. For more information, visit atash.com.