Experience Contemporary Interpretations of Korean Shaman Rituals at SaaWee’s “New Ritual”

Concluding Flushing Town Hall’s array of Lunar New Year events, on February 21, 2020, SaaWee will take guests on a musical and spiritual journey inspired by Korean shamanic rituals. Saawee, which features Sita Chay—a Latin Grammy winning violinist based in New York—and Jihye Kim—a London-based provocative percussionist of the international ensemble Froms—brings a fresh approach to existing concert genres by incorporating elements of theater, combining the ancient and the new, and seeking a healing modality.

SaaWee’s “New Ritual” strives to address the pressures of modern society and offer musical healing through contemporary interpretations of Korean shamanic rituals, and traditional mask dance movements.

“SaaWee’s performances are always unique creations which embody the vital contributions of the audience’s energy,” Sita Chay says. “I very much look forward to the musical ritual that will magically unfold with the public at Flushing Town Hall.”

The performers will immerse themselves among the audience, walking in and around them, suggesting awareness of energy connections as they progress through spiritual stages with the audience. Each composition is original music orchestrated by both members and includes “Festival of Five Gods”, “New Breath for Mother Nature”, “Moondoong”, “WERO”, and “Into the Rain”, all of which incorporate cross cultural folk music scales and rhythms.  Take a glimpse at SaaWee’s contemporary shaman ritual project “MoonDoong.

Sita Chay is an interdisciplinary performance artist, composer, and producer, and the first and only Korean artist to ever win the Latin Grammy, which she received as a violinist in the world-renowned all-female Mariachi band Flor De Toloache in 2017. Sita Chay is also nominated for the 2020 Grammy under Best Jazz Large Ensemble category for Miho Hazama’s “Dancer in Nowhere.”

Jihye Kim describes herself as a “performing artist” rather than a “percussion player.” Jihye received her first masters degree in Korean traditional percussion at Korean National University of Arts, and won the Grand Prize at the KBS Korean traditional music award as a member of the group ‘Ensemble Sinawi’ in 2012. Jihye currently resides in London.

Following their acclaimed world premiere in London in 2018, SaaWee gained widespread interest and were invited to Boston Same River Twice Festival in 2018 and in 2019 to the Splendor of Amsterdam Festival, Koreanisches Kulturzentrum of Berlin, Hartford University, Colombia National University, and Changdong Platform 61 in Seoul, South Korea. SaaWee plans to release a new album and music video in early 2020.

SaaWee’s performance at Flushing Town Hall on February 21, 2020 is a unique opportunity to participate in Korean shamanic rituals and receive spiritual cleansing. Tickets—$18/$12 Members & Students/FREE for Teens—are available at www.flushingtownhall.org, or by calling the box office at (718) 463-7700 x222.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

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