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Greeting the World for Holidays Together with the New York Voices

Date: 26.12.2007

The World Will Keep You Waiting
Will leave you wanting for more, something more
Peter Eldridge

Members of the jazz quartet: Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan and Peter Eldridge
Last CD: A Day Like This (released 27 September 2007)
Awards: 1997, the New York Voices shared a GRAMMY® Award with the Count Basie Orchestra for the album Live At Manchester Craftsmen's Guild; Brazilian Dreams; 2003 - a Latin GRAMMY® Award for Best Latin Jazz Album

Christmas concerts in Utah together with the Utah Symphony: December 20 (Ogden), December 21-22, 2007 (Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City Downtown).

The Grammy-winning quartet NY Voices have been placed in the same company as groups like Singers Unlimited, Manhattan Transfer, The Real Group and Vox One, that is, “among the best vocal jazz groups in the world” . At the end of their 20 year anniversary, the Christmas concerts in Utah were a chance to have an extremely stimulating exchange of thoughts with the members of the group about the culture from the perspectives of the global values.

It is not so often for a cultural anthropologist to meet such great personalities in the artistic world like Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Lauren Kinhan and Peter Eldridge– the members of the New York Voices quartet. On 22nd of December I was friendly joined for the interview by other members of the International Institute of Anthropology - Mariana Pavlova, Maria Radkova and Jordan Kolev – and as the European spirit in Utah we greeted gratefully the New York Voices just a few hours before their last concert in Salt Lake. During the conversation the time was flying while some of the problems reached such depth that nobody would have believed that we met for the first time that day and talked for the first time about the global culture together. This is in fact the magic and the mission of last – to make the people close each to other and easy to share even secret moments of their personal life. And the Bulgarian music, of course. Just mentioning the name of our country made Kim and Darmon absolutely excited recalling the Mystery of Bulgarians Voices. Maria Radkova and Mariana Pavlova mentioned also the Bulgarian world famous opera singers and jazz performers.

The New York Voices were not for the first time in Salt Lake. Lauren even mentioned, that she was here with all her family. All members were excited about the snow and the storm two days ago that cost delay of their first concert in Utah which was in Ogden. “But all the audience was waiting for us including three generations families. That was really wonderful” – the musicians shared with us.

Kim Nazarian is confident that the New York Voices contributes to the global culture since the music is a universal language, the group travels the entire world communicating their music personally and over Internet. Seven CDs have been released, the last of which is just 4 months old new baby of this exciting social family as the members of the group think about themselves. Darmon explains the success of so long life of the group with the fact that all love the music. Continuing this topic we all come to the conclusion that the New York Voices are strong individualities, while performing in group as an interactive small community is that makes them powerful. Kim Nazarian contrasted the individualized world to their social message that grouping keeps the seeds of the successful cultural reproduction and enculturation in the human society. The pride and the mutual respect sustain Darmon, Kim, Lauren and Peter together as vocalists and best friends.

Lauren Kinhan, who composed together with Peter Eldrige the music for one of the best songs in the new CD, The World Keeps You Waiting, argued that the difficult profession of the musicians is a challenge for the family. Lauren believes that today the parents can find a variety of powerful ways to be in a strong spiritual contacts with their children. Darmon continued this line of thoughts stressing on the fact that their profession allows their children to travel and to learn about different cultures on-site. There were years when the members of the group were away from home almost 6 months being involved in group and individual projects. “We can say that we are paid to travel and not to sing” concluded the founder and present leader of the New York Voices. As a matter of fact, according to the biography of the group, their initiation was a trip to Europe, after which in 1987 the group was constituted formally as 5-member vocalists, reduced later to 4. Lauren Kinhan is a more recent vocalist.

A special point of our discussion was the communication of the group with different ages. Darmon Meader pointed to the fact that the group communicates artistic values which could be accepted by grandparents, parents and children equally if the young generation acknowledges non-pop music values. Peter Eldridge specified that the quartet includes a variety of styles that helps to interact with all ages. Some of the songs even bridge the jazz with the pop music. Kim Nazarian’s accent was on the educational role of all members of the group including workshops, lectures and other forms of direct contacts with different ages. Furthermore, learning from artists is the best way people from all ages to interact with culture that makes successful the enculturation as a life long process of active interaction, its production and reproduction.

This about 40 min talk left in all of us the steady feeling that the global culture communicates not only a quality music, but also humanity and friendship.

The conversation with the New York Voices was a moment beyond our everydayness that would be reproduced in our everydayness as an impressive live experience and interaction with global ambassadors of elite culture.

My final question was what the members of the New York Voices would like to wish the world for the Holidays. The message of Darmon, Kim, Lauren and Peter was:

Peace, enculturation and powerful music

After the concert I was on line waiting for autographs from the members of the New York Voices. We began talking about the concert with an elderly man next to me and both shared how much we liked the concert. It was impossible for me not to have mentioned that we had a conversation with the members of the New York Voices that afternoon on December 22nd. A man looked at me and immediately asked me: “Were they friendly?” “Charming and extremely intelligent and friendly” was my response. This happened in the large Lobby of the Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake Downtown from the windows of which we could see the full of lights Temple Square and covered by the snow trees. One of those magnificent nights for thousands of Utahns coming to see the Christmas lights in Salt Lake Downtown. But the New York Voices with the Utah Symphony made it also a unforgettable pre-Christmas night – full with Christmas songs and communication of quality culture, smiles and friendship.

Lolita Nikolova, PhD
Cultural anthropologist and archaeologist
with the assistance of Mariana Pavlova and Maria Radkova
International Institute of Anthropology
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
http://www.iianthropology.org

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