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white dust

september 1, 2017

Yusef Komunyakaa is an American poet who teaches at New York University and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for Neon Vernacular and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He also received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Komunyakaa received the 2007 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the poetry world.

Mike Brown currently lives in Brooklyn, NY - specializing in “New/Avant-Garde Music” and “extended techniques” he leads May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way and is part of the Brown/Jewell duo along with many other groups including KotorinoWheelchair Sports CampKevaCharles AtlasNow Over Ever, The Kerosene Ensemble, Fingerprint and can frequently be seen playing with David Cieri.

Along with performing and teaching, David Cieri’s film-score work includes Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War, (September 2017), The Roosevelts, The Address, Prohibition, Baseball: The Tenth Inning, The National Parks, Emperor of All Maladies, and his score for Raymond De Felitta's Booker's Place was listed for an Oscar nomination in 2013. He has recently completed scoring a documentary entitled, Oklahoma City which is out in theaters now. Cieri, along with longtime collaborator Mike Brown, composes the music for the monthly Gavagai music and reading series at The Owl Music Parlor in Brooklyn NY.

While Cieri was writing the music (along with Trent Reznor and Yo-Yo Ma) for Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War Documentary, he kept close Yusef Komunyakaa’s poetry book Dien Cai Dau as a source of insight and inspiration.  As good fortune would have it, The Gavagai Music and Reading series run by Danielle Blau, brought Komunyakaa, Cieri, and Brown together for the first time on St. Patricks Day 2016 to perform in NYC. From the downbeat, a deep relationship and understanding immediately caught fire and they have been playing with matches ever since as they fuse Komunyakaa’s poems with the sounds and music of Cieri and Brown.

‘I cued up White Dust without warning; by that I mean I had no advance notion of what it was. In seconds I was locked in - that voice, those voices! Everything seems to fall together without effort but with unanimous purpose.  There is no precept  or definition that gets in the way of what they are doing. I’ve been waiting for this natural intersection for some time.’ (Louis MarksRopeadope)