A Roadrunner video mixtape
Explore the sounds of the MSU Denver community.
February 24, 2021
“Music should remind us that we’re not alone in this world, and we as humans are meant for connection,” said Anisha Rush, professor of jazz saxophone. During this season of separation, the Early Bird presents a Roadrunner mixtape to celebrate the diverse talents of the Metropolitan State University of Denver community.
Track 1 – “Forbidden Love” by Alison Tais Rojas-Ramirez, student, Communication Design
Rojas-Ramirez explained that the Covid-19 pandemic had a positive effect on her creativity.
“I started writing (“Forbidden Love”) in 2019 and didn’t finish it until 2020. When Covid hit, I was more determined to complete the song,” said Ramirez. “I have a lot of social anxiety, so I had to push myself. That’s how I met my music producer through mutual friends – I reached out for help completing the song.”
Track 2 – “Tari Kreasi Laku” by Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena, affiliate faculty and MSU Denver’s Gamelan Tunas Mekar ensemble
Balinese music, known as Gamelan, has a dense sound filled with interlocking percussion and rhythms. Perhaps most important, Gamelan is characterized by its role in community as an ensemble practice. The Gamelan Tunas Mekar performance featured on this mixtape was choreographed by Dewa Ayu Eka Putri and composed by affiliate faculty member Putu Tangkas Adi Hiranmayena.
“It is called ‘Tari Kreasi Laku,’” said Hiranmayena. “It was a way for me to realize the cultural malleability of Colorado and Bali. The term ‘Laku’ is Balinese describing the state of availability or directional change.”
Check out the video to enjoy a beautiful performance of “Tari Kreasi Laku” choreographed by Dewa Ayu Eka Putri and recorded during the ensemble’s 2019 visit to Bali to participate in the Bali Arts Festival (Pesta Kesenian Bali). Discover more of Hiranmayena’s work through his YouTube channel and follow Gamelan Tunas Mekar for upcoming events.
Track 3 – A selection of mariachi favorites from Mariachi Los Correcaminos de MSU Denver
MSU Denver’s mariachi ensemble, Mariachi Los Correcaminos, is led by Lorenzo Trujillo, Ed.D., J.D., affiliate professor. When asked if he had ever given a mixtape to someone special, Trujillo replied, “Yes! And it worked. She’s my wife. I did a recording and sang in the Troubadour tradition.”
Trujillo went on to explain that mariachi is a misunderstood genre. “Mariachi was always presented as music of the cantina with alcohol and womanizing men. It has become a very sophisticated high-end genre. It’s not what it was.”
Check out the video to see a past performance for Gov. Jared Polis and community members at the Colorado Governor’s Residence at Boettcher Mansion.
Track 4 – “Find” by the Anisha Rush Quartet, featuring Anisha Rush, affiliate faculty
Enjoy this segment from “Find” featuring Rush on saxophone and quartet members Solomon Chapman on piano, Will Gaines on bass and Matt Campbell on drums.
Rush named saxophonist Ornette Coleman as a musical hero who has influenced her work.
“When I first heard him, I could barely stand to listen. But then I remember the moment when I really started to listen, and I heard almost a childlike integrity to the music. I heard the very roots of this black American music through what he played and have since sought to establish the same integrity in my music.”
Track 5 – A performance by the MSU Denver African Drum Ensemble featuring Adjei Abankwah, affiliate faculty member and choreographer
Abankwah was a principal dancer and choreographer with the Ghana Dance Ensemble for 11 years before joining MSU Denver. He is an accomplished musician and composer who plays a number of traditional African instruments, including the flute, xylophone, bass marimba and drums. In addition to serving the MSU Denver community, Abankwah is the artistic director for the BaoBao Foundation, which aims to educate Colorado communities about the richness of West African arts and culture.
Abankwah is a strong believer in music’s ability to liberate people. Music is a form of self-expression, he said, and when music is shared, freedom is embraced. “Any way, anyhow, freedom must come,” he said.
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