"A Time for Change"  

Friday,  April 26, 2024
7:00 p.m. Doors Open; 7:30 p.m. Start

Music Center Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

More event details here

This concert features an assortment of creative work from nine women artists (sound designers, dancers, choreographers, storytellers (jèli), as well as BIPOC composers and performing artists from Minzu University of China, Burkina Faso (West Africa), and from other global regions.

This event is curated by Karlton Hester and presented by the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media and Music Department as part of the April in Santa Cruz Festival.


May You Find Rebirth in Paradise
Composed by Hwayoung Shon (b.1975) 

A captivating blend of traditional Korean music and contemporary elements. Featuring the gayageum, a traditional Korean string instrument, the piece incorporates elements of shamanistic rituals and Korean folk music. It captures the essence of these ancient rituals, where shamans guide and appease spirits, ultimately leading them to a peaceful paradise. The composition draws inspiration from the melodies of Neok-puri(넋풀이, meaning “to appease the soul”), a shamanic chant, and interprets melodies from Sanjo, a 19th-century Korean folk music genre. Ultimately, the piece embodies a heartfelt wish for peace and transcendence for the souls of the departed.

Hong Yi Yu Qiong
Choreographer: WeiGuang Zhu, Yang Xi
Dancers: Taotao Huang, YaXuan Xu
Music: Alvin Lucier, Xuntian He

A Body I Touched

Sonification-inspired Music Composition  "A Body I Touched" is a live sound performance based on sonification-inspired music composition that explores the constantly changing environment and acoustic landscape due to the increasing impacts of urbanization and human activities. The compositional process involves converting infrasound (a sound below the range of human hearing) of seismic activity captured by Geofon and H1a hydrophones into the audible range of frequency. The work focuses on the sonification of seismic signals of a particular place, a traditional gravesite in South Korea, that has been demolished and transformed into roads to address transportation needs in the area. Traditional gravesites in rural regions in South Korea have been sacred places where shamanic traditions and customs, such as death rituals and geomantic practices, known as "Pungsu-jiri," are performed for the deceased. These culturally invaluable places have rapidly diminished in recent years, resulting in the loss of individual/collective memory and ancestral knowledge built up over hundreds of years. I critically acknowledge the spiritual values of these sites and intend to maintain cultural continuity by drawing attention to the sounds that emanate from the landscape and translating them into the microscopic soundscape through the sonification process,  making the inaudible audible. In the performance, the audience can hear/perceive entirely new realms of sensory-rich sonic fields, the other, the larger non-human species in inaccessible environments, and their invisible energy waves traveling through the lost land. Duration: 8-9 minutes

Mureale Bimulati (Mural Bimurat - Dombra) from Minzu University in China Solo dombra, singing, and “Jews harp”.

“Ancient African Historical Storytelling” with Mandjou Kone (djeli/storyteller, kora, dancer, choreographer) with her drummer and Mamadou Kouyate (balafon, guitar, djembe, doundoun).

Eki' Shola, vocalist, keyboard

“Compilation of 3 pieces” approximately 10 minutes

Yunxiang Gao - Yunxiang Gao is a composer, pianist and pipa player. She has composed many Western solo and ensemble instrumental compositions, including orchestral scores and music for film. She has also composed for solo Chinese instruments with live electronics, focusing upon the exploration of extended techniques and timbre blends between the acoustic and live processed electronics. Gao is an early tester of the groundbreaking synchronous score following software program, Antescofo.

“Suite for Two Mentors”
Joe Henderson (“Free Hesteria”) and Donald Byrd (“Byrd Math”)
Composed by Karlton Hester with Hesterian Musicism


Yang Xi is a dancer and choreographer of the Lingbo Dance Theater holding the position of Assistant Professor in the College of Dance at Minzu University of China based in Beijing. An “inheritor” of Chinese Classical Dance who graduated from Beijing Dancing Academy and received a master’s degree, studying teaching practice and theory research in Chinese Classical dancing under Professor Li Zhengyi who was the president of BDA and one of the founders of the Chinese Classical Dance. 

Her professional experiences include serving as the principal dancer in Beijing’s performing Theater of Music and Dance. Yang Xi presented workshops at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, a Chinese Classical Dance Workshop at the Tisch School Of the Arts, New York University, and a two-week Chinese Classical Dance Workshop at the Institute of Contemporary Dance at Folkwang University of the Arts Her Academic Research Paper and Course Video Book Publications include a published essay <Come from Tradition> in “Journal of Beijing Dance Academy”, an <Interview with Ning Ye: Back to Home See Classical Dance > in “Journal of Beijing Dance Academy,  Research Papers <Re-understanding Integrity in Classical Dance> Dance Magazine of China, <The Significance of Relaxation in Classical Dance Education> Dance Magazine of China, “The Exploration of Integrity” Chinese Classical Dance Female Course Video Book, <Jooss-Leeder Method > Dance Magazine of China <Perceiving the Body with Yan Xing >, and has served as Project Leader of many dance festivals, competitions, and has received many other honors. Her choreography awards and honors include: “The Man with Sword”: Second Prize in Choreography Category and Winner of Dance Instructor in North China Dance Competition; “Raining Afternoon”: First Prize for the Choreography Category in the Singapore International Dance Competition and one of the winner of “Tao Li” National Dance Competition(Held by the Chinese Ministry of Culture); First Place in Teaching Quality Competition at Minzu University of China Winner of the Advanced Faculty in Minzu University of China; Choreography and as Dancer “Walking on water with moon” Performed at the Chuangmu Dance Festival in Seoul Korea, China-France Culture Exchange Festival in France; and Choreography “in the Flower” won the third prize in the 18th Beijing Dance Competition. 

Huang Taotao, an award-winning dancer from Minzu University of China, has a Master’s degree in major in Dance (Dance Education). Her awards include the 29th Korean Creative Dance International Art Festival in Seoul, South Korea, and she won second place for the performance "Unveiling layers". The 13th "Taoli Cup" National Youth Dance Education and Teaching Achievement Exhibition, Modern Dance Youth Women's Group "Twilight". The 14th "Lotus Award" National Folk Dance Awards "Winter". The 18th Beijing Dance Competition won the third prize in performance for "Shadow". The modern dance professional group of PDE International Dance Competition won the bronze award for "Heart Habitat”. She also received a Silver Award for "Walking in the Light" at the 5th Asian Dance Arts Festival Singapore Finals. The work “Li Qingzhao” won the Excellence Award in the 17th Beijing Dance Competition. "Twilight" won the second prize in performance in The 10th North China Five Provinces Dance Competition and during the 2019-2020 academic year she won the national scholarship and first-class scholarship of school level specialty. Huang Taotao traveled to Germany Giessen modern dance troupe to participate in the modern dance art festival and perform the work “Farewell" During 2017-2019 she won the individual first prize from the secondary vocational group of Chinese dance performance in Guangdong Vocational College skill competition for two consecutive years. Huang Taotao also won the second prize in Chinese dance performance competition of the secondary vocational group in the National Vocational College skill. 

Xu Yaxuan’s educational experience includes attending the Shandong Culture and Art School, majoring in Chinese dance from 2014–2020, and coming to Minzu University of China, in 2020 majoring in Dance (Dance Performance). Her award-winning experience includes performing with the group dance "Echoes of Life" when she participated in the 10th North China Five Provinces (autonomous regions) city dance competition performance, winning first prize in 2021. That same year, Xu Yaxuan entered the 13th China Dance Lotus Award with the group dance "Echoes of Life" and won the National Folk Dance Final Award. In 2023, she participated in the 18th Beijing Dance Competition, and her "Manluo Flower" won the third prize. 

Mural Bimurat is a member of the HAYA band, Dombra and Chinese Kazakh player, born in 1990 in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Graduated from the Dombra major of the School of Music of MINZU University of China and Kazakh National Conservatory. He is currently a teacher (professional master's tutor) in the School of Music of MINZU University of China. Not only does he have a solid foundation in Kazakh folk music, a humble and open learning spirit, and extremely high musical talent, it also allows him to roam freely in world music. After joining the HAYA band, he brought richer musical color and vitality to the band. He also serves as a composer and arranger within the HAYA band. Working with different musicians in the industry. In December 2018, he released his first album "ANCIENT LEGACY ", which included 7 songs including "Ancient Legacy ", "Homeland", "Dream", and "Clear Heart". In the same year, he won the Arrangement and Performance Award for "Performance Album of the Year" at the 2018 Global Chinese Golden Melody Awards for his album "The Gift of the Ancestors".

Karlton E. Hester, (composer/flutist/saxophonist), began his career as a composer and recording artist in Los Angeles where he worked as a studio musician and music educator. He received his Ph.D. in composition from the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently Director of “Jazz” Studies (and member of the Digital Arts and New Media faculty) at the University of California in Santa Cruz. As a performer on both flute and saxophone, he is founding music director of the Fillmore Jazz Preservation Big Band (in San Francisco), director of Hesterian Musicism, and served as the Herbert Gussman Director of Jazz Studies at Cornell University from 1991-2001. He is currently the director of the UCSC Digital Arts and New Media MFA Program and the Art Division’s first Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Hester specializes in premeditated, spontaneous, and electro-acoustic composition. His compositions span a wide range; from numerous solo cycles for various woodwinds to chamber configurations, music videos, and electro-acoustic symphonic works written in an eclectic array of transcultural styles.

Yunxiang Gao is a composer, pianist, and pipa player from China. She graduated from Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition. In 2005, her multimedia piece “Yin” won second prize in the MUSICACOUSTICA festival, and in 2009, her pipa concerto “Qin Yong” was awarded third prize in Beijing International Music Festival and Academy. In 2012, she performed a pipa concerto for the“Pan-Asia” Festival at Stanford University. Her symphonic works “Picture of Borderland” and “Beijing Opera – Sheng, Dan, Jing, Chou” were performed by the UC Irvine orchestra and conducted by Professor Christopher Dobrian. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts with an emphasis in World Music Composition at the University of California at Santa Cruz

Rosa Park is a sound artist and designer whose research interest is centered on the study of the physicality of sound, algorithmic composition, experimental film, and sound, and expanded cinema. Park's creative practice is deeply grounded in her cultural identity, memories, and religion, and she has produced a large number of works that deal with Korean traditional rituals, Korean shamanism, acoustic memories, and the nature of life and death. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and theaters internationally, including the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Kala Art Gallery, the MUMUTH Haus für Musik und Musiktheater (House of Music and Music Theatre, Austria), Asia Digital Art & Design Association Conference (ADADA, Korea), LG Art Center, Charlotte New Music Festival in New York, among others.

Mandjou Kone (griot/storyteller, kora, dancer, choreographer) was born and raised in West Africa in the countries of Mali and Burkina Faso. She was born into the Koné family, a well-known Griot Family. The Griots people of West Africa are world renown for their unique ability to record events carefully and accurately, passing history from one generation to the other. As a young girl Mandjou assisted her Griot father in keeping his band alive by singing, dancing and playing instruments like the Djembe, Bala, Dundun, Kora and Tama. She also danced and performed with the National Ballet of Burkina Faso. With her brother’s group ‘Surutukunu’ Mandjou toured Europe extensively as lead singer. Mandjou is a very popular dance educator and has been teaching and performing over the past eleven years throughout the US. In March 2003 in Santa Cruz, CA she was honored with the ‘Calabash Award’ for her excellence in the ethnic arts.

Mohamed Kouyate (balafon, guitar, djembe, doundoun) was born in the culturally rich village of Sogoboli in Guinea, West Africa’s Boke region. He descends from a long line of djeli, or griot, the keepers of West Africa’s musical traditions. Mohamed’s mother, Mama Kouyate, and father, Boubacar Kouyate, both members of the Kouyate family of djeli, felt a deep calling to pass the musical lore of Guinea on to their son. Mohamed began studying the balafon, one of the traditional instruments of the djeli, at the age of two under the tutelage of his father. He also studied the guitar, the percussive instruments of the djembe orchestra, and vocals. Mohamed

Kouyate began performing with his village’s performance ensemble for local weddings, celebrations and ceremonial events. He eventually moved to Conakry to play with Group Keedje. His passion for the balafon and his talent attracted the attention of the celebrated choreographer, Kemoko Sano, who recruited Mohamed as a member of Les Merveilles. He toured with Les Merveilles for several years before relocating to the United States. Mohamed currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Eki’Shola is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and board-certified internal medicine and lifestyle medicine physician, whose music has been called “half-time electronic soul for the mind” – Featured in PBS, NPR Tiny Desk Contest, KQED and Best of the Bay Editors’ Pick, Eki’Shola’s music transcends genre, as she seamlessly draws from jazz, electronica, and soul music to create a sonic landscape all her own. Her debut album, Final Beginning, was released in 2016. Her most recent release, Essential, 2020, features instrumentals, spoken word, and lyrics that share hope, inspired by periods of contemplation among movements of climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, and Black Lives Matter advocacy.

Hwayoung Shon, acclaimed gayageum master and composer,  seamlessly blends traditional Korean music with contemporary genres. From winning national competitions leading to her public debut at KBS in 1986, to gracing prestigious stages worldwide, Shon has dedicated herself fervently to mastering the intricacies of the gayageum. Over the years, she has emerged triumphant in numerous renowned competitions. With accolades in performance from National Gugak High School and Seoul National University, Shon has been praised as a once-in-a-generation talent by the late Seong-Chun Lee, director of the National Gugak Center. Shon’s mesmerizing renditions have captivated audiences in prestigious concert halls worldwide, including solo performances at the Herbst Theatre and collaborations with esteemed classical symphonies. Her performances have been broadcast on KBS, MBC, EBS, BBC, WGVU-FM, KAZU-FM and more. She has released live concert solo albums and composed pieces inspired by Korea’s cultural heritage. Through her music, Shon aims to connect cultures and spread warmth and hope

Motoko Honda is a concert pianist, composer, and sound artist who has created a distinctive sound through her holistic approach to music, and her exceptional sensitivity in relating to other art forms and technologies. Employing a "virtuoso technique paired with her intensely imaginative mind" (Susan Dirende, L.A. Splash Magazine), and with stylistic influences ranging from jazz to Indonesian music to contemporary prepared piano with electronics, Motoko's compositions and structured improvisations are intended to affect the skin, organs and minds of the listener rather than simple recitations of rhythmic and harmonic themes. Called both a "keyboard alchemist" (Chris Barton, L.A. Times), and the "embodiment of a muse" (Greg Burk, Metaljazz), Motoko's performances transport audiences on sonic adventures that transcend the boundaries and conventions of contemporary music.

David Smith is a performer, composer and educator. Mr. Smith has earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music. He has developed a unique fifth tuning with five strings for his primary instruments, the Double Bass and Electric Bass. Through technique and a penchant for elegant solutions, Mr. Smith aims to pattern music that moves our experience toward freedom.

Mandjou Kone, Mamadou Kouyate

Hwayoung Shon

Taotao Huang

Professor Yangxi 

Yaxuan Xu


Mureale Bimulati

Yunxiang Gao

David Smith

Karlton Hester

Motoko Honda

Rosa Sungjoo Park