Media Contact: Henry Reese 412-670-1202 rhreese@cityofasylumpittsburgh.org



July 28, 2014—PITTSBURGH, PA: New York jazz musicians/composers Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriquez will be at City of Asylum Pittsburgh from August 7th – 9th to launch Digital Sanctuaries and give guided tours. Digital Sanctuaries is a self-guiding smartphone app that takes people on an urban soundwalk, traversing City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s “Garden to Garden” Trail on the Central Northside. The app is free and runs on Android or IOS3 or greater.

Digital Sanctuaries combines original music by Electric Kulintang (Ibarra and Rodriquez) with poetry and short texts chosen by City of Asylum Pittsburgh. The app is interactive, allowing users to remix the music while they listen. It invites the public to re-engage with the built environment of a cityscape.

Sites featured in the app include the Widows Home, the Olde Allegheny Community Gardens, the George Ferris House, and the National Aviary as well as several sites related to City of Asylum. During the short walk, listeners will be led into imaginative spaces that relate to the different sites, creating surprising linkages.

Text included in the app are by authors Richard Wilbur, Osip Mandelstam, Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska, Willa Cather, Salman Rushdie, Osama Alomar, Toi Derricotte, Diane Samuels, and Dunya Mikhail. When in foreign languages, the works are read in both the original and in translation. Readers are mainly the authors or their translators, with guest readers including Russell Banks, Nebraska Poet Laureate Twyla Hansen (reading Cather), and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley. Several of the poems have been set to music and are sung by choirs.

Ibarra and Rodriquez will lead 90-minute tours at 11 am and 6 pm each day. Tours will leave from the Alphabet City Tent at 318 Sampsonia Way, Northside, except for the 11 am tour on August 9. This tour departs from the Aviary. The 11 a.m. tour on August 7 is a special Children’s Tour.

Reservations are suggested: http://www.cityofasylumpittsburgh.org/events/ or call 412- 323-0278. A limited amount of equipment will be available for use for those who do not have smartphones.

About the Garden-to-Garden Trail

The Trail will connect City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s new Alphabet Reading Garden on the 1400 block of Monterey Street to its new Alphabet City literary center in the Garden Theater block. It is a .7 mile walk transformed and activated by the arts and resident artists with temporary and permanent public art, numerous free performances on public streets and in tented vacant lots and gardens, smartphone app-tours, and community- based artist residencies with public workshops and performances.

The Garden-to-Garden Trail is underwritten in part thanks to generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America.

About the Artists

Susie Ibarra is a composer/percussionist. Born in the Philippines, she is interested in the intersection of tradition and avant-garde and questions how this informs interdisciplinary art, education and public service. In most recent years Ibarra has been creating music that blends jazz, electronic, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern and experimental music. Recent new works include 2012 London Olympic Festival BT River of Music world premiere of Binalig Blues with Arun Ghosh Arkestra Makara; Hidden Truths: Prayer for a Forgotten World, a 5.1 surround sound composition (performed by Electric Kulintang co- commission for River to River Festival NYC 2012 and Harvestworks Artist in Residency); Saturnalia, a new music-theater work with libretto by Yusef Komunyakaa, and Drum Codes composed and performed by Electric Kulintang (world premiere Lincoln Center Atrium 2011). Ibarra is a TED Fellow 2010, Asia 21 Delegate 2010 and recipient of a 2008 Asian Cultural Council /Rockefeller Fellowship that supported her work in Philippine Indigenous music and ecology. In 2009, Ibarra cofounded Song of the Bird King to foster multi-media art and humanitarian and environmental work that contributes to preservation and innovation with Indigenous communities and children’s education. She joined the Bennington Faculty in 2012 in the Music and Center for Advancement of Public Action CAPA.

Roberto Rodriguez is a composer, percussionist, and producer. Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, his music is informed by diverse cross-cultural roots–from Jazz to Afrocuban and Eastern European Klezmer Jewish music to the Andaluz of North Africa. He produces electronic works with Electric Kulintang, which he formed with Susie Ibarra in 2004. He is currently collaborating with composer John Zorn, recording nine compositions commissioned by the Zorn for Masada-The Book of Angels. He is also known for his Cuban Jewish All Stars Bands, with ensembles in the U.S. and Israel. His recordings regularly win international acclaim. El Danzon de Moises was chosen by “Down Beat” as one of the best 100 cds 2000-2010

About City of Asylum

Founded in 2004, City of Asylum is a model for arts-based community development, bringing writers, readers and neighbors together through global literature and cultural exchange. Located on Sampsonia Way in Pittsburgh’s Northside, City of Asylum’s campus of redeveloped houses serve both as homes for exiled writers and as public artworks. It has presented more than 250 authors and musicians from 42 countries in free readings and concerts. Sampsonia Way, the publishing arm of City of Asylum, specializes in banned books in translation and anthologies of contemporary writing from countries where free speech is under threat; SampsoniaWay.org, its online journal of free speech, literature, and justice serves as a virtual home for persecuted writers and serves a growing global audience online.






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