Contemporary modal musicians Daly and Thoma to perform

BELLOWS FALLS — As part of their third annual New England tour, this one for their new double record Lunar, Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma will stop in Bellows Falls to perform a Stone Church Arts concert on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 pm.

Based on the island of Crete in Greece, Daly and Thoma are masters of the Mediterranean lyra. In this performance, their only one in Vermont on their brief New England tour, they will be joined by Tev Stevig (oud) and Michael K. Harrist (double bass) of Çesni Trio.

“Modal music - music that's based around tones or modes rather than Western scales - covers a region that stretches from the north west of Africa to west China,” Daly said in a news release. “All of those areas have things in common, and they're all constantly changing and evolving.”

Daly and Thoma are masters of the Mediterranean lyra, a bowed fiddle that also has more than a dozen sympathetic strings. Daly has spent his life exploring the possibilities and connections in modal music, recording and performing all over the globe as well as hosting the annual Labyrinth music workshop in his home village of Houdetsi on the Greek isle of Crete.

Many years before “World Music” appeared on the scene, Daly had already understood the enormous value and vast variety of the world's various musical traditions and had dedicated his life to their study.

Daly has traveled the world, and his home for the past 35 years has been Crete. At a very early age, he discovered that music was, in his own words, “the language of my dialogue with that which I perceive to be sacred.”

This dialogue eventually led him to the great modal traditions of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, where he finally found the musical archetypes he had been searching for.

In these traditions, he says, he encountered music that wasn't merely a vehicle of self-expression but was able to take one beyond the boundaries of self into “trans-personal realms of experience.”

Thoma was born in Piraeus in 1978. She began studying the lyra with Daly in 1995 and three years later started travelling with him and his group, “Labyrinth,” participating in concerts in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the U.S. She has taken part in many projects with musicians from various different traditions from other countries.

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