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The Voice of Dust and Ash
November 28, 2022 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm PST
The Voice of Dust and Ash is the untold story of monumental artist and humanitarian Maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian, hailed by NPR as “one of the 50 greatest voices of all time” and by the Wall Street Journal as “the most important Iranian cultural figure of the last 3 decades.” When Iran’s ayatollah banned music and performances in the entire country, instruments and records became contraband, and artists were exiled, imprisoned, or executed. As the new government began to crush basic human rights, Maestro Shajarian risked everything to confront the regime, singing truth to power and uniting the country in a chorus of millions strong. His lifelong pursuit of equality through art is immortalized for generations to come, through his majestic, soaring vocals and lyrics. His internationally renowned hymn, “Morghe Sahar”, performed at the finale of all his concerts is widely considered the Unofficial National Anthem for Iranian Freedom. Not Rated | 83mins
J. Ralph is a three-time Academy Award®-nominated composer, singer/songwriter, producer & activist from New York City who focuses on creating awareness and change through music and film. His music has sold more than 10 million records worldwide, reaching the No. 1 spot on the Billboard top 100 charts in over 22 countries, and has raised significant money for various charities and causes. Honored by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for “Innovative and unique contributions to American music”, his professional career began as a teenager and was quickly signed to Atlantic Records by label president Jason Flom in one of the biggest record deals ever granted to a new artist. Following his debut album, J. Ralph has written and produced the music for numerous Grammy Award-winning artists, symphony orchestras, The United Nations, The President of The United States, Barack Obama, and more Oscar-winning/nominated documentaries than any other composer in history of the Academy Awards. “Like no other American composer before him, J. Ralph has created in very short order, a stunningly unique body of philanthropically minded musical works,” said Dr. John Troutman, curator of culture and arts for the Smithsonian. Mr. Ralph’s diverse work features collaborations with some of the world’s most respected and iconic Artists including Sting, Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The London Symphony Orchestra, Sia, Norah Jones, Scarlett Johansson, Wu-Tang Clan, KRS-One, Philippe Petit, David Blaine, Anohni (FKA Antony & The Johnsons), Carly Simon, Liza Minnelli, Stephen Stills, Youssou Ndour and Salif Keita among many others.
Described by The Hollywood Reporter as the “go-to producer of documentary film scores” and by Indiewire as “Perhaps the best documentary composer working today”, J. Ralph is widely considered by many to have had a profound impact on the medium. Mr. Ralph has helped create some of the most influential documentaries of all time, revealing critically important social issues and culturally defining artists that “along with his partnering filmmakers and musicians, have spurned governments to act and introduced or amplified for millions of people, concerns that have might otherwise fallen under the radar” continued the Smithsonian’s Dr. Troutman. Over the last decade, J. Ralph has written and produced the music for eight of the Oscar-winning or nominated films including Man On Wire, The Cove, Hell and Back Again, Chasing Ice, Finding Vivian Maier, Virunga, Racing Extinction, and Jim: The James Foley Story. J. Ralph’s most recent works are the scores for magician David Blaine’s Vegas residency In Spades, Jason Flom’s Wrongful Conviction podcast, and an NFT collaboration with Method Man & SuperRare entitled “25 Years Later”. His most recent film score is for the documentary The Voice of Dust & Ash about monumental artist and humanitarian Mohammed Reza Shajarian. The film features Ralph’s original song “Dust & Ash” performed by J. Ralph & Norah Jones. Prior to that, J. Ralph unveiled the expansive “Evolocean”, an aleatoric, performance piece for orchestra, choir, and child, exploring species extinction and mankind’s effect on the ocean. Recorded live at Abbey Road Studios with over 150 musicians, “Evolocean” is performed by The London Symphony Orchestra, The London Voices Choir, and J. Ralph’s then six-month-old daughter, Theodora Ralph. The world premiere of “Evolocean” was held at The Smithsonian National Museum of American History which declared the work “transformative” and acquired the piece for its permanent collection along with several other of Mr. Ralph’s musical works which the Museum deemed “groundbreaking”. It marks the first time in the 118-year history of the London Symphony Orchestra that an experimental piece like this was ever performed and recorded.
Mr. Ralph’s music encompasses a wide variety of genres and mediums and has been featured in the world’s biggest television events including The Olympics, The World Cup, The Academy Awards, The Super Bowl, The World Series, The Grammys, The Emmys, The Golden Globes, and The NBA Playoffs. “He’s one of the most heard artists on the planet” declared Esquire Magazine’s Genius Issue. J. Ralph is a fellow of Yale University and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Several of Mr. Ralph’s musical works have been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. for inclusion in their permanent collections.
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