South African Singer-Songwriter to Perform in Columbus

Berita is an international award-winning “Afro soul” singer-songwriter. She is headlining the IUPUC-sponsored event Arts for AIDS on Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Columbus. Image courtesy of Berita

Sponsored by IUPUC, the annual Arts for Aids “Songs of Hope” event will raise awareness and funds for the AIDS crises abroad. The 2018 event is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Yes Cinema in Columbus.

The concert will be headlined by Berita, a South African-based “Afro soul” singer-songwriter. The young performer has earned several national and international awards, including the Zimbabwe Achievers Award for Best Music Artist. Berita’s discography includes a 2017 self-titled effort.

Arts for AIDS is a Columbus-based initiative formed by combining the efforts of five organizations representing projects in Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

IUPUI Kinesiology Professor a Powerful Force in Highland Games

Zach Riley’s kinesiology studies have helped his form when he competes in strength-based Highland games. Video by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

When he’s not teaching kinesiology classes for the School of Health and Human Sciences, Zach Riley can be found at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in Columbus.

He’s not showcasing cattle, and he’s not getting an early spot for next year’s county fair funnel cakes. Riley is throwing heavy objects on a field in preparation for the 2018 Celtic Classic Highland Games in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was practicing throws with a 16-pound stone and weights measuring in at 28 pounds for distance and 56 pounds for height, respectively. These are part of a grueling nine-event gauntlet he and his fellow competitors will take part in this weekend.

A collegiate and professional career in track and field honed Riley’s muscular frame. His long beard, shaved head and burly limbs covered in tattoos give him the perfect look to compete in kilted Highland game events. And his bright blue-painted thumbnails help hi– Wait, what? Cue record scratch.

IUPUI associate professor of kinesiology Zach Riley will compete in the 2018 Celtic Classic Highland Games in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Photo by Tim Brouk, Indiana University

“I have a 10-year-old daughter, and it’s a bonding time,” said Riley with a laugh about his colorful manicure. “My toes are far more decorated, but my thumbs get really mashed up gripping and throwing things. My nails are actually black underneath, all bruised. We try to keep them fresh.”

A kinesiology associate professor at IUPUI since 2009, Riley said the competitions are just for fun — they’re a way to stay in shape and clear his mind. Additionally, years of teaching and researching the mechanics of body movement have only strengthened Riley’s performance in the Highlands.

Question: What were you working on today to get ready for this weekend’s Highland Games?
Zach Riley: It’s a steel weight on a ring handle. It’s most similar to a discus throw in track and field, but a lot heavier. Almost all of our implements are.

Q: What goes on during these throws before you release the weight?
ZR: Drop the hips, sprint and hold on for dear life, and pray you’re in the right position to throw it and not yourself.

Q: How far were you throwing today?
ZR: A little over 80 feet. My best is 89 feet 11 inches, which is the second-farthest throw in the world this year.

Q: How did you get involved in competing in Highland games?
ZR: I was primarily a hammer thrower in track and field, and then I graduated from college and signed with Nike to throw professionally for two years while I was doing my master’s degree at Ball State University. In the pursuit of education, I quit track and field in 2004 after the Olympic trials to pursue my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado.

But when I became a professor and got some stability, I wanted to get into something similar to compete in, and the Highland games and Scottish athletics were a perfect fit for me.

Q: What goes on at Highland games?
ZR: We are purely entertainment. Especially at the professional level that I’m at, we’re paid to come in and, yes, throw things far and throw things high, but we are paid to entertain. If the crowd around the field aren’t entertained, they aren’t coming back. I always say we’re 50 percent throwers in the track and field sense and 50 percent entertainers. It’s a fun world to be in.

It’s nine events: You throw heavy and light weights, a heavy and lighter stone that’s a lot like shotput. We throw Scottish hammers, a heavy and a light hammer, and we’ll throw a caber, which is the crowd’s favorite, flipping the tree end over end.

Q: How often are you out here training?
ZR: Three to four days a week, usually. I try to do it year-round. Even in the winter, I’ll be out here at least two days a week — if the weather is permitting — with a lot of layers on.

It’s my serenity place. I love the actual art of throwing heavy objects and seeing it in flight and chasing that perfect throw that you may never hit in your career. There’s definitely something romantic to me about it, so that’s why I do it.

Q: What does your department at IUPUI think of your Highland gamesmanship?
ZR: They know I do this. All of the faculty know I do this, and I get a ton of support from them. It’s relatable to our students. They see me coming up on 39 years old, and I’m still out being active and pursuing competition and training and doing everything I need to do as I get older. I think it’s very motivating to a lot of the students, and it think it earns a different level of respect from the students when I teach them.

Read the original article from IUPUI News’ Tim Brouk

Reiberg Reading Series: Michael Martone

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the Rufus & Louise Reiberg Readings Series present writer Michael Martone and special guests R. Craig Sautter, Karen Kovacik, and Terry Kirts to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Reiberg Reading Series.

Michael Martone’s recent books are The Moon Over Wapakoneta, Brooding, Winesburg, Indiana, and Four for a Quarter. The University of Georgia Press published his book of essays, The Flatness and Other Landscapes, winner of the AWP Award for Nonfiction, in 2000. His stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, North American Review, Iowa Review, and other magazines. Martone has won two Fellowships from the NEA and a grant from the Ingram Merrill Foundation. His stories and essays have appeared and been cited in the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Stories and The Best American Essays anthologies. In 2013 he received the national Indiana Authors Award, and in 2016, the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contribution to Midwestern Literature. Martone was born and grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He attended Butler University and graduated from Indiana University. He holds the MA from The Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. Martone is currently a Professor at the University of Alabama where he has been teaching since 1996. He has been a faculty member of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1988.

Support for the Reiberg Reading Series is provided by the Reiberg family, the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the IUPUI Department of English and the IUPUI Arts and Humanties Institute.

Wed, October 3, 2018
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM EDT

Get your tickets here!

Fantasy coffin designer Paa Joe bringing his brand of underground art to IUPUI, IU Bloomington

Revised: All events with Paa Joe have been cancelled as of 9-13-18

Many artists put their heart, soul and passion into their work for the world to see. For Ghanaian artist Joseph “Paa Joe” Ashong, however, his art is dedicated to the individual passion of his client and is typically seen by the world for only a short time.

Paa Joe stands with a fantasy coffin shaped like a lion. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Wigley, director of “Paa Joe and the Lion”

Paa Joe is a master craftsman who creates fantasy coffins, part of Ghana’s tradition of abebuu adekai, which started in the 1950s with artists creating custom coffins for priests and chiefs. These functional coffins are most often in the shape of animals but can be nearly anything the client dreams. Paa Joe and his team have made coffins as varied as lions, shoes and a baby grand piano. As one of the most well-known fantasy coffin makers, Paa Joe has had his work displayed in and commissioned from locations around the world.

Next week, Paa Joe, his son and a former apprentice will bring their expertise and the intricacies of this Ghanaian tradition to the campuses of IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington. Paa Joe will work with students and faculty at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI during a nine-day workshop that will highlight Ghana’s traditions and the artistry involved in the making of fantasy coffins. In Bloomington, Paa Joe will be honored at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, which currently has an exhibit of fantasy coffins, and participate in a discussion and screening of a film documenting his work at IU Cinema.

“Paa Joe is an internationally respected artist and recognized leader in his field within Ghana,” said Greg Hull, professor and interim chair of fine arts at the Herron School of Art and Design. “It’s an honor to be able to host him on our campus thanks to a grant from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. It is our hope that through his visit and workshops, everyone will gain insight into a uniquely different creative process and world culture.”

In addition to this work with students at Herron, Paa Joe will host several fantasy coffin work sessions that are open to the public at the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center as well as a public talk at 5 p.m. Sept. 12 in Eskenazi Hall’s Basile Auditorium. Before leaving IUPUI, Paa Joe will lead and orchestrate a live performance demonstrating the Ghanaian funeral ceremony and celebration of life from 5 to 6 p.m. Sept. 14. The performance is open to the public, and attendees are invited to participate in the event.

Following his time at IUPUI, Paa Joe and his team will travel to IU Bloomington to view and discuss an exhibit on the Ghanaian tradition of fantasy coffins at IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The exhibit, “Shapes of the Ancestors: Bodies, Animals, Art and Ghanaian Fantasy Coffins,” is part of the Bloomington campus’s Themester and was curated by Kristin Otto, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology.

Otto, who studies African art, was a research associate at the Mathers Museum in August 2017 when the museum received a one-of-a-kind donation of an airplane-shaped fantasy coffin. Given her background and research interests, Otto was asked to research and curate an exhibit on this unique Ghanaian tradition. She spent two weeks in Ghana visiting Paa Joe’s workshop, learning about the process and interviewing the people who work there.

“I was really, really lucky to be able to do this research,” Otto said. “I was able to get a sense of the artists, their technical skills and artistry. I got to see them work on a series of ocean-themed coffins as well as an ear-of-corn-shaped coffin that was to be used for a funeral.”

The exhibit features four full-size coffins: the airplane, a pink fish on loan from IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art, a hen on loan from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and a Nike shoe also on loan from the Children’s Museum. In addition, visitors can view five mini/collectible coffins: a rooster, lion, eagle, beer bottle and Coca-Cola bottle.

The exhibit also focuses on Otto’s research in Ghana, including how the fantasy coffins are made, the process and the people behind the work. Visitors to the exhibit will also find information on the cultural uses of these coffins both within Ghana and around the world.

“These craftsmen just have an intuitive sense of the material and shape; they don’t draw or sketch anything,” Otto said. “They’re really skilled at this, and it’s an incredible honor for Paa Joe to come here.”

Otto’s exhibit is on display at the Mathers Museum through Dec. 16, and a reception honoring Paa Joe will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the museum. Otto will also moderate a discussion with Paa Joe following the screening of the film “Paa Joe and the Lion” at IU Cinema. The documentary follows Paa Joe and his son, Jacob, on their journey to re-establish their workshop. Tickets to the 4 p.m. screening Sept. 16 are free and available through IU Cinema.

“This project is an intentional effort to broaden international programming on our campuses and continue strengthening Herron’s connection with the larger university,” Hull said. “For our students, having access to engage and work with professional artists provides insight that can’t be simulated in the classroom and shows them that there are many diverse paths that can be taken in pursuit of their own professional practice.”

Read the original article from IU News


The Entanglements Series: Sound, Art, and Ecology

What do we mean when we say that we’re listening? What is it that we hear? How do sounds help us articulate our emotions and shape our understanding?

In a world of rapid environmental transformation, how have our soundscapes changed? What is it that we’re not hearing? What does this mean for our futures?

Join us for lunch (it’s free!), a performance by Mary Lattimore, and a discussion with a panel of experts who focus on the intersections of sound, art, ecology, and culture.


Alisha Lola Jones
Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
Indiana University Bloomington

Dr. Jones teaches ethnomusicology in IU Bloomington’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology within the College of Arts and Sciences. Jones specializes in the study of music and religion in the African diaspora, and teaches courses such as “Music & Mysticism” and “Popular Music in African American Music Performance.”

Gustavo Valdivia
PhD Candidate
Johns Hopkins University

Gustavo Valdivia specializes in ethnographic research in Andean indigenous communities in Peru. His work blends environmental anthropology and social theory with the tools of modern environmental science. He seeks to produce a horizontal and democratic dialogue that articulates the voices of indigenous peasants whose lives and lands are marked by the recent trends of global change.

Enrique Ramirez
Curatorial Advisor to Exhibit Columbus

Dr. Ramirez is a scholar of modern and contemporary architectural history and is Curatorial Advisor to Exhibit Columbus. He has lectured widely and his work has appeared in diverse publications like Harvard Design Magazine, Metropolis, The Journal of Architecture, and Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal. His work has been recognized and supported by various organizations, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts.


Mary Lattimore is an American classically trained harpist based in Los Angeles, California. In addition to her solo work and collaborations with fellow Philadelphia musician Jeff Zeigler, she has also performed with multiple prominent indie musicians, including Thurston Moore, Kurt Vile, and Steve Gunn. Her newest album is “Hundreds of Days.” You can hear a sample and read a review at Pitchfork:

About the Entanglements Series

The “Entanglements Series” is a program designed by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. Events brings together scientists or social scientists with humanists and artists to discuss a “big question” that transcends disciplines. These big questions are often topics that philosophers have debated for thousands of years — for example, “what makes us human?” — but they might be questions that are of immediate pressing concern such as “how do we stop the next plague?”
Funding for the Entanglements Series is generously provided by an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant. This program is offered in collaboration with the “Metaphonics: A Sonic Journey through Stuart Hyatt’s Field Works,” which will take place in the evening. You can get tickets for Metaphonics at

Eventbrite - The Entanglements Series: Sound, Art, and Ecology (free lunch included)

Arts Provide Perfect Lens to Discuss Race and Immigration

Dress rehearsal for “West Side Story.” Photo by Julian Morris.

IU Jacobs School of Music voice professor Marietta Simpson, who is chair of the school’s diversity committee, answered a few questions posed by Inside IU Bloomington ahead of this weekend’s opening production of “West Side Story” at the Musical Arts Center.

Read the original article by Bethany Nolan from News at IU.

The Jacobs School of Music has scheduled a variety of public events surrounding the show, including several panel discussions focused on race relations and immigration reform, one of which Simpson will be a part of.

Q: Discuss the Jacobs School of Music’s choice to present “West Side Story” with accompanying discussions on immigration and community, as viewed through the lens of your role on the school’s diversity committee.

A: The Jacobs School of Music’s Opera and Ballet Committee makes the decisions about the opera repertoire several years in advance of each season. There are many factors that influence these decisions, but, as this year is the Bernstein Centennial, “West Side Story” was a logical selection.

Although this work was written many years ago, the societal issues confronted in the musical are completely relevant to the current national dialogue. Leonard Bernstein’s modernization of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” confronts issues of race, immigration, gang culture and, of course, love. Presenting “West Side Story” offers Jacobs the opportunity to create living music of the highest levels of artistic excellence that is relevant to the community we live in.

Stuart Yoak — who I was introduced to through my amazing colleague Constance Cook Glen, who chairs our Music in General Studies Program — has put together this series of events for this production of “West Side Story.” I attended the events he coordinated for our production of “Dead Man Walking” a few years ago.

I’m thrilled that he has decided to coordinate events for this production of “West Side Story.” It will be a wonderful musical and visual experience. Beyond the beautiful music and the wonderful choreography, is a story of humanity and our struggle to find love and acceptance in the midst of rage, race, misunderstanding, assimilation, violence, prejudice, patriotism, and life. I’m thrilled that we get to discuss these issues and hope that we bring greater understanding through these conversations.

Q: Discuss how prescient the social justice issues highlighted in the production are for today’s society, and why the arts are a good way to open discussions on these types of issues.

A: If I were to make a list of character traits one finds within the arts community, it would include diplomacy, empathy, sharing, listening, imagination, creativity, equality and responsiveness.

What better place to have conversations that stir deep passions and often leave people with an ability to hear each other than through the arts. The arts — which necessitate intense listening, feeling another’s breath and pain, anticipating another’s needs, seeing the world through some else’s perspective, and respecting the foundational experiences on which those perspectives are formed — are in fact the perfect forum for such discourse. Through the arts we can create safe places for those conversations.

Q: Discuss your role in one of the panel talks alongside colleagues across the university, and why this type of event is important to have on today’s college campuses.

A: I am honored to be one of the panelists sharing in the discussion with my colleagues. College campuses should be places where people of disparate schools of thought, cultural backgrounds and disciplines can join in conversations of consequence that have the ability to move our society toward justice, change and greater understanding. The college campus has long been and should remain at the forefront of these conversations.

Visit the box office website for tickets and more information.

Masterclass: Ian Chang + Rafiq Bhatia (of Son Lux)

We are excited to welcome guest artists Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus. Drummer Ian Chang and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia are classically trained musicians and composers that make up two thirds of the popular rock trio Son Lux. The pair works heavily with music technology in their own compositions and within the group and will present a free performance masterclass at the IUPUI Campus Center’s Klipsch Theatre (lower level) at 1:00pm on Thursday, April 12. They will discuss their performance techniques and the integration of music technology into their work.

This event is made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute.

Drummer Ian Chang makes electronic music that is humanistic. In a metronomic genre, Chang takes a fresh approach that is rooted in physicality. Using drums to control and manipulate samples, he is able to realize complete musical ideas with unaccompanied and unedited performance. The result is a seamless marriage of raw performative intensity and sophisticated sound design. Find him on YouTube.

Rafiq Bhatia’s music reconciles meticulous sound art with mercurial improvisation to deliver searing emotional intensity. The composer-guitarist’s first two albums – Strata and Yes It Will – have been described by the New York Times as “transcending real sound in real time with the unexpected,” and by the Washington Post as “approximat[ing] life in the information age …profuse, immersive and immense.” Visit his website.

Feel free to RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Lotus Blossoms Performances Coming to Eskenazi Hospital


A series of performances will be held in the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation Concourse at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital.

In the first of these, the women of Kardemimmit will sing and play the Finnish national instrument – the kantele, which is similar to a zither or dulcimer. The quartet has mastered both the 15-stringed and 38-stringed kantele, producing the distinctive sounds made by the plucked acoustic instrument that blends with delicate, tight vocal harmonies in a style of singing known as “reki.” The standout contemporary Nordic ensemble – composed of Maija Pokela, Jutta Rahmel, Anna Wegelius, and Leeni Wegelius – writes music for their voices and instruments, a new folk music rooted in Finnish tradition. Lotus fan tip: Listening to Kardemimmit on disk or in video is one thing; their powerful live performance is simply remarkable.

In the second, Dance of Hope will captivate you with its rhythms, sounds, and exhilaratingly colorful choreography. Created to restore dignity and self-confidence to Ugandan children by teaching life skills, music, and the arts, the group of children, aged 7 to 16 years old, delivers a rich cultural experience. Performances explore the transformational power of music and dance to raise awareness and improve the way of life for the many children who have been orphaned, displaced, or live in poverty. This vibrant music and dance spectacular features a cast of young performers, whose triumphant and inspiring stories showcase their resilience, creativity, and persistence. Dance of Hope’s artistic director and producer, Kinobe, performed at the 2009 & 2010 Lotus World Music & Arts Festivals, as well as Lotus Blossoms in 2015.

The third performance features a brother-and-sister duo from Nashville, Tennessee, Giri & Uma Peters, who are award-winning multi-instrumentalists who astonish audiences with their refreshing, soulful blend of old-time, roots, and bluegrass music. Giri and Uma may be young (13 and 10 years old, respectively), but their musicianship and vocal harmonies showcase a creativity and originality beyond their years. Their musicianship has attracted the attention of roots music star Rhiannon Giddens and banjo greats Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, among others. Lotus audiences know great Americana roots music when they hear it – and the Peters won’t disappoint.

These events are free and open to the public. Parking is available on the Eskenazi Health campus in the Eskenazi Health Parking Garage, which is accessible from Eskenazi Avenue.

Giri and Uma Peters are brought to Lotus Blossoms in collaboration with the IU Arts and Humanities Council/India Remixed Festival.

This series is made possible in part from the generous support of the Eskenazi Health Foundation and the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation.

Square Peg Round Hole Coming to IUPUI

We are excited to welcome guest artists Square Peg Round Hole to Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus next week. The IU Bloomington-trained instrumental rock trio will present a performance lecture on campus Friday, March 2. They will be discussing the integration of multimedia technology into their percussion-driven music as well as tips for young musicians hoping to build a career. Click here for more details.

In addition, the group will cap off their stay in Indy with a performance at Pioneer on March 3 supported by IUPUI’s own Big Robot. Click here for more information.

These events are made possible with generous support by the IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology, Pioneer Indy, and the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute.

Square Peg Round Hole formed in 2011 while studying music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, in Bloomington, Indiana. The band has shared bills with Built To Spill, The Album Leaf, Mae, This Will Destroy You, and The Joy Formidable, and has been featured at major venues across the country including the Electric Factory, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Old National Centre, and the World Café Live. Find them on YouTube or their website for more information.

Entanglements Series: Humanity at the Crossroads

The Crossroads Project brings the power of performance art to bear one of the great conversations of our time — humanity’s growing unsustainability and the possibility for a truly meaningful response. Comprising two original performance works ― grounded in science and elevated by art ― the project offers audiences an evocative and shared space from which to contemplate the choices before us and the pathways they create.

This multimedia performance fuses spoken word, live music, painting, and photography to reflect upon some of the most pressing issues facing humanity today. After the performance, the Crossroads Project team participate in a conversation with the audience. The performance will take place at the Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis, on Wednesday, April 12 at 7pm. Free tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Funding for this presentation of The Crossroads Project is provided by an IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Grant.