Composed and performed by Catherine Braslavsky and Joseph Rowe. Ancient Coptic text discovered in Egypt at Nag Hammadi in 1945. Origin unknown, related to ancient Greco-Egyptian Goddess-religions. Partial English translation of singer’s Coptic.
“There came a beautiful day, when I knew I had no choice but to sing. From the beginning, I had a clear vision of my musical direction: I wanted to express freedom and beauty, and dedicate myself to what is deepest in us. But I had not yet found my true voice. In the years that followed, each of my teachers brought something unique to me. Hildegard of Bingen was my primary source of inspiration, but David Hykes opened extraordinary, new horizons of the voice for me, especially concerning the quality of attention, and listening. Nageswara Rao, the Indian master of Carnatic music, gave me a taste for high standards, and was also the first person to encourage me when I began to compose.
Singing is a quest which demands no less than everything of me. I love both utter simplicity and extreme complexity, labyrinthine melody as well as rhythmic power. Yet more important than musical forms, I try to go beyond my limits, and share this with others.” (Catherine Braslavsky)
Of American origin, Joseph Rowe studied philosophy of religion, transpersonal psychology, and classical guitar. He also studied classical Middle Eastern oud with Hamza El Din, a master whose unique marriage of voice and oud, and of Nubian and Arab influences, was one of the pioneers of what is now called “world music.” Joseph performed several times onstage with Hamza, notably in a concert with the Grateful Dead in San Francisco. (Follow this link for a personal memoir of Hamza El Din) He also concertized extensively with other Arab, Persian, and African musicians, as well as with medieval groups. During extensive travels in Africa, he learned and performed with musicians from the Congo (drums, flute), and with Mideastern dervishes (percussion, voice, oud), as well as with Afro-Brazilian percussionists and healers.
During the 1980’s he worked as a radio producer for National Public Radio stations, and was among the first designers of programs combining classical, jazz, world, and new music, and interspersed with cultural and public affairs interviews.
He now lives in Paris, where he has turned more and more to music and theater, working as musician, writer, composer, and actor. Besides his extensive work with Catherine Braslavsky, he has collaborated with Marc Zammit at the Théâtre Molière in Paris, and with Alain Kremski and Michael Lonsdale at the Cluny Museum (Paris Festival of Sacred Art). He has composed music for a number of theater pieces by authors such as Samuel Beckett, T.S. Eliot, Jean Giono, and Roland Dubillard. He has also composed and recorded music for French television and documentary films. A writer and storyteller, he writes texts for theatrical performance pieces with music. He has published a number of short stories, poetry, book reviews, and magazine articles.
In his work as literary translator, he has translated books by authors such as Henry Corbin, Jacques Attali, Régis Debray, Jean-Yves Leloup, Pierre Rabhi, and books on Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama.He is also active in research and teaching in the field of meditation, in relation to musical and rhythmic exercises, inspired by dervish practices. This has led to a type of musical body-work, which he calls Holorhythm. Besides his work with Catherine in performances and workshops, he also animates meditation groups and sees individual clients and students.