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Dancing Past Eleven is obviously a play on words. The number points toward the time when the party starts to "get in gear", and also signifies "getting past" the challenge that most Western musicians have with odd time meters. To a Bulgarian folk dancer, moving in 11/8 with incredible precision is as comfortable as 4/4 is to most of us. Two rhythmic structures, each four bars long, act as the underpinning as the work develops. It is punctuated by a plaintive and lyrical middle section (Also be heard under the title "Kalunga" on Ted Piltzecker’s Steppe Forward CD) before returning to a driving climax. Originally written to feature the Bulgarian instrument gadulka, the piece works beautifully with a violin, clarinet, or soprano sax soloist as well (parts included). The inspiration comes directly from sharing in the joyous dancing of Elissaveta Iordanova and her daughter Iva one evening in New York.
Since the publication of my book, Learning Mbira: A Beginning... (HoneyRock Publications, 2001), I have had many requests for a second volume of mbira transcriptions. After having collected many new songs in tablature notation, I decided perhaps the most efficient way to meet this demand is to make them available online in several “mini-volumes” of four tunes in each volume. The series may eventually include as many as six (possibly more) volumes of completely new material not included in the Learning Mbira book. I may revisit some familiar pieces from that book, but if so, it will be an entirely different version from the one originally published.
Volume 1 includes four previously unreleased transcriptions: Baya Wabaya, Kariga Mombe Yekare, Nyamamusango, and Shumba.
Keith Aleo has a diverse and unique career as an educator, performer and administrator. As an educator, he is on the percussion faculty at the Boston Conservatory and, since 1992, has served as the Director of Percussion at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, Michigan. Since 1998 he has served on the successful New World Symphony percussion audition committee. As an administrator, he is the Director of Education and Orchestral Activities at the Avedis Zildjian Company, a position he has held since 2003.
As a performer, Mr. Aleo has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra and, in 2004, the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He was a member of the percussion section of the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra from 1989-2003, and a member of the percussion faculty at the University of Miami from 1994-2003.
Mr. Aleo has given master classes and workshops on percussion instruments at numerous universities conventions. Highlights have included the Percussive Arts Society State and International Conventions, PAS Journees de la Percussion in Paris France, the PAS Italian Percussion Festival in Fermo Italy and multiple Music Education Conferences.
Mr. Aleo's book, Advanced Etudes for Snare Drum, published by HoneyRock Publishing Inc, has received critical acclaim. Mr. Aleo was also contributing editor for the Encyclopedia of Percussion Instruments, published by Garland Publishing and contributed to the Advanced Duets for Snare Drum, also released by HoneyRock Publishing Inc.
He was a member of the Percussive Arts Society's Board of Directors and served on the Board of Overseer's at the New England Conservatory from 2004 – 2010. His awards include Chapter President of the Year for his work as president of the Florida Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society.